While their classmates enjoy the last few weeks of summer, the two-time defending state champion Lady Eagle Volleyball team came off of their required dead period and went right to work.
They recently made the long bus ride to Missouri State University for a team camp, facing the best talent in the region. Over four days, they would face schools from Kansas City and Saint Louis, along with many Arkansas perennial contenders.
The 18 games over four days was a distinct challenge for a team with three key returning players rehabilitating from previous knee injuries. They would need new faces to step in to the rotation and handle the expectations that come with playing for the Lady Eagles.
Coach K Wesley Davis has proven he can develop talent and keep momentum after losing All State players, and already new faces are taking on key roles. Eliciah Kury, Joni Inman, and Paiton Forbis all made significant contributions to the varsity squad. With Ryleigh Hardwicke, Riley Owen, and Kylie Morris all working their way back from injuries, returning front line anchor Brynn Simmons posted a solid week as the rotations and chemistry were developing.
Paris, one of the smallest schools among roughly 30 to make the team camp, found themselves in a battle each match, something they generally do not face until the State Tournament. Davis commended the team on playing close in every match, but also facing the frustration that comes with developing a new rotation in a camp after players have had mandated time off.
Paris would look invincible at times, going on long scoring runs, but also allowed opponents to make significant runs. It is a good challenge, with mentally and physically for a team accustomed to success. In the end, both the varsity and junior varsity squad made the silver bracket of their respective divisions, with both losing in the finals, the runner up in their bracket. The varsity team lost to Benton, and Arkansas 6A powerhouse full of talent in their final, showing the player development desired heading into camp.
Paris Lady Eagles Volleyball is no longer a secret. They head into the season with high expectations, and with continued development and players becoming healthier and stronger, expect another strong title run. They will open their season Aug. 21 at Russellville and return home the following day to host Siloam Springs.