2022 Fall Preview: Webb City Volleyball

By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

Webb City volleyball enjoyed another successful season in 2021.

The Cardinals finished with a 19-13-2 record and captured the program’s second district title in the past three years.

Head coach Rhonda Lawrence, entering her 19th season at the Webb City helm and 30th overall, praised her team’s strong finish and run through the district tournament.

“We had a fun season and learned a lot,” Lawrence said. “And then came a long way to knock off the No. 1 seed in districts for the championship.”

A pair of graduates departed the program in Kearston Galardo and Kenzie Storm.

“Kearston Galardo led in kills for the majority of our matches, and her tenacity on the court will be missed,” Lawrence said. “Kenzie Storm’s leadership and blocking is definitely something we are working to adjust. She was a key part of our team’s success even if she didn’t lead in categories besides blocking. She was a huge part of our defense.”

A talented pair of senior stat leaders return to lead the Cardinals 2022 attack in Kyah Sanborn and Brenda Lawrence.

Sanborn, a setter, finished the season with 51 kills, 11 blocks, 222 digs, 863 assists and 25 aces.

“Kyah Sanborn is our returning 5-1 setter,” Lawrence said. “She reached our school record of over 1,000 career assists last season. She brings a lot of experience to the floor and even surprising on front row for her height.”

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Lawrence, and outside hitter, posted 240 kills, 12 blocks, 84 digs, 4 assists and 33 aces in 2021.

“Brenda Lawrence was just behind Kearston every game,” Lawrence said. “They carried the majority of our point kills. She’s worked hard to get to be on the floor on back row also, which adds to her intensity and game flow has been very effective this summer.”

Classmates Kate Brownfield and Jenna Noel also return for the Cardinals.

Brownfield, a middle/outside hitter, recorded 189 kills, 23 blocks, 201 digs, 13 assists and 55 aces last season.

“Kate Brownfield is super athletic, started last year and is one of the smartest players on the floor,” Lawrence said. “Her court vision and multiple options to attack makes her hard to defend.”

Noel, a defensive specialist finished with 164 digs, 6 kills, 1 blocks, 1 assist and 9 aces.

“Jenna Noel rounds out this class with her defensive specialist and is always a great utility player whenever needed,” Lawrence said. “Her solid play and mental approach to the game make everyone more comfortable and a trusted player at all times.”

A pair of juniors will step into bigger roles this year Sophia Crane and Aubree Lassiter.

Crane, an all-state libero honoree in 2021, recorded 390 digs, 3 kills, 25 assists and 19 aces last season.

“Sophia Crane keeps our consistency of the offense by passing at a 2+ average and carried our defensive digs with 390 for the year,” Lawrence said.

Lassiter, a right side/middle hitter, posted 123 kills, 28 blocks, 52 digs, 4 assists and 23 aces last season.

“Aubree Lassiter brings intensity and tons of positive energy to the floor,” Lawrence said. “She’s intense and celebrates her teammates even more than her own successes. She’s developed even more throughout the club season and makes our offense even more multifaceted and hard to defend.”

Lawrence also expects big things from a varsity newcomer, as freshman middle/right-side hitter Jaeli Rutledge is expected to make an immediate impact on the roster.

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“Jaeli Rutledge comes in at 6-foot-1, is a good solid player and has continued to get better each week throughout the summer,” Lawrence said. “Her size and height of touch we’re excited to see her become a force.”

“I think one of our biggest strengths is our returning senior class,” Lawrence said. “Most have played varsity for three years now, and our juniors have played a lot joining forces, so we know each other really well and they love playing together. We are excited to see how we can use last year’s bright finish to catapult us to an even more successful ‘22!”

Talented and versatile, Webb City’s attack will be multifaceted in 2022 and feature a lot of different bodies both at and off the net.

“What I love about our offense is that we have so many threats,” Lawrence said. “Even out of system we will send a ‘mean ball,’ or back row attack, that isn’t easy to handle.”

On defense, Lawrence believes the familiarity and experience from few changes this season will breed consistency and results for her squad.

“I love that we’ll have personnel out there that have battled together for at least two years now,” Lawrence said. “There’s not many situations that we haven’t had to deal with before.”

Webb City opens its season Aug. 29 in Bentonville, Ark., against Bentonville West.

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