Volleyball Preview: Hershey Panthers

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Hershey, Neb.-- (KNOP) The 2017 Lady Panthers volleyball team is looking to reach the state playoffs for the first time since 2012 and will be returning the firepower to make that goal a reality.

Last season the Panthers finished the season 19-13 in an always competitive class C1 and will be returning a total of eight players off of that team making expectations high for players and coaches.

"Pretty high," head coach Amy Beyer said. " We've got a really tough sub-district with Ogallala in there and you know my challenge to them this morning when we started was what are those top teams doing every day and are we working as hard as they are you know and these kids are ready to go there."

"A lot of us are hungry to actually make it to the state tournament this year so that's really important getting us there with everybody on the same page wanting to be there and play there," junior setter Brittney Richardson said.

The Panthers will not get a chance to adjust to the season with tough tournaments right off the top of their schedule in Lexington, Elm Creek and Gothenburg.

But what will really help the girls this year will be the blend of veterans and underclassmen and the experience the group has shared over the summer in preparation for the 2017 campaign.

"I think team chemistry and I like it so far," coach Beyer said. "These kids, girls it's tough but these kids get along and they spend a lot of time together and they just kind of have that bond and that in 30 years of coaching I've learned you can have all the talent but if they don't have that you're going to struggle."

"We've played travel volleyball with each other since fifth-sixth grade and then we've played throughout junior high and now into high school," senior libero Sydney Wolken said. "So we've got really close and we just have gotten rid of the ones that we don't really fit with and we are meshing this year really well and we're excited."

The Panthers will open the season on the road in the Lexington invite on September second.

2017 Schedule:

09/02-09/02 (To Be Determined) Lexington Invitational (1-Day Tournament, >4 Teams) Lexington
09/05/17 @ Cozad C1 0-0
09/09-09/09 (To Be Determined) Elm Creek Volleyball Tournament (1-Day Tournament, >4 Teams) Elm Creek
09/15-09/16 (To Be Determined) Harvest Festival Volleyball Invitational (2/3-Day Tournament) Gothenburg
09/19/17 @ Kimball C2 0-0
09/21/17 Southwest C2 0-0
09/23 (To Be Determined) Hershey Volleyball Invitational (4-Team Round Robin) Hershey
09/26/17 @ Sutherland C2 0-0
09/28/17 Valentine C1 0-0
10/07/17 North Platte St. Patrick's C2 0-0
Triangular (host: Maxwell)
10/07/17 Maxwell C2 0-0 Triangular (host: Maxwell)
10/10/17 Perkins County C2 0-0 Triangular (host: Perkins County)
10/10/17 Dundy County-Stratton C2 0-0 Triangular (host: Perkins County)
10/14-10/14 (To Be Determined) SPVA Conference Tournament (1-Day Tournament, >4 Teams) Ogallala
10/17/17 @ Chase County C1 0-0
10/26/17 @ Broken Bow C1 0-0