For only the second time in six years the Southeast Lady Lancer Varsity Volleyball team failed to qualify for State. This year’s Lancer team lost several players to graduation – including Madison Bone and Olivia Powell, both of whom are now playing volleyball at the college level. Only two players returned with varsity experience, and at any given time there were at least two freshmen on the court playing varsity.
But as Southeast Athletic Director Frank Pittman mentioned at Thursday’s Fall Sports Banquet, the Lady Lancer team never quit and always thought they had a chance to win.
Coach Maya White said the team had to learn quickly the differences between junior high, junior varsity and varsity.
“At the varsity level you have stronger or heavier hitters that can put the ball away and also, usually but not always, a quicker offense with hitters hitting quicker sets,” Coach White explained. “So as a Middle Blocker you have to be able to read and react faster to the ball. This speed of the game also means that, defensively, the diggers have to be able to transition (move) to their defensive spots faster.”
This inexperience with the speed of the game combined with inconsistency being a young team showed as the Lancers finished the season with a 6-27 record.
Eight Lady Lancers played in 77 sets or more at the varsity level, three more played in nearly 50 sets. Of those eleven players, seven will be back next season. It was crucial experience for a young team hungry to do better next year.
“It will and has helped them tremendously,” Coach White said. “They are learning to read the game faster and learn the court – where to put the ball, etc. Also, they are able to play with and against stronger players to help them see where they want to be now, next year or the year after.”
As always, off season work will likely determine just how successful the Lady Lancer Volleyball team will be in the future.
“The mental game is huge – seeing themselves succeeding and mastering a skill, also weights, speed training, and getting their hands on a ball whenever they can, either at open gym, camp, or home,” Coach White said. “We have great fan support at Southeast and I feel the fans should expect great
things like they always do.”
Coach White said she was impressed as the season went along with the leadership of the seniors, and the underclassmen who began to grow into those roles as well.
Some highlights from the 2015 varsity volleyball season for Southeast:
Senior Kalyn Bitner was named 2nd Team All-CNC and had 195 Total Kills, 86 Total Blocks – 31 of those were Solo, and 21 Serving Aces. Bitner also set a new school record for Career Total Blocks, with 201.
Freshman MaKayla Buffington had 71 Total Kills.
Sophomore Daisy Burns had 22 Serving Aces and 178 Assists.
Senior Kendall Hamblin had 121 Total Digs and 207 Total Serves Received.
Freshman Sailor Jackson had 67 Total Digs and 190 Total Serves Received.
Senior Jordann Lunsford had 77 Total Kills, 37 Serving Aces, 30 Total Blocks, 94 Total Digs, 85 Assists and 106 Total Serves Received.
Freshman Julie Martin was named Honorable Mention All-CNC and had 185 Total Digs and 429 Total Serves Received. Martin also tied the School Match Records with 14 perfect serve receive passes in a best of 3, and 21 perfect serve receive passes in a best of 5.
Junior Kyra Stewart had 122 Assists.
Junior Bailee Ulery had 144 Total Kills, 64 Total Blocks, 134 Total Digs, 35 Total Aces and 323 Total Serves Received.