By Chris Parker
Buffalo volleyball will be a young team this year with just three returning players from last year’s nine-win team. The Lady Bison will feature no seniors on the roster.
That returning group includes: Elizabeth Western (junior setter/outside hitter), Kayli Wentz (junior middle) and Amaiya Jackson (sophomore setter).
Western earned second-team all-conference honors as a sophomore thanks to leading Buffalo in assists with 224 and kills with 98.
“Elizabeth has two years of varsity experience under her belt,” Buffalo head coach Jamie Dryer said. “She is a very talented setter and has a great understanding of the game. Last year, she led our team in kills as an outside. I expect her to make a big impact for us offensively again this year.”
Wentz put down 65 kills with a team-high seven blocks in her sophomore season.
“Kayli is a very consistent player for us,” Dryer said. “She works hard and was a big addition to our varsity team last year. I look forward to seeing her step into more of a leadership role this season.”
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Jackson was second on the team in assists as a freshman with 106. She also had 21 aces serving the ball.
“Amaiya will be returning to our team as a setter,” Dryer said. “She had a lot of growth last season and has made some significant growth as a front row player during the off-season.”
Kadynce Wilson (sophomore libero), Leah White (freshman middle), Kaylin Carter (junior right side) and Jaley Wendlendt (defensive specialist) are newcomers to watch.
This group has worked well together throughout the summer. They will look to build confidence together this season.
“We have a great group of girls that work hard and that play well together. They are very supportive of each other,” Dryer said. “We are a young team with very little collective varsity experience, which is very promising for next year, but we will need a few of our returning varsity players to step up and fill leadership roles.”
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Buffalo will travel to Hillcrest for a jamboree on Aug. 23 to face the host Hornets and Bolivar. The Lady Bison open the regular season on Aug. 29 at Sherwood.
“I expect to see a lot of growth this season,” Dryer said. “We do not have any seniors and will be able to return our entire team next year as well. We should be very competitive within our conference this year.”