Walnut looks to build on district championship from a season ago as they get set for third year as a program

The Lady Wildcats of Walnut claimed a district title in the program’s second volleyball season in 2019, pulling off a win on their home court over the perennial local power Hickory Flat to claim the title.

The Lady ‘Cats want to build on that success, but head coach Kelley Hopper knows her team must continue to improve and start this year with a blank slate in order to do that.

“To us each season stands alone,” Hopper said of her approach to the 2020 season. “But I believe our girls want to keep improving both as a team and as individuals in this sport and that they are doing what they can to make that happen. As long as they continue to focus on improving this season should be fun.”

A fun season, of course, is coach speak for a winning season. And Walnut has the pieces in place to produce wins this year.

Senior standout Claire Leak, a first team member of the All County Volleyball team a season ago, returns and will be looked to as a leader for the team. Look for returning contributors Sarah Martindale and Larissa Pitney to take on leadership roles as well.

While Coach Hopper expects several different players to show improvement, “I expect everyone to have a breakout year,” she said of her expectations for this years squad, there are hopes that Elyse Story and Madison Porterfield really contribute to the teams success this year.

Belle Martindale and Laura Leigh Hughes return to the court as key contributors from a season ago, and Coach Hopper feels as though she will have the ability to use several substitutions this season.

Walnut opens up their season with a pair of tough tests opening the season against Belmont, the Lady Wildcats playoff opponent from a season ago, on August 24th and then travelling to 4A Ripley on the 25th.

See the complete schedule, which is subject to change due to MHSAA and Statewide health guidelines, below.

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