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Banner County Lady Wildcats ready to hit the court
September 04, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Courtesy Photo - Members of the 2014 Banner County Lady Wildcats volleyball team include, from left – Front row: Shay White, Taylor Evans, Juewl Simonton, Christina Grubbs, Rebecca Brown, Sara Taggart, Ashlynne Hanan, Danielle Flick and Paige Cross. Second row: Erika Geary, Tiffany Murphy, Savannah Jordan, Bailee Underhill, Sierra Flores, MaKenna Dahlgrin, Arielle Whelchel, Emily Singleton and Coach Cooper. Not pictured is Coach Boettcher.

The Banner County Lady Wildcats volleyball team has a new head coach and assistant coach as they look to improve on last year’s disappointing 3-23 season.

“We have a good amount of upperclassman leadership this season,” new head coach Carissa Cooper said. “We also have some freshmen coming in who should make some major contributions to the team. We have pretty good fundamentals and skills, but we need to combine that with a solid team effort to bring it all together. If we do that, I think we can get to a winning season.”

She said they’ve set a number of team goals, including a .500 or better season, so they have an objective measure of their progress as the season rolls out.

Some of the players Cooper expects to have strong seasons include Taylor Evans, one of the team’s strongest middle hitters. Paige Croft has also been solid at the setter position. And junior Shay White has been strong as the team’s libero and will be a big asset.

“MaKenna Dahlgrin is a freshman and will probably make a strong contribution for a newcomer,” Cooper said. “She should see quite a bit of playing time.”

Assistant Coach Wittni Boettcher is also new to the team. After a 5 a.m. practice last week, she said the team is gelling well and is dedicated and hard working. Three seniors are among the 11 returners.

“We’re a growing team this year,” Boettcher said. “We open up with some strong competition from Creek Valley. Hemingford and Minatare are also good opponents.”

“We’re in it for the team,” she continued. “We’re always looking for a winning record, but I want to see the team working well together.”

Banner County is a Class D-2 school and plays in the Minuteman Conference. Some of the big matches for the volleyball team this year include Leyton, Creek Valley and Potter-Dix.

“One of our goals for the season is to become students of the game,” Cooper said. “That means having the fundamentals down, understanding the strategy and functioning cohesively as a team.”

The Lady Wildcats volleyball team opens on Sept. 4 with a home triangular against two strong opponents – Minatare and Creek Valley.

Banner County Volleyball Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 4 Home triangular with Creek Valley and Minatare – 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 5 Home v. Maywood – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 9 Triangular at Hay Springs with Hemingford – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13 Home triangular with Bayard and Sioux County – 10 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 25 at Hemingford – 6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 2 Home v. South Platte – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 4 Morrill Tourney – 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 7 Triangular at Minatare with Garden County – 5 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 10 at Arthur – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 11 at Pine Bluffs – 10 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 18 MAC Tournament at Creek Valley – TBA
Tuesday, Oct. 21 Triangular at Leyton with Potter-Dix – 5 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 24 at Sioux County – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 28 Leyton Tournament at Dalton – 2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 30 Home triangular with Hyannis and Crawford – 6 p.m.
Monday – Tuesday, Nov. 3 – 4 Subdistricts
Thursday, Nov. 6 Districts
Thursday – Saturday, Nov. 13 – 15 State Tournament at Lincoln
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