DECATUR — Since adding volleyball to Decatur’s athletics roster in 2015, Lady Bulldog teams have grown in leaps and bounds into a formidable program.
This year, interest in volleyball is expected to grow so much that the number of open spots will be regulated for the first time in the program’s history, thanks in large part to coach Cali Lankford, who has been in charge for four years. .
Practice began for the 2022 volleyball season on June 6, with the college team taking to the court at their home in the Decatur Middle School gymnasium. In all, 25 girls in grades seven through nine showed up for the first day of practice.
But Lankford, who is working on a master’s degree in sports administration, was absent on the first day, bringing in a new assistant coach, sporting director Jacque Smith. She put young junior high players through a series of simple drills designed to teach ball handling and teamwork. After the 90 minutes of practice was over, it was time for the varsity team to hit the field.
Nine girls showed up at the college gym for their first 90-minute practice of the preseason.
By the end of the first week of the preseason work session, the girls became more comfortable with their hits, serves and knowledge of the game.
But for some volleyball players like Lindy Lee, Anette Hernandez, Jackie Mendoza and Jazmine Herrera, the volleyball season never really ended. Throughout the school year, whenever there was a break in the eight-hour athletics period or any period, for that matter, the girls would gather in a circle and pass the volleyball to each other. -ball. Even junior high players like Daisy Fuentes, Leslie Hernandez and Shylee Morales entered the practice ring.
On the last day of the 2021-22 school year, college and university volleyball players played one last game with some members of the football team. There was no clear winner but some football players like Poli Xiong, Robert Thang and Kenneth Barrios showed real aptitude for volleyball as the match showcased their real talent. Unfortunately, the Arkansas Activities Association does not have a sanctioned men’s volleyball league.
The two volleyball teams will practice Monday through Thursday for the next two weeks, then take a two-week break around the Independence Day holiday. The teams will be back in mid-July when they travel to Mulberry for a week-long volleyball summer camp.
Next, Decatur College and University teams will move to their new home in a newly renovated Peterson Gym on August 22 for a benefit game with the Gentry Lady Pioneers and another benefit game with Fayetteville New School on August 23. . The varsity and junior A and B teams will participate in these season openers.
It is hoped that the Peterson Gymnasium renovation project will be completed by mid-August. This will allow the volleyball team to move into their new home and get acquainted with the new environment ahead of games on August 22 and 23.
For more information on the upcoming volleyball schedule, visit the school’s website at decatursd.com.