Pierce City, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- All signs pointed towards the Pierce City volleyball team having a good year in 2012. And they did.
After advancing to the Class 2 state quarterfinals in 2011, the Lady Eagles dropped down to Class 1 last year. Once again they advanced to the state quarterfinals, losing in three hard fought sets to Osceola.
Along the way, the Lady Eagles finished with a 7-2 record in the Spring River Valley conference, got a number of wins against larger schools, and finished 22-10-4 against a brutal schedule that included matches against Rogersville, West Plains, Cape Girardeau Central, Branson, Neosho, Carl Junction, etc. Not bad for head coach Allison Davis who has now claimed two district crowns in her two years at the helm.
The bad news is that three seniors have moved on to play college volleyball. Libero Becca Hatfield, RS/S Brianna Zebert, and second team all-state pick Krishna Merriman have all taken their game to the next level leaving some big shoes to fill.
“The team last year had a combination of experience and several sophomores who stepped up,” Davis said.
And that bodes well for 2013.
The sophomores who stepped up are now experienced juniors. They join with three senior returnees to give Pierce City seven players with starting experience coming back. Returning for their final season are right side Laney Parrigon, setter Jenny Kaiser, and middle blocker Christine Younker who each made the Academic All-State team last year.
The junior class is comprised of middle blocker Amber Wagner, outside hitter Maddy Flummerfelt, setter/outside hitter Allie Creed, and defensive specialist Courtney Zebert. Zebert and Wagner are also Academic All-State picks from 2012 giving coach Davis and her assistant coach Cheyenne Hill a very smart team to work with.
With seven returning players, minutes may be hard to come by. But Davis is still looking to her newcomers as an important part of the team. One in particular to watch is sophomore defensive specialist Kenzie Drollinger who Davis indicated made the transition for setter to libero during her club season. She will contribute and other underclassmen should fill some key roles that are vacant.
As she looks to lead the Lady Eagles to a third consecutive district title, coach Davis has high praise for this year’s squad.
“This team is probably the most unified team that I've coached thus far. They are working hard to meet some pretty high goals they've set for themselves. Most of the team is returning lettermen from last year with the exception of a few younger additions so I feel very confident with the strength of this team.”
Despite the losses to graduation, these Lady Eagles should be a contender for another district title, and another run at the final four.
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