Southridge volleyball seeking consistency

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Senior Maddy Songer (7) is the returning setter for Southridge volleyball, and a crucial piece for the Raiders. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG - Consistency.

It's what Southridge volleyball often lacked in 2020, and thus, finished with a 9-18 record. And thus, it's consistency that Raiders coach Mande Keusch is hoping for as they try to bounce back in 2021.

"It was really hard to nail down a lineup last year because we had girls missing here and there and people had to fill spots they wouldn't maybe normally play in - and we might run into that again this year," Keusch said. "That was the benefit, I think, this summer. It was purposeful in a way not just trying to figure out who goes where, but I want the girls to feel very versatile in feeling comfortable, being able to play multiple positions."

Some key players on the 2020 Southridge squad won't be returning in 2021. The Raiders lost Maddie Songer to graduation last year, and Myah Montgomery is not back for her senior year this year.

However, they still have Maddy Songer, who is one of Southridge's two seniors this year (Karly Barnett being the other), and Keusch hailed Songer, the team's setter, as a great leader on the court.

"She's a great hustler, really a strong communicator," she said. "So, we're going to look to her for a lot of things on our court this year."

Keusch will turn to a pair of juniors this year to get kills for the Raiders - her daughter, Bailey, and also Brenna Brosmer. She called the two of them her biggest arms, with the most hitting experience at the varsity level, adding that they'll definitely be in the team's front row.

Mande has urged Bailey about being more of a vocal leader and leading by example, someone to take the younger players under her wing.

"We got to build the young ones because in a couple years we're losing a whole bunch of juniors, they're (currently) juniors" Mande said. "So, after next year, people are really going to have to fill some holes."

Yet, there are also some younger players who could have a role on varsity this year. Mande talked about getting freshman Emmy Petry's feet wet this summer, possibly putting her in a front row position. She also discussed sophomore Payton Nichter as another person who has practiced with both varsity and junior varsity - and the two might be able to help out both teams if needed. A couple of other JV players who look to be sitting varsity are sophomores Mackenzie Tobin and Emma Ferguson.

Mande thinks things could be looking up when it comes to the Pocket Athletic Conference and the sectional. She noted that a lot of PAC teams lost a lot of strong players, and the Raiders had some subtractions, too, but she thinks they can hold their own. Mande also thinks there's more opportunity to advance out of the team's sectional with defending Class 2A State Champion Barr-Reeve ascending to Class 3A.

Southridge wasted no time getting some conference looks. It was scheduled to have a scrimmage Thursday at South Spencer, and is scheduled to open the season Saturday at Mt. Vernon.




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