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The Marion County Lady Knights are coming off a 24-12 season. They are the reigning 20th District champions. And they are just a few weeks away from starting a new season.
Despite losing powerhouses Alexus Calhoun and Abby Murphy to graduation, much of last year’s varsity squad is returning. According to the Kentucky High School Athletics Association’s website, Marion County has 12 seniors and one junior on its roster.
Lady Knights Coach David Hibbard said they hope having a senior-loaded team could be an indication of how the season will unfold, but nothing is ever certain.
“Usually you hope that’s the case,” Hibbard said. “You plan for that being the case.”
Unfortunately, they did lose Calhoun and Murphy, and they’re practically irreplaceable, he said.
“They’re first team all-state players,” Hibbard said. “I don’t know if we have a single person to replace either one of them. So we’re going to have to do this more by committee.”
He said everyone will have to chip in just a little bit more this year.
Using summer practice and camp as a guide, Hibbard said he’s looking at two players to step up and shine — middle hitter Shelby Goode and right-side hitter Sara Abell.
The Lady Knights will also have a new libero. They lost last year’s libero, Lauren Farmer, to graduation. Elizabeth Buckman will be filling in the role. Hibbard said she has experience in the position and filled in when Farmer was out last year.
“We’re really looking forward to her being solid this year,” Hibbard said.
Winning district again is one of the team’s goals this season, but he added the girls have made it a personal goal to reach the regional finals. He also added Marion County High School is hosting the junior varsity and freshman district tournament this year, and those squads hope to play for keeps.
The Lady Knights will hit the road for their first four matches of the season.
After taking on the Campbellsville Lady Eagles on Aug. 21, the Lady Knights will get tested early with back-to-back games against the Green County Dragons on Aug. 25 and the Bethlehem Banshees on Aug. 26. From there, they will go on to fight the Taylor County Lady Cardinals on Aug. 28.
“Green County has got to be the favorite this year, hands down,” Hibbard said. “They didn’t lose much from last year. They’re the region champs. I look for them to be very, very solid.”
Last year, the Dragons went 35-7. When the two teams clashed, the Lady Knights came out victorious 3-2 in a brutal five-set match.
The Central Hardin Lady Bruins will also prove to be a formidable opponent for the team, having gone 29-10 last year.
“We’re going to see where we are real fast,” Hibbard said.
Now, with a long road ahead, only one thing is certain — the Lady Knights’ attitude.
“They’ve shown a great desire to get better fast,” Hibbard said. “So I’m hoping that translates in to our play on there down the road.”