The Shelby Nesbit era begins at Pratt High School this year as a new head coach takes over the reins of the Lady Greenback volleyball program.
Nesbit is not new to Pratt, of course, as she had been serving as Dean Rausch’s assistant the past couple of seasons. Prior to that, Nesbit coached for two years at Halstead while she finished her degree at WSU. This will be her first head coaching position.
She will be assisted this year by Erica Stevens and Heather Adigun.
“We are excited about the upcoming season,” Nesbit expressed. “Right now, we have about 40 girls working out. I expect we’ll have about 35, 36 once the season starts.”
Nesbit will have a strong nucleus returning to work with. Only three seniors graduated last year, Whitney Tilley, Hayden Pixler and all-CKL performer Andi Gripe.
All-league senior Jenson Maydew returns at middle hitter and is expected to have another outstanding season.
Setter Jaci Kolm returns as well. Other returning offensive threats include outside hitters Stonie Flemming and Amy Olson.
The starting libero is likely to be either Lauren Rambat or Bailey Gillig. “They’re both really close in practice right now,” Nesbit observed. The libero is a key position in volleyball, as she controls the passing game.
Paige Bailey and Destani Garten are expected to figure prominently in the rotation, and Christina Fernandez might become a serving specialist, according to Nesbit.
Last year’s squad finished 3rd in the tough CKL with a 28-11 record, and just fell agonizingly short of a trip to state. Nesbit plans to continue the tradition of excellence Lady Green has established in recent years, and hopes to take it to the next level.
“Our main goal is to work hard and get better every day,” Nesbit said. “But that being said, we are shooting for a league championship and a trip to state this year.”
“The girls will be getting used to a new style of coaching,” she continued, “but we aren’t changing very much about the program, just tweaking some of the things that Coach Rausch used to do.”
The Central Kansas league is no pushover, of course. Hillsboro is coming off a state championship. Hesston is always tough and Halstead is improving. In addition, the CKL welcomes new members Larned and Hoisington this year. Hoisington especially has a strong volleyball tradition.
“In the CKL, you have to show up to play every night,” Nesbit analyzed. “There are no gimmes.”
Schematically, the Lady Greenbacks are looking speed up their offense to compensate for their lack of height. “We’re doing some things in practice now to improve our quickness,” Nesbit explained. Defensively, there won’t be many changes, just some tweaking.
Page 2 of 2 - The Lady Greenbacks will show their stuff at the Soap Bowl Friday August 30. That will be a final tune-up in preparation for the opening of the season at the Hillsboro tournament on Saturday August 31.
Greenback fans can anticipate a competitive season out of Lady Green, and if things fall into place as new coach Shelby Nesbit expects, it could be a very special one indeed.