Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Youth will be the theme for the 2016 Peebles Lady Indians volleyball squad as head coach Katrina Obenshain will field a team that has just three seniors, but is loaded with nine freshmen and sophomores.
“We are a very young team,” says Obenshain. “We can be successful if we learn to let the little mistakes go and get ready to score the next point. We need to teach the young girls that.”
Gone from last year’s team is Kendall Kelley, who filled a number of roles for the Lady Indians, on and off the court. “Not only was Kendall our setter but she was also the team leader who always kept everyone’s spirits up in tough situations.”
This year’s squad will bring a trio of seniors to the court in Brittany Lloyd, Sara McFarland, and Jessica Johnson, each of who will be asked by Coach Obenshain to fill a vital leadership role for all of the underclassmen. Also returning is setter Baylee Justice, who also possesses one of the top serves in the area.The Peebles head coach also sees what she feels is her team’s biggest strength.
“Our biggest strength is that we can overcome a lot of things, such as injuries when we have girls playing two sports at once,” says Obenshain. “Our girls are always ready to step up and play in positions that they are not normally used to playing.”
Coach Obenshain also sees the Southern Hills Athletic Conference as a fairly evenly-matched league with anyone capable of winning on any given night.
“I really think this year that all the SHAC teams have talent and each match could be very interesting to see who comes out on top. This year with everyone being so equal, the league could go to anyone. Who wins will depend on who pushes more during the matches.”
Obenshain will have a talented group of freshmen, who given time will grow into solid volleyball players as they are all very athletic and most star in multiple sports. The freshmen group includes: Tatum Arey, Christian Reed, Harlee Wilkinson, Madison Beekman, Hope Brown, and Carlee Cluxton. Representing the sophomore class for the Lady Indians will be Madison Pierce, Kylie Sims, and Johna Dunigan, and the juniors will be Justice and Josie Myers.
The Lady Indians opened their season on Aug. 23 with a trip to Paint Valley and will return home on Aug. 24 to host Lucasville Valley. Make it three nights in a row as Peebles hosts Western Latham on Thursday, Aug. 25. Conference play begins for the Lady Indians on Aug. 30 when they play host to a solid squad of Eastern Brown Lady Warriors.