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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Mix of young and old key for Sikeston

Friday, August 17, 2012

(Photo)
Sikeston volleyball player Monica Carter passes to a teammate during a recent Lady Bulldogs practice at the Sikeston Field House. Sikeston begins their season Aug. 28 at Bernie High School. Chris Pobst, Staff
SIKESTON -- They were one win away from 20 last season.

The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs are primed and ready to obtain that feat this year.

"Falling one win shy away from that 20 was really disheartening to the girls. They're really hoping to get that this year," Sikeston volleyball coach Steve Beydler said.

The Lady Bulldogs come into the 2012 volleyball season without one of their more prominent players over the last four years -- Asia Liggins.

Along with Liggins, Beydler will be without Quesha Howard, Jalen Peet and Keyonna Blissett -- all vital parts to Sikeston's successes the last few years.

"Asia was a four-year starter, which hasn't happened a lot here at Sikeston," Beydler said. "She was the main cog in our wheel the last couple of years and, of course, we lost others that were very important to us last year in achieving 19 wins."

Although Sikeston, who finished 19-16 a season ago, comes in minus four starters due to graduation, the Lady Bulldogs feature a mix of youth and experience -- something Beydler is excited to utilize.

"We have two seniors with a lot of experience and even three sophomores that will see varsity time," he said. "They work really well together and we seem to have a good mix of everything between them."

Leading the Lady Bulldogs will be seniors Trenice Greer and Monica Carter.

In the past, Greer, who possess a powerful strike as well, has been used mostly as a setter because of the other powerful hitters that surrounded her.

Beydler said figuring out a way to use both her setting skills as well as her hitting prowess will be challenging.

"She will do a lot of our setting, but she's also a very powerful hitter," he said about Greer. "We're trying to figure out a way to let her set as well as get her some sets."

Carter is their defensive specialist.

Serving as libero, Beydler is confident in her ability to secure the back row.

"I feel very comfortable with her being our primary passer," said Beydler. "She's really been working on covering space and handling a lot more."

On top of her leading the back row, Carter has also shown she's capable of leading the team. She serves as team captain and has proven to be a vocal senior-leader as has Greer.

"Monica is very vocal," Beydler said. "I've noticed in practice that she and Trenice gather the girls together for mini conferences and they'll get back to their drills. I'm pleased with the leadership I'm seeing from those two."

Three sophomores will also see the bulk of playing time.

Lauren Beydler leads the group of sophomores as another option at setter.

The younger Beydler, Greer and Carter, all played on the same club team with newly named Bernie head coach Erin Hoffman over the summer. Those three, along with Hoffman who is the former Scott City Lady Rams volleyball coach, played in tournaments in Indiana, Illinois and parts of Missouri.

"They played in a lot of big time tournaments with a lot of big time teams," Beydler said about the three. "That really helped them progress and they're coming in with a lot of experience."

Courtney Hewitt and Ester Chinwuko make up the other sophomore starters.

Hewitt will more than likely be a middle blocker/hitter while Chinwuko, a Japanese transfer student, shows a good hitting ability as well a soft touch on the ball.

Juniors that will make up the rest of the Lady Bulldogs are Kali Williams, Alexis Odom, Ricci Tidwell and Victoria Knight.

Beydler is surprised at how well prepared his girls came into the season. Although there were a few things they needed to brush up on, for the most part, the Lady Bulldogs were tuned.

"There wasn't a lot of cobwebs to shake out," Beydler said. "Ultimately, the girls are doing a great job of keeping their focus.

Lady Bulldogs Schedule

Aug. 28 at Bernie

Sept. 5 Saxony Lutheran

Sept. 7-8 SEMO Spike Classic

Sept. 11 Puxico

Sept. 12 at Cape Central

Sept. 13 at Poplar Bluff

Sept. 17 at Bloomfield

Sept. 18 Jackson

Sept. 20 Scott City

Sept. 24 at Charleston

Sept. 25 Oran

Sept. 27 at Dexter

Oct. 2 Portageville

Oct. 3 Notre Dame

Oct. 9-11 SEMO Conference Tour.

Oct. 12-13 Perryville Invitational

Oct. 15 at Bell City

Oct. 16 Advance

Oct. 18 at NMCC