Volleyball season right around the corner

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Lady Knights season opens Aug. 7 at Thomas Nelson High

By Jessica Veatch and Josh Veatch

With school starting in Marion County in just a few days, that means only one thing - the start of high school sports. The team that will play the first organized event of the new school year is the Lady Knights volleyball team.
The team actually began their season when they competed in the Bluegrass State Games this past weekend.
After the Bluegrass Games, the team will compete in a pair of preseason scrimmages against Bardstown and Green and Casey counties.  The first match of the regular season will be on Aug. 7, when the team travels to the newly built Thomas Nelson High School. The first home match will be on Aug. 9, when the team hosts Nelson County.
"We lost six seniors from last year's team, including our power hitter Shakyra Young who signed with Midway College. Her missing offense is the piece we will struggle with the most," Head Coach David Hibbard said.
The 2012 edition of the Lady Knights will be a power hitting and dominant blocking squad, according to Hibbard.
"This could be one of the best teams in program history as they try to earn their fifth straight district title and make a push for a regional title," he said.  
Not one player will be a dominant force this upcoming season. Rather, the team will be focused on more of a team-oriented attack. Hibbard mentioned a few players in particular that he feels will be key players for the team.
"Our defense will be led by middle blockers Kyvin Goodin-Rogers and Logan Powell," he said. "Offense will come from a wave of hitters led by seniors Katie McKinney and Heather Roberts and youngster Jeni Hall will be setting the offense."
Hibbard went on to say that Hall has the potential to break every setting record in school history.
After a 24-11 finish last season and an early exit in the regional tournament, Coach Hibbard is looking for improvement this season.
"This group has played extremely well so far in summer play, exceeding my expectations," he said. "I really believe our blocking could be the strongest in the region and if our defense in the back row matches that level, we will be very tough to beat."
Coach Hibbard went on to mention that this group of players already has learned to play with each other.
"This group seems to already have a great chemistry and they truly enjoy playing with each other," Hibbard said. "I am excited to see our potential and how we can improve over the course of the season."
Hibbard now has a new full time assistant coach. Jordan Reinle, a math teacher at Marion County High School, will be the main assistant coach for Hibbard this season. Kelly Cowan will remain as a volunteer assistant coach. Reinle is a lifelong volleyball fan and worked as the manager for Campbellsville University volleyball while he was in school there.
The 2012 Lady Knights will feature seven seniors, and Hibbard knows that his team is set to make a deep run into the postseason. This year's district tournament will be played at Taylor County and the regional tournament will be played at Marion County High School. The schedule for the team includes three varsity tournaments including the 5th annual Marion County Invitational. One of the tougher tournaments the Lady Knights will play in is the Harrison County Invitational, one of the better tournaments in north central Kentucky, according to Hibbard. Hibbard noted that Central Hardin seems to be the consensus regional favorite at this point.
An interesting note about the Lady Knights season is that they will be the first team to visit the new Thomas Nelson High School gym and will be part of the inaugural sporting event in that building. Hibbard said he doesn't know what to really expect from them as a new team since they will have some players from Nelson County High School. Thomas Nelson High School is one of the teams that will visit Marion County High School on Sept. 1 as part of the Marion County Invitational.