Improving over the past few years, the Cabool Lady Bulldogs are returning from a season that consisted of 19 wins and going 6-1 in the South Central Association.
Despite losing the second round of districts for the second year in a row, this year’s volleyball squad is ready to use their experience to break that cycle.
“Last season started out rough, but got better the further we got into our season,” said head coach Angie Jester. “Ending with 19 wins was awesome. Once we decided we could play and compete with a lot of teams, we began to run much more smoothly as a team.”
This season marks a decade since Jester joined Cabool High School. She also has a long history in volleyball, including being an all-district and all-state player in high school and playing under Missouri Sports Hall of Fame member Trish Knight at Missouri State University – West Plains for two years, as well as at MSSU in Joplin.
Alongside Jester this season will be first year assistant coach Missy Bradshaw.
Top returning players for 2015 are seniors Sarah Luallen and Kara Matherly, as well as junior Alyssa Matherly.
Luallen returns as a kill and block leader.
Jester said, “She is very strong across the net. Sarah wants to do things right and is very coachable. She is stronger this year and I will look to her to be the go-to player on the front row.”
Kara, Jester says, is the most consistent player on the team.
“She is a great all-around player, front and back row,” said Jester. “She does her job and does it well. She is very competitive and likes to win.”
Of Alyssa, Jester said, “She is my libero and she has only gotten better and better. She is determined to get to every ball and she does. Her competitiveness comes through in tough situations and her positive attitude makes her a valuable asset to our team.”
Joining the squad as a senior is Jaylene Atkins, who will fill one of the setting positions.
“She works very hard and hustles after every ball. She is also a very powerful hitter and blocker, I'm excited to have her,” said Jester.
Jester also says freshman Jaydra Johnson is a promising asset to the team.
“She will help us out on the front row. She is very athletic and can jump out of the gym! I am looking forward to working with her to bring out her full potential,” Jester said.
As a team, Cabool strives to win at least 20 games to improve from last year’s record.
“I expect us to be better this year,” Jester said. “Every year my goal is for our team to be better when we end than when we start. I anticipate better teamwork and more competitiveness out of this group. I'm going to push them to their limits to make us better and I am confident they will step up to the challenge.”
The Lady Bulldogs will head up U.S. 60 Aug. 25 to battle their first season competitor Fordland.
Jester says she’s eager to play SCA rival Mtn. View-Birch Tree/Liberty in October, too. They are the only conference team that beat Cabool last season.
“I always look forward to playing Liberty, they are a tough team and Shari is a great coach. Playing tough teams makes you better,” Jester said.
News Article By: Ozarks Sports Zone