Siloam Springs Volleyball Striving for Another State Title
Winning a state title in high school volleyball from 2004 to 2009 meant going through the Lady Panthers of Siloam Springs. Even in a new classification, the girls are looking to get back to their dynasty ways.
“Just about hard work paying off,” said senior setter Ashley Avery. “Everyone knows we need to put in the hours in order to get where we want to be and we are just trying to keep that mindset of state.”
That mindset was started by head coach Rose Cheek pictured in the center, who has been coaching for 32 years and won seven titles. This year, however, she has been successfully battling colon cancer while interim coach Joellen Wright has taken over the team. With seven seniors and almost all of their returning starters from last year, they know what it takes.
“We work hard, long practices, put in a lot of time, film” said senior setter Ashlin Stock. “Anything we can to just learn about our opponent and what we need to do.”
“They are determined to play to win and not to keep from losing,” said interim coach Joellen Wright. “That’s one of our mottos, we are going to be aggressive and go out and get it. They are focused and they have confidence in their abilities this year.”
Having a coach who was once a player for four of those championship years certainly helps.
“That’s where I have been,” said assistant coach Jessie Wade. “Trying to make sure to help them understand that winning is obtainable and you just have to work for it and want it and strive for it.”
With victories over Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Har-Ber, their ultimate goal seems just a little bit easier.
“Competing in the 7A definitely helps the confidence level” said Stock. “Because then you go back down to 6A to play in the state playoffs.”
“It almost gives me a sense of ease going into the state playoffs.” said Avery.