PENDLETON — One of the best things a coach can say is “I have my entire roster back this year.”
Pendleton Heights volleyball coach Blair Barksdale is in that position and is looking forward to another successful season.
The Arabians were 20-9 last year and won the Madison County Tournament for the third time in a row. Being county champs is once again on their radar.
One of Pendleton Heights’ strengths will be their service pressure.
“It’s the first line of defense. I think we do need to work on our middle connection with our setters, and that takes time,” Barksdale said.
She said she’s seen improvements already since the preseason and it’s coming along well.
Senior Avery Ross is primed to hit the 1,000-kills mark as the outside hitter. After one game, Ross is but 17 kills away from the milestone.
Junior Ramsey Gary is a defensive specialist for the Arabians.
The two were named All-County last year.
Senior setter Olivia Wright was another All-County selection.
Barksdale said sophomore Annie Canada, who has moved up from the junior varsity as a middle blocker, has been working well with Wright throughout the summer, and she expects even more improvement from the two of them.
Other Arabians seniors are Tessa Phillips and Gabby Ennis. Junior Ava Kate Phillips has moved up from junior varsity.
“We’re really excited for the season. We have a lot of potential. As long as we continue to build offensively, I think we’re going to be a dominant outside team with Ross out there,” Barksdale said.
All aspects of the game are vital for the wins, Barksdale noted. She said the Arabians are more mature this season as a team, and their leaders are already showing the way.
Barksdale’s goals for the team are daily.
She wants to get better every time the Arabians step into the gym.
By doing so, a finish in the upper half the Hoosier Heritage Conference is a possibility.
The Arabians have finished in the lower half of the HHC for the past several years.
They showed off their depth in the season opener Aug. 16 at home against Richmond.
Down four players, the team switched up some positions and still took down the Red Devils in three sets, 25-18, 25-8 and 25-11.
Ross led the team in kills with 21, while Ramsey, playing the outside instead of libero had nine kills.
“I think we adjusted well,” Barksdale said. “We had a lot of service pressure on them.”
Barksdale is expecting the players who are out now to be back after the Mt. Vernon date on Aug. 26.
The Arabians travel to Anderson Aug. 18 and are back home against Madison-Grant Aug. 19.
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Ava Kate Phillips
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2021 Pendleton Heights Volleyball Schedule
Aug. 16;vs. Richmond;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18;at Anderson;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 19;vs. Madison-Grant;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 23;vs. Westfield;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 24;vs. Noblesville;7 p.m.
Aug. 26;at Mt. Vernon;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 28;at Huntington North Invitational;9 a.m.
Aug. 31;at Lapel;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2;vs. Yorktown;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4;at North Central Invitational;9 a.m.
Sept. 7;at Delta;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9;at County Tournament (at APA);5:30 p.m.
Sept. 11;at County Tournament (at Elwood);TBA
Sept. 13;vs. Hamilton Southeastern;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14;at Muncie Central;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16;vs. New Palestine;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20;at Fishers;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21;vs. New Castle;7 p.m.
Sept. 23;at Hamilton Heights;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28;at Shelbyville;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30;vs. Greenfield-Central;7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5;at Mississinewa;7:30 p.m.
Oct. 6;vs. Alexandria;7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7;at Connersville;7 p.m.
Oct. 12;at Sectional;TBD