Lady Raiders retooling for a district title defense

Rider volleyball leaning on new players in 2019

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The month of July is wrapping up which means the fall sports seasons are about to get going.

One of those sports is volleyball and the Rider Lady Raiders are on a district title defense, but they will be doing it with a new-look LRV team.

“We have seven returners from last year’s team but we have a whole different dynamic,” Rider head coach Alysha Humpert said.

“We are such a different team this year," Rider senior libero/DS Saige Ward said. "I think it will be good but it will be hard to switch the mindset of it will be different, but we can make it our own.”

Rider graduated six seniors from last years district title-winning team, but their leadership before they left has set the Lady Raiders up for success.

“I learned a lot of the discipline I needed to learn," Rider sophomore outside hitter Maeghan Lacy said. "I learned to be more of a good teammate, especially through them and they taught me how to step up.”

One of the assets they do have returning is 2018 district Newcomer of the Year Maeghan Lacy, who earned a big role for Rider in her freshman season.

Lacy will replace Meredith Fisher as one of the go-to outside hitters for the Lady Raiders this season and coach Humpert sees Lacy continuing to improve both on and off the court.

“Every year she is probably going to break out of that shell even more," coach Humpert said. "I think what is most amazing about Maeghan is she is so humble and if she gets an awesome kill, she is going to turn to that passer or setter and give them love.”

Because Rider graduated six players, all of whom were leaders in one way or another, the Lady Raiders will need new girls to step into those roles and they are relying on their returners to do so.

“We have different personalities, I’m more reserved so I can be more of the one to not speak up but do through actions," senior Ward said. "But my friends are more vocal about it and they can be the more dominant leadership.”

“Especially with my classmates and the younger classmates," sophomore Lacy said. "Like the girls, the seniors that just left, like they did for me, I’m going to try to do for them.”

Practices for all high school volleyball teams start Aug. 1.

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