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Lady Bruins hopeful about volleyball team

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Fall sports preview

By Robert Howey

 The Lancaster High School Lady Bruins’ volleyball team is looking to build on its success from a year ago.

The LHS girls, under the leadership of veteran coach Betsi O’Shields, are upbeat about the new campaign.

“We’re confident,” O’Shields said. “After winning our first region match last year against Northwestern and allowing the girls more playing time together, we have a cohesive unit. We plan on being more equally matched with more schools in our region this season than in years past.”

The Lady Bruins have their share of experience with three senior captains – setter Tara Brooks, libero Morgan Cope and outside hitter Elizabeth Gaston.

Gaston garnered all-region honors last season, while Cope reaped the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Brooks took the Most Improved Player Award.

The lone junior returnee is Shalearah Blackmon, a setter.

Four sophomores round out the LHS squad, including outside hitter Hayden Thorne, who won the team’s Offensive Player of the Year Award last fall. Thorne’s soph teammates are outside hitter Amirah Steward, middle blocker Keyotta Garris and middle blocker Alexis Williams.

Steward won the team’s Coaches Award last season.

“We have our share of experience and we hope that will work in our favor,” O’Shields said. “We have worked hard and come a long way. This season, we hope those strides are even more evident.”

“We had some close matches with Clover and York last season and we hope that left our young ladies hungry and wanting more,” she said. “Our region is one of the strongest in the state for volleyball. Rock Hill, Nation Ford and Northwestern are teams, which are consistently in the running for playoff bids.

“We have played well in our scrimmages and early-season non-region matches and we hope that will be a confidence booster,” she said.

Kristen Hauslee, a ninth grade biology teacher and an assistant soccer coach, is leading the Junior Lady Bruins team.

“She has been a great asset to our program and is doing a wonderful job with the junior varsity team,” O’Shields said.