2021 Fall Preview: Lebanon Volleyball

By Chris Parker

Lebanon volleyball was a young team last year with just one senior on the roster. That did not stop the Lady Jackets from posting a winning record at 12-10-1 overall.

“This group of seniors has been playing volleyball together for a long time and not just in-season ball, but through Club Synergy as well. By playing together this has allowed them to build trust amongst each other,” Lebanon head coach Jenny Collins said. “Four of five (seniors) are three-sport athletes and through all of these sport experiences they have become very mentally tough individuals who don’t give up with struggle or through frustration. They don’t feel sorry for themselves and figure out what they need to do to keep pressing forward and reach their goals. I think this was a big part of our success last season with an overall young group on the floor and with the trials that we faced all season long due to the COVID pandemic.”

Those five seniors will be the team leaders this year. That group includes: Myah Hough, Chloe Shivers, Jocee Pettyjohn, Destiny Zimdars and Karagan Bean.

Hough, Shivers and Pettyjohn will play six rotations. All three earned all-conference honors last year with Shivers and Pettyjohn being named First-Team All-Ozark Conference while Hough was honorable mention. Pettyjohn led the team in aces (27), digs (284) and serve receptions (420). Shivers led the team in assists with 296.

“Myah competes strongly in all aspects on the floor. She is a defensive machine and is showing that she will be a force on the front row. She loves the game and loves to compete and you can see that from her every time she steps on the court. Chloe is a smart player who makes much of her setting job and front row job look effortless. She is consistent in her play and can be counted on to make great choices while on the floor. Jocee takes great pride in her defensive role and is a relentless defender. In serve receive, she gives our setters great opportunities to set the hitters up for success,” Collins said.

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Zimdars and Bean will be key players in the middle. Zimdars led the team in kills with 126 last year.

“Destiny Zimdars and Karagan Bean will be our twin towers out of the middle and will help put up a solid block along with their offensive play. They are both very different hitters out of the middle which makes them a little tougher to defend,” Collins said.

Junior Jaidyn Collins returns as a second setter. She was just behind Shivers last year with 278 assists.

“She has the ability to make quick split-second decisions on the court helping to deliver a good ball based on position of pass and available hitters,” Coach Collins said.

Juniors Chava Yevsa and Brynne York are new to the lineup this year. They will primarily see action from the right side.

“They both are showing that they can contribute offensively,” Collins said. “Chava puts up a big block and Brynne does a nice job at being able to continue to run the offense with a second ball.”

Freshman Addy Rebmann will make an immediate impact on the varsity level.

“Addy Rebmann has shown through our summer/club ball play that she will have a huge impact offensively for our team,” Collins said. “She is the girl from a young age that would be found at her brother’s wrestling tournaments or following her Dad (track coach) around on the track with a volleyball in her hand. If she couldn’t find a partner, she found a wall. She is a student of the game and loves high level competition.”

Sophomores Addy Collins and Ciaria Keeney along with freshman Saylor Helton round out the players expected to contribute on varsity.

“All three show grit and fearless determination and have a great chance to see some varsity playing time this season in various roles,” Collins said.

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Chemistry among this team will be a strength.

“I love that this team genuinely seems to enjoy their time together both on and off the court. They can laugh and keep the mood light and at the same time know when it is time to flip the switch and become a focused competitor. Many of these girls want to be coached, they accept challenges and tackle them head on. One of my favorite things about this group is their defensive tenacity. They take great pride in their defensive efforts and don’t quit on keeping the ball alive,” Collins said.

Communication will need to improve if the Lady Jackets are to compete for conference and district titles.

“While we have seen some success early on through our summer league competitions, we know we have much work to do. Continuing to work communication efforts while on the court will be key. Communication builds trust and fosters great teamwork. Having great teamwork will deliver great results, but it all starts with great communication. And we definitely found through our summer play that we can improve in that area to continue to elevate our level of play. Our season schedule is nothing short of tough so we want to continue to prepare in a way that gives us the best opportunity to be successful,” Collins said.

Lebanon will travel to Springfield Central on Aug. 25 for a jamboree with the host Bulldogs, Strafford and Hollister. It will start at 6 pm.

“Expectations are high. We expect ourselves to compete strongly within both the Ozark Conference and our district play,” Collins said. “We will focus on each opponent as they come, taking it point by point. Our team felt heartache last season falling short in the district tournament. So this season it is a goal to attack every opportunity placed before us and win the day.”

Lebanon opens the season on Aug. 28 at the Branson Tournament.

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