BV's Whetham expecting big things from new roster
As the Berryville Lady Bobcat volleyball team prepared to take the court for the first match of the year Monday night against Hollister, Mo., coach Kristin Whetham said her team was excited to play against someone other than itself. After the Lady Bobcats graduated six seniors from a year ago, Whetham said the two months of practice have been beneficial, though.
"When we take the court on Monday, I really want to see the things we have been working on," Whetham said. "We have been stressing defense and serve-receive. Getting that served ball passed to the front row and trying to attack right off the bat. I'm really looking forward to seeing what our defense will look like and attacking on that first hit. From there, we will just have to make adjustments. Really, I am just ready to see us play so that we will have a better understanding of what to work on."
Since practice started in July, Whetham said she has seen improvements in various areas.
"I have quite a few good hitters," Whetham said. "As we have practiced and played at summer camps, I have seen my hitters growing into their position. And I have some really quick, athletic girls on defense. I am hoping our defense is a little bit stronger than it was last year. Every day we are working and talking about that. And we have gotten better. We have gotten more disciplined in our defensive area. I am really focusing on offense right now, though. Just trying to get those girls to be aggressive and not be timid."
The Lady Bobcats have four seniors on this years team. In addition to that, Whetham knows there are other girls on the team who can bring experience and leadership to the team.
Berryville also will have to play without Lexy Anderson, who will miss the entire season with an ACL injury.
"Kelcee Hopper is back in the middle, along with Hannah Morrell," Whetham said. "Kate Powell will be setting for us. Taylor Swofford is back at the outside position this year. Maryn Jones and Karleigh Giles, those are two seniors that I have stepping in to play right side. Lauren Compton will be coming in to fill Lexy Anderson's place as a sophomore. She was going to be an outside hitter. And then I have Kelsey Smith moving into Aspen's place as our libero. She is a junior this year. And then Abby Thurman is moving into a setter position. In the end, I have two sophomores filling in on the floor to fill some pretty big shoes."
The Lady Bobcats changed conferences this year and will be playing against the likes of Farmington, Harrison and Prairie Grove.
"I think this will be better for us because in our old conference we played a lot of smaller schools and we just didn't get a lot out of that," Whetham said. "Going into this new conference where we play teams like Farmington and Harrison, they are strong teams. In the long run, it will make us better."
Berryville’s first home match will be Thursday against Huntsville at Bobcat Gym. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.