Springfield, Mo. (Ozarks Sports Zone) -- The Fair Grove High School volleyball team will boast a strong presence at the net this season in the form of two all-conference middle hitters, including one who likely has college athletics in her future. Morgan Kensinger, who made the All-Mid-Lakes Conference first team as a junior in 2011, returns for a Fair Grove squad that seeks to remain a contender in league and district play.
The 6-foot-2 Kensinger, also a second team Class 3 all-state selection in basketball last April, brings unprecedented attributes to the Lady Eagles.
“In my 12 years coaching here, I’ve never had a player taller than myself,” said 5-foot-11 Fair Grove coach Tonya Peck.
According to Peck, Kensinger has already received college interest from schools such as Southwest Baptist, Missouri Southern, Washington and Evangel. Whether it’s college volleyball or college basketball, Kensinger has the brains to match her abilities on the court.
On her first ACT attempt last spring, Kensinger scored a 31.
“She’s a great all-around athlete and student,” Peck said.
Joining Kensinger will be 5-foot-10 senior Andonae Magdziarz, a third team All-Mid-Lakes Conference pick last season.
The play of Kensinger and Magdziarz could swing Fair Grove’s season.
“I think our front row is going to be tough for other teams,” said Peck, adding that her team must improve its defense. “We can make teams have to change their offense.”
Also back for Fair Grove is the versatile Mikala Hicks.
“We’ve been moving her all around this summer,” Peck said.
Fair Grove took five juniors to its varsity camp this summer. Peck also expects a couple of sophomores and a freshman to see varsity playing time.
Fair Grove lost five seniors from a team that finished 19-8-4 last season and lost to Strafford in the Class 2, District 9 title game. Fair Grove’s district included a 24-5-1 Springfield Catholic squad, although the Fightin’ Irish may move up to Class 3 this year.
The conference slate includes battles against Strafford, Ash Grove and Skyline. The Lady Eagles reached the Class 2 state quarterfinals in 2010 and 2009, losing to College Heights Christian both years.
“I walked into a great situation here,” Peck said. “There was already a program established. I’ve just been trying to keep it at that same level.”
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