Lions look to impress

Zachary McFerren

The Missouri Southern volleyball team is coming into a new season ready to take on its difficult MIAA schedule.

The Lions are projected to end up eighth, after finishing last season fourth in the MIAA with an overall record of 15-17. They look to improve with more confident players and better team chemistry this season.

“I’m really excited,” said team captain and redshirt sophomore Ashlee Russell. “The team is a lot different even though there are a lot of returning starters. We are very energetic, excited, talkative.”

Head Coach Chris Willis challenged the team to welcome the eighth place ranking.

The Lions bring back 10 letter winners and five starters from last season. This includes honorable mention All-MIAA Keri Hammerbacher, who earned two starts as a true freshman.

Leadership from seniors Sarah Joles, Ashley Hill, Cherie Baugh and Katie Gage will help steer the team in the right direction to become a MIAA contender. Joles lead the team in assists two seasons straight. Hill recorded seven double-doubles in kills and digs. Baugh recorded a perfect serving percentage in five games. Gage improved in almost every category adding 48 kills and three service aces. The bench is also deeper than last season.

“We want to finish top three in the conference and improve from last year,” Russell said.

Russell emphasizes that even though they have twelve out of 15 returning they are not the same team they were before. The Lions will finish the St. Mary’s Tournament tonight in San Antonio, Texas.

The Lions must be able to enter conference ready to take on five conference foes starting with MIAA newcomer Nebraska-Omaha. The Lions must be show resilience and determination to prove they have what it takes to become number one in the MIAA. A new attitude and more ensured confidence will help give this team the edge it needs.

“I really hope this season I can step up and be a great leader and get the job done every game,” Russell said.