OSAWATOMIE — Five seniors are back to take the Osawatomie Lady Trojan volleyball team to the next level.

After competing in the Pioneer League a year ago, the Osawatomie girls are eager to not just compete on the court, but turn those close matches into wins for the Lady Trojans.

Osawatomie returns six seniors in hitter Madison Ballou, hitter Allie Lagasse, hitter Meadow Stull, libero Skyler Gravatt and defensive specialist Kylee Barnett.

Ballou was a first-team Tri-County Spotlight Volleyball Team selection last season. Ballou had 145 kills and 88 aces.

Lagasse was a second-team Spotlight selection. Lagasse had 164 kills and 42 aces.

Junior Avery Dempsey, a hitter, was an honorable mention selection.

Osawatomie also returns middle hitter Lydia Beets, a sophomore, and junior setter Mallory Palmer.

Also out for the varsity squad are junior Josie Worrell and sophomore Tiana Simmons.

Coach Emily Ballou is entering her third season and third tour as head coach of the Lady Trojans. Assistant coaches are Marley Murrow and Emily Hampton.

Experience is a strength for the Lady Trojans, Ballou said.

“One of our strengths is our seniors,” she said. “They are here for the right reasons. They are eager to be part of this team.

“Everyone out here wants to get better every day,” Ballou said. “All of these players are coachable.”

Just having the opportunity to play is special for these kids, Ballou said.

“It is fantastic to be here,” she said. “You could tell they missed it and being around each other. They were here for summer conditioning and here working out on open gym nights.”

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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