With the end of July looming, summer workouts are starting to come to a close for the Lansing Lions volleyball team.
After a successful camp at Missouri State last week, head coach Julie Slater is looking forward to the upcoming season.
“Things are looking pretty good,” Slater said.
When asked about players standing out, Slater was quick to mention the obvious choice of seniors and their leadership, but one senior in particular that she mentioned was Kennedy Farris.
“She’s always been a good player,” Slater said. “But she is really standing out to us. She’s back there leading the defense and communicating. She’s really being a strong leader.”
Slater is expecting Farris and the nine returning varsity players, as well as a senior transfer from Oklahoma, to all be the key leaders for the team after their hard work in the summer and previous seasons.
The team will go to Park Hill for the final camp of summer. After that, the coach wants the players to have some time away from volleyball since many of the girls play close to year-round from club play. The Lions will look to win the camp tournament just like they did at Missouri State and their own camp. Some of the girls will not be at the camp, but Slater is not worried and feels like the team will be competitive in the camp tournament like the previous two due to depth.
“We’ve got a lot of talent right now,” Slater said. “Honestly, we are so solid that we could put together two varsity teams. We are just solid. This is the most depth I have ever had in 33 years of coaching.”
Although the full team is not finalized yet, Slater thinks this depth will be one of the biggest strengths for the team as more players can allow better substitutions if one of the girls is having an off night.
The team will need that help from the depth with the school moving to the new United Kansas Conference. As a result of the change, the Lions will see tough competition from the other five schools with De Soto being the top challenge, but Slater praised the level of competition the others will bring as well. Slater also mentioned the Leavenworth-Lansing rivalry as another aspect to look forward to with the conference change.
“With Leavenworth vs. Lansing, the records are thrown out the window,” Slater said. “It’s just Leavenworth vs. Lansing. So that will always be competitive.”
The team will be finalized over the coming weeks as summer break comes to a close. The Lions will have their red vs. white scrimmage at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23 at home before their first game against St. Thomas Aquinas at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25 in the Spectrum Volleyball Slam at St. James.