By Chris Parker
Carthage volleyball has a new head coach in Bradyn Webb leading the way this year.
“I have a passion for the game, being a head coach has always been one of my goals in coaching,” Webb said. “Carthage has been a great program and the opportunity presented itself at the perfect time. I am very thankful for the opportunity and blessed that I get to coach a great group of athletes.”
Carthage graduated six seniors from last year’s 23-win squad. That includes all-state selection Alexa Boyle and second-team all-conference selection Paige Schrader.
Having to replace your top two hitters is never easy, but that transition will be smoothed out with the return of honorable mention all-conference setter Chloe Black. Black had 722 assists as a junior.
“Chloe did a great job last year and we expect her to do the same this year. We are having her take on more responsibility and allowing her to control the offense. We have sped up our offense and she has taken that challenge and ran with it,” Webb said. “Having an experienced setter allows us to run a faster offense than in years past. It gives our younger kids someone to look up to and model. Chloe is a great leader and setting the expectation for our other setters.”
Senior Grace Schriever and junior Sydnee Dudolski both also return after each played in more than 80 sets last year. Both will be outside hitters.
Junior Sophie Shannon and sophomore Brielle Cartwright are two new players to watch. Shannon contributed on junior varsity last year and will play middle and right side. Cartwright will see time on the varsity court as a middle and competing for an outside position.
One big change for Missouri volleyball is a switch to a best-of-five set format this year. It is a change Webb welcomes.
“The switch to the five-set format is something I have been wanting to see for a while. If colleges are doing it, so should we. We need to be preparing our athletes for the future,” Webb said.
Webb has been working to get her team familiar with her system and prepared for longer matches all while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Communication has been the biggest challenge so far. I was planning on meeting with our athletes and parents back in April but plans changed. COVID has not been an easy task but we have been flexible. We are thankful for the opportunity to get in the gym,” Webb said.
Carthage will open the season on Aug. 29 at the Bentonville Early Bird Tournament.
“Our overall expectations this year is to play to win and not play scared. We want our athletes to play at the highest level possible even when the game is on the line,” Webb said. “If we do that we will be competing for the district championship this fall. Our ultimate goal is to win state championships.”