The Cabot Lady Panthers volleyball team is poised to take the next step toward being a force in the 7A/6A-East conference.
"We’re bringing back six seniors and five of those six have two years of varsity starting experience," third-year coach DeAnna Campbell said. "We’re going to be a little bit different than we have been in the past. We’ve got a couple of kinks to work out. We should be doing pretty well."
Those six seniors include Taylor Bitely, Lakin Best, Kate Pitman, Bailey Uhiren, Raven Gilbert and Becca Moffett.
During Campbell’s first season in 2011, the Lady Panthers struggled and did not make the state tournament.
A year ago, Cabot finished 13-17 overall but made the Class 7A state tournament, losing to Springdale Har-Ber in the first round.
"We wanted to be competitive, play every team close," Campbell said of her team a year ago. "We wanted to make everyone work to win their games. We wanted to win at least half of our games. We went 6-8 in conference.
"One of our goals was to get to double digit wins, which we did with 13 wins."
Campbell said her team has set some new goals for this season.
"We want to beat some of the powerhouse teams," she said. "We want to beat a Jonesboro, a Mountain Home or a Marion; even all of them would be great."
Campbell said her players are playing different positions this year.
"As far as skill level, it’s where it needs to be," she said. "These guys can do pretty much anything they want on the floor when they want to do it. Our next goal is to gel the team together in their new positions so that we don’t have any of those communication errors where we’re not sure whose ball is whose. That has been one of our goals too."
Cabot will travel to Conway for a benefit scrimmage Thursday. The Lady Panthers will play Sheridan at 5:30 p.m. and North Little Rock at 6:15 p.m.
Cabot’s junior varsity will play Vilonia’s junior varsity at 7 p.m.
The season opener is Tuesday at Panther Arena. Cabot will host Lonoke and Jacksonville in a tri-match, starting at 5 p.m.