By Chris Parker
Seneca volleyball returns a strong core of five upperclassmen from last season’s team that won 14 matches.
At the head of the returning group are senior Parker Long and junior Jera Jameson. Each earned honorable mention all-conference honors last year.
Long, who will likely play outside hitter and defensive specialist, led the team with 215 kills, 336 digs and 350 serve receptions last year.
“Parker is a great, all-around athlete. She is great at reading hitters as a defensive player and reading the floor as a hitter. Her extensive knowledge of the game and her years of experience in both club and school ball have definitely helped her versatility. She is our go to kid,” Seneca head coach Rachel Ayo said. “(We expect her) to be a leader and to continue reaching offensive and defensive milestones in her career as a Seneca Indian.”
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Jameson will play outside and middle hitter along with defensive specialist. She was second on the team with 174 kills while leading Seneca in both aces (57) and blocks (38).
“Her hitting is a lot stronger and more consistent. She has grown to be one of our stronger defensive specialists as well,” Ayo said. “She has a great block and reads the court very well. If others are having an off night, she is one I can count on to offensively help out the team.”
The senior trio of Brylee Sage (setter), Braxton Raulston (OH/MB) and Tatum White (RS/DS) round out the returning players. The trio each played in all 93 sets for Seneca last year.
Ayo on Sage: “Versatile player. Last year she saw and was used offensively and defensively on varsity. She has great hands and will be a huge part of running our offense.”
Ayo on Raulston: “Great athlete. Can swing anywhere in front row she is asked to. She is a great offensive and defensive weapon.”
Ayo on White: “Great at reading the floor as a hitter. Hard server and having her hard left-handed swing on the right side is a huge asset to the team.”
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Senior Amber Garrison (MB) along with juniors Ella Graham (libero), Allison Golden (setter), Danessa Macy and Valencia Araujo are new players to watch on varsity.
“We are offensively strong and have a strong senior class leading Seneca volleyball this year. A majority of our varsity starters have been playing varsity for two to three years, which is a huge asset,” Ayo said. “Mental toughness in volleyball is always huge. We are capable of winning many games this season, but we will need to stay mentally strong as a whole and be able to overcome injuries, tough losses, etc.”
Seneca will travel to McDonald County for a jamboree on Aug. 23 with the host Mustangs, Lamar and Cassville. Seneca opens the regular season on Aug. 30 to Neosho.