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Lady Knights set sights on VB state tournament

By Staff | Sep 3, 2014

Lady Knight volleyball - 2014

With some of the best volleyball facilities in the state, excellent fan, booster and administration support, a good middle school/feeder program, and experienced, knowledgeable players, there is no reason to believe that the 2014 version of the Tyler Consolidated Lady Knight volleyball program will not be successful.

“We have no excuses,” said head coach Richard Summers. “Everything is in place for us to succeed. The only thing that will hold us back is ourselves.”

As is usual for a Summers managed team, the four returning seniors will take center stage on and off the court and be expected to lead the team for the next three months.

“Our four seniors all return for their fourth year with us,” the coach said. “They know our program inside and out. They are solid, steady players and have grown into their roles as leaders on the team and are meeting their responsibilities very well indeed. And I’m not at all surprised by this. They are following the lead of the seniors before them just like those seniors last year followed the example of the seniors before them.”

Last years seniors, Sydney Reed, Carly Fletcher, Megan Carpenter and Hillary Casteel led the Lady Knights to a runner-up finish at the state tournament for the second year in a row. This years seniors, Lilli Orr, Bridget Matthews, Sydney Yoho and Kiersten Cline, are set to take their team the final game in the state, once again.

Cline returns as the tried and true setter with Matthews and Yoho solid on the heavy hitting side of the ball and Orr with experience at the serving line and as a resilient back line player.

Two juniors, Hannah Casteel and Ariel Fish, return to the team with nice abilities at the serving line as well as good hands when the game gets up close and personal at the net.

“There is not a weak player among these six,” Summers said. “Any one of them has the ability to change the momentum of the game at any given moment, and that’s good for a coach to know and to be able to count on.”

The four sophomores on the team will see a fair amount of playing time as they continue their adjustment to the varsity level: Courtney Hoder, Macy Long, Madison West and Abbie Fletcher. Fans of the team can look for Long to back up Cline at the setter’s position; West to continue her strong play at the line as well as at the net; and Hoder and Fletcher to solidify their positions as back line and net positions.

Four fundamentally strong freshmen join the Lady Knight volleyball family this season, contributing by learning and improving with every practice and every outing: Julianna Miller, Joralda Rice, Ashley Fluharty and Cana Turner.

“Assistant coach Tracy Summers and I are very pleased with the prospects of our team this season,” the coach said. “We added some teams and tournaments to our schedule that will challenge us, which will not only test our kids, but keep us grounded as to our level of play throughout the season.

“Like I said, no excuses,” the coach continued. “We know what we have to do, we have put in the work, have the players to execute, have a great support system in place . . . now we just have to do it.”

Just making it to the state tournament will not be enough for this years Lady Knights. To get past Sectionals, Regionals, work their way through the state tournament bracket and come home with the overall first place trophy is their goal. And the first step towards meeting that goal begins today as the Ladies in Black travel to Ritchie County.