2022 Fall Preview: Camdenton Volleyball


By Chris Parker

Camdenton volleyball has been consistent over the past four years winning at least 17 matches in each campaign. Last year, the Lady Lakers won 18 matches despite having to replace six seniors going into the season.

Once again this year, Camdenton will have to replace another group of six graduated seniors, but don’t expect the Lady Lakers to fall off.

“We have been successful because I felt like our kids knew the game of volleyball well. We have really talked about the X’s and O’s of the game of volleyball in the offseason as our court will be made up of younger players this year. Knowledge of the game is very important,” Camdenton head coach Austin Walker said. “I think our success also comes from girls continuing to play outside of our high school season. Volleyball has grown tremendously in the area and it helps when kids are getting their hands on a volleyball outside of the high school season. And I also think our kids being multisport athletes is an attribute to our success as well. It teaches them to compete in whatever they do and that has translated over. I’ve really enjoyed the group we’ve had in the gym as they’ve been very coachable and eager to learn.”

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Seven players who saw action in at least one varsity set last year return including: Bella Breuer (sophomore MB), Kenzie Swanson (junior MB), Nora Powers (senior OH/RS), Lily Wiethop (senior OH/RS), Katie Hilton (senior DS/OH), Caitlin Garmany (junior DS/L) and Mia Whittle (junior L/DS).

Walker on Breuer: “Bella spent her spring and summer playing on a very competitive club team. Her volleyball IQ increased tremendously and she has matured both on and off the court. She is more confident as a player than she was last fall. We are excited for her to be one of our go-to players this fall.

Walker on Swanson: “Kenzie has played higher level volleyball this past spring and summer as well. She is more confident this year than last and has been more of a leader in taking our newcomers in and helping them fit in well. She moved from the right side last season to the middle for us this season and will add some versatility to our lineup.”

Walker on Powers: “Nora is going to see some action on both pins this year. She is a strong hitter who is finding her stride. She is a natural leader who wants to win and get better.”

Walker on Wiethop: “Lily spent some of her junior season on the sidelines with injury and sickness. Lily is an athletic player who is always looking to improve the ball. She has grown more confident in her ability to get a kill and will be a good senior leader for us. She is always leading by example and will make an impact this season on the outside.”

Walker on Hilton: “Katie is a talker. She is a leader by example and is always talking to her teammates to help them out. She loves the game of volleyball and has put herself in positions to be successful. Right now she is going to play primarily a defensive role for us but she could spend some time on the pins as the season continues. She is always giving her best and we appreciate her ability to make those around her better.”

Walker on Garmany: “Caitlin played a defensive position for us last fall. She has spent some time as both libero and defensive specialist and as a result she has grown more confident.”

Walker on Whittle: “Mia was primarily our libero for our junior varsity squad last year but found herself on the varsity floor throughout the year. She has worked on her platform in the off-season and is trusting herself to make the right plays more. She will primarily fill our libero role this year.”

Walker expects Maggie Johnson (junior RS), Kiley Bentley (sophomore DS/L) and Balla Asante (freshman S) to contribute at the varsity level.

Walker on Johnson: “Maggie transferred from Texas at the end of last season. She has provided a strong right side block and attack for us this summer. She knows the game of volleyball and will see the court at either the outside or right side.”

Walker on Bentley: “Kiley has had a really strong spring and summer. She is a playmaker who is willing to do whatever role is needed. She has worked well with whoever else is on the floor and is eager to learn.”

Walker on Asante: “Bella is very volleyball minded and knows the game well. She has worked this summer at making connections with whoever is on the floor and has really stepped into a leadership role as the setter on the floor.”

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Lexi Dickerson (junior S), Madison Daniels (sophomore S), Ciara Faulconer (junior OH), Kileigh Vavruska (junior OH) and Lily Hulett (sophomore OH) will be other players competing for time on the varsity level.

Camdenton volleyball will be a young but deep team this year.

“Our biggest strength could be our depth this year. We will be young, but we have lots of young girls who have made tremendous strides in the off-season. It will be a constant battle in practice for the starting spot. I think it will make us better as the year progresses and we can find our stride,” Walker said. “While we will be young, we are preaching to do whatever you do with confidence. We are going to continue to talk about the ‘whys’ and the X and O aspect of volleyball in preseason and throughout the year so we can continue to develop that aspect of the game. We know we are going to see some moments of really good and some where we know we can improve, but we want kids to continue to grow as players.”

Camdenton will host a jamboree on Aug. 24 with Sedalia, Marshfield and Jefferson City. The Lady Lakers open the regular season on Aug. 29 at Helias Catholic.

“I think the most important expectation is that we get better each time,” Walker said. “The Ozark Conference is tough and we have Helias, Rock Bridge and Republic in the preseason matches and all three are tough opponents. We have to keep getting better each practice, game and repetition.”

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