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story.lead_photo.caption Graham Thomas/Herald-Leader Siloam Springs senior Katie Kendrick goes after a ball during volleyball practice on Monday at Panther Activity Center. The Lady Panthers held their first official fall practice on Monday in preparation for the 2018 season.

The libero position is still up for grabs for the Siloam Springs volleyball team, and three seniors are set to battle it out.

The Lady Panthers held their first fall practice of the season Monday inside Panther Activity Center after going through a busy summer the last two months.

Siloam Springs volleyball

2018 schedule

Date^Opponent^Time

Aug. 10^Maroon-Gray Night^6 p.m.

Aug. 16^Fayetteville, Har-Ber, Harrison%^5:30 p.m.

Aug. 20^at Bentonville^6:30 p.m.

Aug. 23^Rogers^6:30 p.m.

Aug. 25^at LR Spikefest^TBA

Aug. 28^at Harrison^6 p.m.

Sept. 4^at Beebe*^5:30 p.m.

Sept. 6^Alma*^6:30 p.m.

Sept. 11^at Greenwood*^6:30 p.m.

Sept. 13^Vilonia*^6:30 p.m.

Sept. 15^at Volley in the Valley in Russellville^TBA

Sept. 18^at Little Rock Christian*^5:30 p.m.

Sept. 20^at Greenbrier*^5:30 p.m.

Sept. 25^Russellville*^6:30 p.m.

Sept. 27^Beebe*^5:30 p.m.

Oct. 2^at Alma*^6:30 p.m.

Oct. 4^Greenwood*^6:30 p.m.

Oct. 6^at Lady Cat Tournament in Conway^TBA

Oct. 8^Shiloh Christian^6:30 p.m.

Oct. 9^at Vilonia*^6:30 p.m.

Oct. 11^Little Rock Christian*^6:30 p.m.

Oct. 16^Greenbrier*^5:30 p.m.

Oct. 18^at Russellville*^6:30 p.m.

Oct. 23-25^5A State Tournament in Jonesboro^TBA

Oct. 27^State Championship in Hot Springs^TBA

* 5A-West Conference match

% Arkansas Activities Association benefit game

Head coach Joellen Wright said there are several areas of emphasis the next two weeks before the Lady Panthers host Fayetteville, Springdale Har-Ber and Harrison in an Arkansas Activities Association benefit match on Aug. 16.

One of those areas is nailing down who will play libero, the top defensive position on the floor.

"That's still up in the air," Wright said.

Seniors Mackenzie Cook, Maddy Lasater and Kelsey Lewis are all in the running, Wright said.

"They all bring different things," she said. "Kelsey's strength is serve-receive. Then Cook's strength is probably discipline. She's where she needs to be. She is intense. Every time the ball is set, she knows. She doesn't lose focus out there. Maddy Lasater's strength is defense. She's so fast in the back. Going corner to corner you've got to be fast if you're playing middle back.

"We've still got a couple of weeks to nail that part down."

Figuring out the libero position will then help the Lady Panthers coordinate the rest of their defense. Wright said the Lady Panthers have some work to do defensively.

"I think defensively we had some missed defensive assignments," she said. "Some of that is just not knowing where to go. Some of those kids didn't play varsity last year, and so we're adjusting to the speed because the sets are so much faster sometime. Some of that's new."

Siloam Springs, which went 17-16 and advanced to the state semifinals in Class 6A last year, will most likely run a one-setter offense (5-1) with senior Chloe Price handling the setting duties. The Lady Panthers had been toying around with a two-setter scheme (6-2) using Price and senior Annabelle VanAsche, which would allow Price to be an offensive hitter when she wasn't setting.

"We had tried 5-1 and then tried 6-2," Wright said. "It's just a little smoother. We scored more off the sets (Price) would give her hitters than where she was hitting."

The Lady Panthers attended Arkansas Tech team camp in Russellville last week and were forced to play without senior all-state hitter Ellie Lampton, who sprained an ankle the day before leaving for camp.

Lampton, who Wright said will play all rotations this year, did not play during team camp, but she was back at practice on Monday in a limited role.

Missing Lampton at team camp made for a tough time offensively initially, but by the end of the camp the Lady Panthers were finding other options to put the ball down.

"What it forced us to do was find other ways to score," Wright said. "It might have been one of the best things that happened to us."

Wright said senior middle blocker Katie Kendrick and senior right side hitter Reigan Brown stepped up offensively with Lampton out. Seniors Madison Lanker and Jaycie Curry also played at the outside hitter position.

Initially, the Lady Panthers were rattled and predictable with their hitting on the first day, Wright said, but by the end of the second day they had figured some things out.

"I was really proud of them because they started mixing it up and not being predictable (with their hitting)," Wright said. "It showed me that they don't care about being the glamorous hammer. Tips are points just like hammers. I think that was a big lesson that they learned. They had to fight through some adversity."

Siloam Springs is scheduled to open its 2018 season Aug. 20 at Bentonville.

Sports on 08/01/2018

Print Headline: Practice begins for Lady Panthers

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