The Lady Bears are returning to the court this fall season with a fresh look and a bright future. Spearheaded by alumni coaches Graysen Patten and Santana Emmons, Conway’s volleyball program is looking to build off the strong foundation left by former Coach Tammy Beckler and the class of 2022.
Conway went to the final four in 2021, the first time in the history of their volleyball program. Last year, they were taken out in the second round of districts.
“We had a great season in 2022,” said Head Coach Patten. “I played under Coach Beckler and appreciate the strong program she built. We’re looking at a whole new team this year. Coach Emmons and I are excited to develop our players into a hardworking and passionate team.”
With one returning starter in senior Lauren Wissbaum, the Lady Bears will be looking to the 2022 All-Conference Team member for leadership on the court as a middle-hitter
“Wissbaum’s athleticism, instincts, and length make her a force on the front line,” said Patten. “She’ll have a great senior season to close out a fantastic career as a Lady Bear.”
Willow Meyers joins Wissbaum as the only two seniors on the varsity squad.
“Meyers continues to improve every day, and will have a positive impact on the court for us,” added Patten.
Junior Mia Gandlovics has proven reliable on the back row and returns to the varsity squad looking to make her mark.
“Gandlovics brings a lot to the table,” said Patten. “I’m excited to continue developing her skills as we approach the season.”
Karli Miller and Brooke Pottiger return to the program as sophomores, this year making varsity.
“Miller and Pottiger are two seasoned sophomores who will undoubtedly help build this program for years to come,” remarked Patten. “I expect them to help maintain the level of play that Lady Bears volleyball has seen in recent years.”
Freshman Maddie Thompson looks to fill the shoes of her powerhouse sister as she enters the varsity side in her first year.
Adalee Letterman and Arianna Hughes also join the varsity squad as freshmen.
“We have strength in our underclassmen,” said Patten. “My expectations are high. I’m excited to see how my players step up.”
The Conway Lady Bears will open their season with an appearance in the Stockton Invitational Tournament on Aug. 26. The first home game will take place on Aug. 29, where the Lady Bears will take on the Mountain Grove Lady Panthers.
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