Lonoke’s Lady Rabbits graduated one starter off last year’s volleyball squad — libero Madison McFadden — so coach Laura Park has good experience returning for 2017.
“I’ve got about 20 girls on the roster, and I’ve got 20 potentials,” she said Monday. “I’ve got a lot of returning starters that look to possibly be in the same positions they were in last year, but several of them may be in more than one position because we want to be prepared for whatever’s on the other side of the court.”
Among the senior returners are Maddie Pool, Keiunna Walker, Kennedy White and Kayla Shelton.
“I’ve got some good defensive players and some good passers,” Park said. “Several girls are vying for each position. We’ve got a lot of healthy competition. They are pushing each other and working harder to get better, which is making that person right in front of them or beside them work a little harder.”
But she said the lineup wasn’t yet set.
“If I were to put six on the floor right now to play, I couldn’t promise you who or where they’d be,” Park said. “And it may be the middle of the season before we get a steady flow.”
The Lady Rabbits, who have been practicing since July 11, have attended team camps in Branson, Mo., and at UA-Little Rock.
“We’ve seen a lot of great competition,” Park said. “Branson was great for competition and also good for team bonding.”
Last year’s LHS squad won an American Volleyball Coaches Association academic award.
“The team as a whole for the school year had to have a combined 3.30 GPA, and my two sports, volleyball and softball, had a combined 3.71 or 3.72,” Park said. “They are great academically and athletically and community-minded. They are always giving of themselves and their time, and it’s just a blessing to be a part of such a group.”