Front, from left, Chrissy Long, Jenna Walker and Kari Westbrook; back, from left, Heather Martin, Natalie Mundel, Tori Covington, Lexie Johnson and Brittany Grayson.
New East Alton-Wood River head volleyball coach Patti Scott has returned to the hardwood and is bringing a solid approach for the 2014 volleyball season. Lauren Fester joins Scott as the assistant coach and the junior varsity-freshman coach.
Scott spent five years as the head coach at EA-WR prior to Radena Lemmon taking the reins. Lemmon stepped down following the 2013 volleyball season.
The Oilers have embraced Scott’s new direction, saying that they enjoy her hands-on, don’t-settle-for-less approach and they feel it will make them a stronger team.
“She has really helped us become a better squad already,” junior Brittany Grayson said. “She won’t let us move on until we’ve nailed our skill down and she won’t let us give up on ourselves. She’s really encouraging.”
The Oilers bring in strong returning players in seniors Kari Westbrook, Jenna Walker and Chrissy Long. Juniors Tori Covington, Heather Martin, Natalie Mundel, Grayson and Lexie Johnson bring experience and strengths to the squad.
“It takes so much more than one player to make a team and we have great talent across the board,” Scott said. “But I have to say that Kari Westbrook is our team’s heartbeat.”
The Oilers have already had a taste of success as a team throughout the summer workout program and tournaments.
“In the Metro East Lutheran tournament over the summer, we were successful, losing one game,” Scott said. “We also played in a summer league that competed on Tuesday nights. This time together allowed us to change our defense and learn new skills.”
The Oilers look to bring in a strong team that will turn some heads as they enter the Prairie State Conference. Scott said her first goal for the team is to have a winning season and the thought of a conference championship is not an unreasonable reach for the Oilers.
“We know this is a full season and we don’t want to go out gung-ho and let up without finishing our games,” Scott said. “If we stay this focused and determined, we will have a lot of wins. A few losses will happen, but we won’t let them be easy wins for our opponents and I look forward to seeing how our girls will pick themselves up.”
EA-WR open the season Monday, Aug. 25, in the Roxana Tournament.
2014 EA-WR VOLLEYBALL
Aug. 25, TBA at Roxana Tournament
Aug. 26, TBA at Roxana Tournament
Aug. 28, 6 p.m. at Civic Memorial
Aug. 30, TBA at Roxana Tournament
Sept. 2, 6 p.m. Alton
Sept. 13, TBA EA-WR Tournament
Sept. 16, 5 p.m. at Roxana
Sept. 18, 6 p.m. at Nokomis*
Sept. 20, TBA at Vandalia Tournament
Sept. 22, 6 p.m. at Staunton
Sept. 23, 5 p.m. Marquette*
Sept. 29, 6 p.m. Jersey
Sept. 30, 6 p.m. Gillespie
Oct. 6, 6 p.m. Litchfield
Oct. 7, 6 p.m. at Carlinville
Oct. 9, 6 p.m. Mount Olive*
Oct. 14, 6 p.m. at Southwestern
Oct. 15, 6 p.m. at Metro East Lutheran*
Oct. 16, 6 p.m. Bunker Hill*
Oct. 18, 8:30 a.m. Jerseyville Tournament
Oct. 21, 6 p.m. at Greenville
*denotes a conference game
PLAYERS HT. POS.
Chrissy Long 5-10 MB
Kari Westbrook 5-9 S
Jenna Walker 5-4 S-RS
Lexie Johnson 5-10 MB
Brittany Grayson 5-4 OH
Heather Martin 5-6 LS
Natalie Mundel 5-3 LS
Tori Covington 5-2 Libero
Shelby Yarbrough 5-6 MB
Lauren Reynolds 5-4 MB
Kelsey Hauser 5-1 LS
Lauren Robinson 5-5 LS
Morgan Moxey 5-4 S/OH