By Chris Parker
Clever volleyball will look to get back over the 20-win plateau this year after going 18-11-4 last year.
The Lady Jays have a good starting point in returning all-state junior Kenna Wise. Wise, who will set and play outside hitter, led Clever in both assists (389) and digs (298). She was third on the team in kills at 142.
“Kenna Wise reads the court and understands the game well. She is very quick, athletic, and played many positions during her career. Kenna’s competitiveness, combined with her athleticism and knowledge of the game make her a key asset to the Lady Jays,” Clever head coach Angie Wise said. “I expect Kenna to step up and become the general of the team. She will lead the younger players into developing their game. I also expect her to continue her performance as she has in the past and lead the team by example.”
Fellow junior Kylie Wenger is also back after earning second-team all-conference honors last year. She is the team’s leading returner in kills after putting down 172 last year. Wenger, who will play middle and outside hitter, is also Clever’s leading returning player in both aces (19) and blocks (22).
“Kylie Wenger is very athletic and energetic. She is developing into a more consistent force for the Clever Lady Jays,” Wise said. “Kylie will give us an offensive punch and some much needed blocking at the net. Her height and athleticism will be a great attribute.”
Three seniors in Brandi Riley (right side), Abbi Vanzandt (setter) and Kendra Stewart (right side) will be impact players.
“Key impact players will be Brandi Riley, Abbi Vanzandt, and Kendra Stewart. These three seniors must step up their game in order for the Clever volleyball tradition to continue. Abbi will be playing one of the setters in a 6-2 offense. Brandi Riley will play offense at the right side across the net. She will be a vocal leader and has continued to improve her game each year. Senior Kendra Stewart will also play right side and could make a huge impact on the defensive blocking game. As the season goes in she will step up in a big way,” Wise said.
Freshmen Morgan Bos (middle/outside) and Jillian Price (libero) will make a varsity impact right away. Sophomores Jenna Thomas, Rylea King, Lindy Twigg and Sydnee Thrasher will also see varsity time. Junior Marilyn Ginter and freshman Jenna Thompson are two other players to watch for Clever.
Clever is excited to get back on the court against other teams after spending the summer staying within their own campus.
“We maintained an extra healthy status by staying on our own campus this summer,” Wise said. “What we missed most is trying new lineups and mixing our younger players with the upper class. We didn’t get to play any game time situations and it could take some time to find the best lineups. I am hoping the break will give more players desire to get back at it and train for our upcoming season.”
Clever will open the season on Sept. 1 at home against Crane.
“We must work hard each day in practice to continue to improve. We need to figure out the best positions and cohesiveness that works. The Lady Jay’s must be competitive and continue the Lady Jay Volleyball tradition,” Wise said.