Scots volleyball making music all its own

Kristen Sharp (6), Teri Lind (11) and Kayla Anderson lock in on the server.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Kristen Sharp (6), Teri Lind (11) and Kayla Anderson lock in on the server.

Reigning Great South Athletic Conference Player of the Year Kristin Findley gets set to receive serve.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Reigning Great South Athletic Conference Player of the Year Kristin Findley gets set to receive serve.

Senior libero Katherine Nadler lofts a serve as Kara Strickland looks over the opposition court.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Senior libero Katherine Nadler lofts a serve as Kara Strickland looks over the opposition court.

But it’s Reba!

The dates for this weekend’s matches at Emory University in Atlanta finally hit home for Kandis Schram earlier this week, and the Maryville College women’s volleyball coach is having some issues with the schedule maker.

The Scots (13-5) will face some of the nation’s top Division III teams during the tournament, a critical midseason test for a Maryville team with NCAA tournament aspirations a month from now. However, the match with the host and third-ranked Eagles on Saturday will fall late enough in the day to cost Schram a chance to see country music legend Reba McEntire in concert at the Foothills Fall Festival in downtown Maryville.

Schram, the same lifelong McEntire fan who put together the schedule, has tried in vain this week to get friend and Emory coach Jenny McDowell to reschedule the match for earlier Saturday. She thought, ever so fleetingly, of cancelling. Resigned to her fate on Tuesday, Schram turned her attention to the task ahead.

“This weekend is a good test for us because we play some really fast teams,” she said.

The Scots themselves have displayed exceeding speed in a new and versatile attack where seven frontcourt players have become major contributors this season. An often used formation of four hitters and two setters still has reigning Great South Athletic Conference Player of the Year Kristin Findley doing a great deal of the shelling. The senior from Maryville is well clear with a team-best 249 kills on the campaign, with senior and fellow outside hitter Kara Strickland finding the opposition court with 162 strikes.

It’s the enhanced contributions of five others — freshman Amanda Gunlikson (66 kills), sophomore Kristen Sharp (65), senior Kayla Anderson (64), senior Katherine Nadler (55) — that’s making the Scots a formidable opponent to defend this season, though.

In the one-setter system Maryville also at times deploys, the Scots often find themselves with only two hitters at the net instead of three when junior setter Teri Lind sideouts to the front row.

“When one of those hitters is Kris, they (the opposition) know exactly where you’re going,” Schram said.

Lind, who teams with freshman Lauren Bonee to pace Maryville’s offense with 316 and 287 sets, respectively, loves the new offense.

“It makes my job easier because if I can’t set it to Kris, somebody has her back,” Lind said. “We just have to keep challenging each other.”

As Reba would say, “Can’t Stop Now.”

The Scots are next at home on Wednesday, when they host Centre College at Cooper Athletic Center at 8 p.m.

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