Sikeston volleyball ready to make a leap forward

Sikeston head volleyball coach Marc Jannin speaks to his team during a practice on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Dennis Marshall/Standard-Democrat)

SIKESTON, Mo. — As the Sikeston volleyball team prepares to kick off their season, they do so with a winning formula in mind.

The Lady Bulldogs are poised for a promising season as a cohesive blend of experienced upperclassmen and talented younger players take the court.

“We are a team that is working hard to improve each day so we can compete against our tough conference,” said first-year Sikeston head coach Marc Jannin. “Many of our players as a whole have improved immensely from last year, and I am proud of the work they have put in.

Sikeston's Danielle Martinez serves during a practice on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Dennis Marshall/Standard-Democrat)

“The way we are approaching this season is to compete and have fun,” he continued. “I believe our program is going in the right direction and we have a solid core of upperclassmen to help guide our younger classmen who have high potential.”

The team is fortified by a group of talented seniors this season. Danielle Martinez, a key contributor to the program for the past three years, is poised for a standout season. Her exceptional hitting ability and high volleyball IQ make her a valuable asset as one of the team’s outside hitters.

Kennedy Watson, regarded as one of the area’s top setters, will play a pivotal role in orchestrating the team’s offense.

Sikeston's Baylee Copeland and Heidi Self watch as assistant coach Savannah Kesselring hits the ball during a practice on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Dennis Marshall/Standard-Democrat)

Baylee Copeland, known for her positive attitude and team spirit, will also serve as a setter.

“We have a couple of great setters this year,” Jannin said. “They do a great job communicating with our hitters and adjusting sets to their liking.”

A swift and adept passer, Heidi Self will showcase her leadership skills as the team’s libero.

Sikeston's Kennedy Watson sets up a teammate during a practice on Monday, August 21, 2023. (Dennis Marshall/Standard-Democrat)

Hailee Barber, who joined the team last year, has shown excellent growth both as a player and an individual, solidifying her position as an outside hitter.

Brionna Williams, one of the team’s middle blockers, exhibits great blocking abilities and has been diligently working on diversifying her attacking repertoire.

Together, these seniors bring a wealth of skills, experience and leadership to the Lady Bulldogs.

With the guidance of these seasoned leaders, the team’s younger members are ready to unleash their remarkable athleticism and demonstrate their capabilities.

Junior Bailey Null has shown immense improvement as a dedicated defender, making significant strides since last season.

Junior Katie Rose Ressel brings versatility to the team as an exceptional all-around player, contributing in swinging, blocking and defense.

Sophomore Rudy Osborn seamlessly joined the team as a new addition, excelling as a talented middle blocker abilities.

Sophomore Ava Martinez, sister of Danielle Martinez, brings her extensive volleyball experience as a defender, with the potential to secure a spot on the varsity squad through her continuous improvement.

Freshman Aubreigh Landers displays a strong attacking game and will contribute to the varsity team as a right-side player, ensuring success in both the present and the future.

In an effort to enhance their offensive strategies, the team is set to introduce innovative tactics, adding a fresh dimension to their game.

“Our biggest strength is our willingness to try new tactics and want to improve,” Jannin said. “We have focused on improving our attack this year. We are trying different approaches to certain opponents, and trying to add to our arsenal of attacks.”

The Lady Bulldogs will aim to keep their opponents on their toes by utilizing a mix of attacking techniques. This includes hitting the ball cross-court, down the line and employing purposeful tips. By varying their attacks, the team looks to create scoring opportunities and maintain an element of surprise.

“We are a well-rounded team,” Jannin concluded. “We’re equally skilled in all aspects of the game, and although we may encounter challenges with serving or serve receive on certain days, we address our shortcomings through open discussion, focused effort and swift resolution. Our team has a diverse mix of leaders who contribute in various ways — some lead by example, others are more vocal and some through their play on the court.”

Sikeston hosts Bernie on Tuesday, August 29 to open the regular season.

Full 2023 Schedule

8/29Bernie6:30 p.m.
8/30Cape Central6:30 p.m.
9/5at Notre Dame7 p.m.
9/7at Saxony Lutheran6:30 p.m.
9/8-9/9Dig for Life TournamentTBD
9/11Campbell6 p.m.
9/12Ellington6:30 p.m.
9/14Poplar Bluff6:30 p.m.
9/18Bloomfield7:15 p.m.
9/19at Jackson6 p.m.
9/20Dexter7:15 p.m.
9/21at Scott City6:30 p.m.
9/25at Portageville6:15 p.m.
9/26at Puxico7:30 p.m.
9/27-9/28SEMO Conference TournamentTBD
10/4at Oran6:30 p.m.
10/5at Malden6:30 p.m.
10/10Kennett6 p.m.
10/12NMCC6 p.m.
10/19-10/24District TournamentTBD
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