May 22, 2008
After winning the Southland Conference regular season last fall, the Lamar University volleyball team was riding high into their spring season where the remaining players from their championship squad prepared themselves for another run towards the title.
The Lady Cardinals entered the spring with high hopes of playing four tournaments and solidifying their already strong core of players who will return to the court next year. A handful of minor injuries and mishaps forced their original plan of playing in four tournaments to take a detour, but head coach Justin Gibert liked what he saw from his team at their one tournament and in practice.
"We worked really hard and I'm very pleased with the individual performances I saw from my team," he said. "We weren't able to play in as many tournaments as I would have liked, but we were able to get some very important work done to help us next season."
One of the key areas the Lady Cardinals will be looking to fill next year is the hole left by the departure of Southland Conference Player of the Year Molli Abel. Lamar will be looking for an offensive boost next season and two players in particular showed signs of filling that role as Shalayne Blythe and Megan Adams stepped up during the spring.
"Shalayne played really well," Gibert said. "Her jumping and hitting are really coming around and she played at a very high level. Megan also had a really good spring. She can be such a powerful player and she showed that. Those two were playing at an all conference level and if they carry that over into next fall, they're going to be a force."
In addition to the individual play of the Lady Cards on the court, their work in the weight room with strength and condition coach Tyler Briggs has helped them to another level.
"Physically they are in great shape," Gibert said. "Tyler has done a great job with the team in the weight room and getting them into shape. When the spring season ended the team was in the best shape they have been in since I took over this program. If we come back in the fall in good condition, I think we will have a good chance to make another run at the conference title."