Posted: Thursday, 15 August 2013 1:33PM

Willard volleyball counting on last year's JV to step up

Willard, Mo. (For  -- Willard Lady Tigers head  volleyball coach Jamalee Hancock is drawing on talent from last year’s junior varsity squad to build a solid varsity team. The Willard Lady Tigers lost five seniors, including standout four-year starter Tessa Thornton.

“Some parts of the team are stronger than last year, some we are working on. They are all very coachable,” said Hancock.

The Lady Tigers posted an impressive record of 27-6-2 in 2012, with a loss to Jefferson City in the Class 4, District 10 championship.

Returning starters include Paige Owings (sr.), middle hitter. Owings is known for her outside blocking.

Also returning is Jenna Robinson (sr.), whom Hancock describes as a good all-around player who keeps the ball in play. Makayla Sanford (sr.) returns as libero.

Hancock offered high praise for the Lady Tigers seniors.

“My seniors are awesome. They have a great work ethic and are top notch seniors,” said Hancock.

Returning starter Mariah Stewart (jr.), the only leftie on team, will be the Lady Tigers’ go-to hitter along with Owings. Stewart was recovering from foot surgery in the spring and summer and only recently was cleared to jump.

The remainder of the starting lineup comes primarily from last year’s junior varsity squad.

“Losing five seniors means a longer merging of JV and varsity than normal. They’ve adapted well. It is nice to get sophomores on varsity, because you know they’ll be playing longer,” said Hancock.

The tentative varsity lineup will include McKenzie Hunt (jr.) and Makenzie Bouse (so.) as setters, Kate Bushnell (so.), Madi Page (so.), Makenzie Parker (jr.), and Jasmine Berry (jr.).

Thornton, who graduated in 2013, signed with Middle Valley College after earning first team All-Central Ozark Conference, All-District, second-team All-Region, and honorable mention All-State honors.

Willard’s season opener will be August 30 at Lebanon.

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Mizzou 38, South Dakota State 18

The Tigers won their opening game of the season in front of 60,000 people.

Pictures: Strafford XC Meet

Springfield Catholic swept the team titles while Tabitha Weber and Daylan Quinn clenched individual gold medals.

Pictures: Top 100 Photos of Week 2 Football

Catch the 100 best photos from the second week of the football season.
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Week 2 Football Recap
Who were the big players from Week 2 football? What do you have to look forward to in Week 3. I cover it all here. See all of Week Two's top plays in the video above. Big Man on Campus Johnny Healy, Mountain Grove – Often...
Read More
5 Takeaways from Mizzou's win over SDSU
Mizzou opened its football season with a 38-18 win over FCS opponent South Dakota State on Saturday. Here are five things I am taking away from the first game of the season. PICTURES: MIZZOU VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - CLICK HERE 1. It is a good thing...
Read More
Win or lose, 2014's the turning point for Bears' program
 The freshness of a new season offers a chance for a fresh start, hope and the promise of a better future.   And if you’ve been a Missouri State football fan or follower for any part of the past two and a half decades, you know no team...
Read More
Most Viewed