Volleyball enters district play tonight against Battle


Photo by Devesh Kumar.

Graham Ratermann

Sophomore outside hitter Maurissa Roberts leaps to spike the ball. The Bruins enter district play tonight. Photo by Devesh Kumar.
Sophomore outside hitter Maurissa Roberts leaps to spike the ball. The Bruins enter district play tonight. Photo by Devesh Kumar.
Last season the RBHS volleyball team recorded its best record and highest finish in school history behind the strength of 10 seniors. This years team starts their postseason quest tonight, looking to improve on last year’s success.
The lady Bruins went 29-2 through the regular season last year. This year they’ve managed to go an impressive 22-6-2. Last year’s squad entered the Class Four District Nine tournament as the second seed. This year, RBHS again claimed the second seed and will play seventh seeded Battle (2-21) at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Smith-Cotton High School.
The Bruins bested Battle earlier in the year 25-12, 25-11 and with a quarterfinal win would await the winner of Jefferson City (9-17-1) or Hickman (5-19-2), two teams the Bruins have previously beaten, in the semifinal.
Last year the Bruins won the district crown, advanced to the state quarterfinals, the highest finish of any RBHS volleyball team and finished with a 33-3 mark, another school record.
This year’s squad has looked drastically different from last year’s bunch as 10 of the 14 varsity players graduated, including Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association class four all-state second team selection, Kayla Cheadle, and honorable mention selection, Ali Kreklow. Despite graduating such a talented and decorated senior class, the Bruins have been able to fill holes with underclassmen who are experienced club players.
“It’s going to be tough and we did lose a lot of height as well as amazing girls, but we are excited for where they are going in their careers,” Lawson said. “Be it volleyball or anything else. That being said, we have girls coming up the pipeline to fill spots, girls who have played for many years, many of which who have played at very high levels at such a young age in club.”
With a relatively younger team that lacks height up front and firepower offensively, head coach Robin Sherman has had to focus on passing, serving and defense, and letting the offense take place around the solid fundamentals.
“We may just be a really scrappy defensive team this year, but we’ll just have to wait and see, you never know, we have some pretty solid attackers, we just don’t have a whole lot of height this next year,” Sherman said in August. “No matter what we have hitting wise, we have to be a solid passing and serving team, if we can’t pass and serve it doesn’t matter who we have to hit the ball…if we focus on defense, passing and serving, the rest will hopefully take care of itself.”
Despite new players and new roles, Sherman stays optimistic about her team’s chances.
“I would love to see this team be in the finals of districts,” Sherman said. “I think that would be a really good goal for us and that could be a realistic goal for us. In losing 10 out of 14 players last year it’s a rebuilding year, but these kids are all competitors and I think that’s probably what they have their sights on.”