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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Loyd leads Eagle volleyball to continued improvement

  • Canton-Galva made vast strides in head coach Jenny Loyd’s second year with the Eagle program, jumping from a 5-26 record in 2012 to 13-19 last year.
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  • Canton-Galva made vast strides in head coach Jenny Loyd’s second year with the Eagle program, jumping from a 5-26 record in 2012 to 13-19 last year.
    A large part of that success was attributed to a strong senior class that included All-Heart of America Second-Team members Erika Smith and Jennifer Likes. All total, the Eagles lost five strong players from their starting lines.
    That doesn’t mean the cupboards are bare for Loyd coming into 2014, however.
    “We lost a strong senior class of seniors, but are returning a core of very solid players,” Loyd said, “as well as gaining some impressive young talent.”
    Those coming back for Canton-Galva include senior Caley Johnson, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, and juniors Cassidy Enns, Zoe Unruh and Sierah Pennington. Enns has the size for the Eagles, standing 6-1 at middle blocker.
    A strong sophomore class will also be expected to contribute. They include middle blocker Emily Ballantyne, setter Kelli Nightingale, OP Brittany Pennington and defensive specialists Autumn Colgan and Lexi Howard.
    While they are young, these Eagles are excited to see what they can accomplish.
    “This summer, we played some good, off-season volleyball,” Loyd said, “working to strengthen both our physical skills and our mental toughness. As a team, we are very excited about the upcoming season and enthusiastic about raising our level of play.”
    Of course, that’s easier said than done in an always competitive Heart of America League. Knowing what lies before them seems to inspire Canton-Galva more than anything.
    “Knowing that the HOA is filled with larger schools and stiff competition, this group of girls is determined to work extremely hard and battle for every point,” Loyd said. “We know mental toughness begins in the head before we can even step out on the court, and this team is passionate about being competitive and continually striving for a never-die attitude.”
    The Eagles open their season Tuesday at Inman in a triangular that also includes Centre. Their first home match is Sept. 16.
    Contact Chris Swick by email at cswick@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.

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