August 21, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College volleyball team kicks off the 2014 season this evening with two matches at a tournament in Kankakee.

The Volunteers open with a 5 p.m. match against McHenry College and then meet up with the host, Kankakee, at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, the Vols play three additional matches. They take on Great Rvers Athletic Conference rival, Kaskaskia, at 9 a.m.; Joliet at 11; and Malcolm X at 3.

Logan hopes to improve upon last year’s respectable 20-14 overall finish, which included a second-place league record of 6-2.

Sixth-year head coach Bill Burnside welcomes back six returning sophomores and two additional sophomore transfers, to go along with six incoming freshman recruits.

“I think we definitely have the potential to be pretty good, but everything’s a learning process right now,” said sixth-year Vols head coach Bill Burnside. “Despite the fact we have eight sophomores on the roster, very few played together last year. The sooner they learn the system, the sooner things should come together for us.”

Back in the fold for Logan are: Audrey Vaughn (outside hitter) and Jessica Stanton (middle hitter) of Murphysboro; Erin Dodd (defensive specialist) of Marion; Lauren Person (rightside hitter) from St. Louis; Megan Martin (setter) from Mt. Vernon, Ind.; and Catherine Price (outside hitter) from Winona, Mo.

Those sophs who transferred to Logan are former Benton High standout, Morgan Corn (middle hitter), and Murphysboro product, Marissa Lies (defensive specialist). Corn played at Lincoln Land College last year. Lies played at Blackhawk East College.

Freshmen on the squad feature: Chynna Byars (rightside hitter) from Geff; Carly Callahan (outside hitter) from Carterville; Kierra Nolan (middle hitter) from Murphysboro; Lincoln Brasel (middle hitter) from Kinmundy; Shelby McGarvey (outside hitter) from Grayville; and Christy Hayden (outside hitter) of Benton.

“I think this tournament will allow us to get our feet wet a little and see how we can function as a team,” Burnside said. “With the exception of Kaskaskia, these aren’t teams that we play all the time. I’m looking forward to the competition.”

The first home match for the Vols is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against Lincoln Trail. Other league teams include: Southwestern Illinois, Rend Lake, Lake Land and Kaskaskia.

Burnside said Lake Land with returning All-American front-row hitter, Cleuza Porto of Brazil, is the prohibitive favorite.

“You never know for sure, but I think so,” he said. “They had another strong recruiting class, which features several foreign players. They have to be the favorite right now.”