LIBERTY — The Liberty Blue Jays volleyball team boasts a strong mix of experience and fresh talent for the 2019 season.
The Blue Jays return five starters, three of them well-accomplished upperclassmen after posting a 31-5-2 overall record, winning conference and district titles and reaching the state quarterfinals last season.
“We want to build from that experience,” Liberty coach April Fleming said. “The kids that are returning got a taste of what that was like, and I know they want more. They have high expectations as well.”
It didn’t take long for Fleming to mention a strong freshmen class, either, as she notes three newcomers could see varsity time.
“We have some new faces that we brought up,” she said. “We have a large group of freshmen that are coming in. I’m excited to watch them progress throughout the season and contribute to a new team.”
All-state setter Meghan Schneider along with Emily Glazier and Elizabeth Stepp are three senior starters, said Fleming.
“We have great senior leadership,” she added.
The Blue Jays also boast junior outside hitter Bailee Middleton, an Ole Miss recruit. The versatile player was an all-conference and all-district performer last year. Additionally, sophomore Madison Corf is expected to be a heavy contributor and help pace the offense with Middleton.
The Blue Jays took care of business in the Class 4 District 15 tournament last season for a third straight year, topping Kearney in each of the three title games. The expectations for 2019 are as high as ever, as they look to reach the state final four for the first time since 2014.
“It’s going to be important to have high expectations but take it one game at a time,” Fleming said. “Of course, everyone’s goal is to go to the state tournament and win, but we need to focus on the game ahead and execute at the highest level.”