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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

FSHS volleyball coach sees improvement coming

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fort Scott High School senior Brittany Bingesser (25) sets up junior Sammi Therwhanger for a kill during the volleyball team's scrimmage at the FSHS gymnasium Friday afternoon. The Tigers will take the court Tuesday for their season-opening triangular at Chanute. -- Scott Nuzum/Tribune Photo
FORT SCOTT, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School's volleyball team put on a good show as it hosted an intrasquad scrimmage Friday night at the FSHS gymnasium.

The varsity took on the JV on the varsity court and prevailed by unofficial scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-13, then played a few extra points so they could get in more work. Meanwhile, a few other JV players scrimmaged the freshmen on the north court.

Right off the bat, senior Annie Gladbach announced she was ready for the season. The 5' 10" hitter belted the first point of the scrimmage hard. And it looks like she is a stronger player than last year.

"That very first point, we ran a '71 hit' to Annie and she just killed it," FSHS second-year head coach Carol Bingesser said.

The Tigers started off well last year, winning three of their first five matches, but couldn't sustain their success in a year when the players and the new coach were learning each other. Still, they went 10-25, winning four more matches than they had in the previous two seasons combined.

Bingesser says that with everyone used to the system this year, the Tigers will be trying to do more things on offense. Fans of the Tigers will see more back sets, quicker sets.

"We're trying to run different formations, so instead of just seeing hits out of the middle or just seeing hits right or left, we're going to try to do some quick sets and what we call 'shoot sets' and things like that," Bingesser said. "And we can do that because this year, we have the personnel and they worked hard over the summer."

Bingesser tried some different combinations during the scrimmage but for the most part, the varsity roster is set. She has a luxury in having seven seniors who all can contribute.

"I've got a pretty good idea of what I want to do," Bingesser said. "All seven seniors can play and I can go to the bench for whatever I need. But I haven't really made a final decision yet."

In addition to Gladbach, who will be a third-year starter, Kelli Davis, Alanna Masterson, Meghan Butler, Brittany Bingesser, Monica Dikeman and Shalby Nafzger are the seniors. Sammi Therwhanger and Courtney Carpenter are both juniors while Jenna Campbell is a sophomore and Mallory Shelton is a freshman.

Davis, Nafzger, Therwhanger and Shelton are hitters and/or blockers. Dikeman is the libero -- the defensive specialist who wears a different colored jersey because there are restrictions on what one can do on the court -- while Masterson and Carpenter are basically defensive specialists. Bingesser, the head coach's daughter, is the team's setter for the third season. Butler did not play last season after transferring from Pleasanton.

With the experience -- and, it appeared, the confidence -- the Tigers have, coach Bingesser thinks her team will be capable of playing a faster pace, keeping the pressure on their opponents.

"Our plan is to play a faster-paced game," Bingesser said. "Last year, everybody was getting used to my system. But they've established that now this year. For us to step it on up to that next level, we need to play at that faster pace.

"You'll see us do a lot of different things. Our passes will be a little bit shorter and a little bit quicker."

The only thing Bingesser sees that the Tigers need to work on is the mental part of the game.

"Right now, we're not mentally tough, I don't think," she said. "But I think as far as our season goes, we've got all the physical skills but the mental aspect could hurt us. That's what I'm working on with the girls right now is to make sure we're on our game at all times."

If you didn't get to look at the varsity team Friday night, it will be a long time before you get another chance unless you choose to take a road trip or two. The way the rotations worked out on the triangulars the Tigers are a part of each season, it's their turn to host only one of them. And that will be the very last triangular of the season on October 16.

As far as the Southeast Kansas League goes, Chanute is the defending champion and it's expected that the Blue Comets will be tough again. In fact, Chanute and Iola -- which is also usually a league contender -- will be the teams that the Tigers host in that final triangular. If the Tigers play as well as hoped, it could well be that the league championship will be on the line that night.

"Parsons only had six girls (at the camps) but they were great," Bingesser said. "So I think Parsons will be a team to watch. I don't know if they won very much but they were as tough as anyone I've seen."

Bingesser also expects Labette County to continue to be tough, even if they may be a little down, and thinks Parsons could be a surprise based on what she saw in summer camps. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be looking to take care of business when league play comes around.

"I'm hoping we can be in the top three," Bingesser said. "Our ultimate goal is to make it to state, of course. But we'd like to win the league. If it doesn't happen, that's fine. We're going to take one game at a time.

"Last year, our goal was to try to split every triangular so we would be 1-1 coming home. But this year, the goal is to try to win them all. Our expectations are pretty high."

Fort Scott's season begins Tuesday with a non-league triangular at Chanute's new high school gym. Pittsburg Colgan will be other team there. Play begins at 5 p.m.

NOTE -- Due to space constraints, the FSHS schedule could not be included. It will be is located here and we will work to have it published in Wednesday's edition....

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