Lions vollyball prepares for Washburn University Tournament next week


The Missouri Southern volleyball team is coming off a 8-22 2014 season. The Lions won five of their eight games against conference opponents.

The Lions were an eight win team last season with five of those victories coming in conference.

Returning seniors Callie Whetstone, Abby Finder, and Payton Graves look to lead this team into double figure wins, something this program hasn’t done since 2010.

“I want my seniors to lay the foundation as we progress this program to a winning program. I expect my seniors to set the example for the younger players to follow,” said second year head coach John Napier.

The Lions are returning seven players in total from last season’s team. After four key departures this offseason, Napier brought in three freshmen and a junior college transfer.

Junior college transfer Lauren Darby comes to southern after a season at Hutchinson Community College. Prior to Hutch, Darby played a year at Arkansas-Fort Smith. As a sophomore at HCC, Darby helped the Dragoons to a 27-14 overall record and a perfect 14-0 mark in the Jayhawk Conference.

This freshman class includes defensive specialist Candace Tracy from Carl Junction High School. Tracy earned four varsity letters in her career at CJHS. As a senior, Tracy was a second team All-Big 8 pick, while earning All-District honors. Tracy was a four-time Academic All-State pick.

Bradyn Wall, also from CJHS, is another incoming freshman. Wall was the starting setter for the Bulldogs. Wall helped the team to a 109-21-12 overall record during her tenure, while going a perfect 29-0 in the Big 8 over the last four years. She was named first-team All-District twice and was the Big 8 Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

Wall holds the CJHS record for most assists in a match (40), most assists in a season (851), and most assists in a career (2,159).

Finally, Bridgette Jaeger comes to Southern from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The former Oconomowoc Raccoon standout was a two-time All-Conference (Wisconsin Little Ten) selection and also a member of the 2015 Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association All-Academic Team.

“I really bring game knowledge and a new attitude to this team. What I’ve done with my training before this could really help impact the team,” said Jaeger.

“We definitely lost some experience this offseason but it kind of motivated us to work a little harder in recruiting. We’re lucky to find Lauren, Bridgette, Bradyen and Tracy,” said Napier.

The Lions were picked to fi nish 11th in the conference this season for a second time in a row.

“It’s bulletin board material but other than that I don’t put much emphasis on those polls,” said Napier.

The first game of the season will be next Friday Sept. 4 against Drury University at the Washburn University Tournament.