Area residents can get their first look at the Missouri State University-West Plains 2008 Lady Grizzly volleyball team in action at 2 p.m. Aug. 16 during the annual Lady Grizzly Alumni volleyball match at the West Plains Civic Center.
The contest will be free and will pit the 2008 Lady Grizzlies against several players from previous squads.
"This is always a great event for us and our fans," Head Coach Trish Kissiar-Knight said, "But this year, our 2008 squad may be in trouble because we will have some of our best alumni ever coming back."
Among them are Annesia Crawford Penright (1999), Tuamafa Reilly (1999-2000), Donika "Ne Ne" Sutton (1999-2000), Renae Goller Smith (1995-97), Lynn Sandfort Crites (1995-96), Quanna Speake Haeffer (1996-97), Sara Kincaid (1999-2000), Erika Derra (1993), Holly Morgan Smith (1998-99), Kacie Callison (2002-03), Roselidah Obunaga (2002-03) and Luiza Jarocka (2005-06).
Knight said additional alumni also may show up for the event.
"I'm really excited. This will be the best alumni team that we have ever had come back to play," Knight said.
The alumni, however, will be facing a tough test of their own in this year's Lady Grizzly squad. The 13-member group has been described by Knight as one of the best and most balanced groups of players in Lady Grizzly history.
They include returning sophomore Sasha Bondje, a 5-11 right side attacker from Dumfries, Va.; redshirt freshman Victoria Castleman, a 5-10 outside attacker from Houston, Mo.; and freshmen Patricia Figueiredo, a 5-9 setter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Sabina Papala, a 6-3 middle attacker from Laziska Gorne, Poland; Katja Stepanova, a 6-2 outside attacker from Riga, Latvia; Lauren Guison, a 5-9 right side/outside attacker from Rogersville, Mo.; Lindsey Hale, a 6-0 middle attacker from Camdenton, Mo.; Danielle Parker, a 5-11 middle/outside attacker from Lockwood, Mo.; Perla Quintana, a 5-5 libero/defensive specialist from Rogers, Ark.; Abbey Roam, a 6-0 setter/right side attacker from Lebanon, Mo.; Briana Walsh, a 5-10 outside attacker from Clever, Mo.; Hanah Rasmussen, a 5-9 libero/outside attacker from Omaha, Neb., and Nile Whaley-Garrison, a 6-0 middle attacker from Maple Heights, Ohio.
This group gives Knight plenty of hope for 2008.
"We've got a great mix of talent on this team and a talented freshman class that I'd put up against anyone. It will be really interesting to see how they compare to some of our program's best and brightest players," Knight said.