Trio of seniors returns to the court
BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – The Bountiful Braves volleyball team will have a lot of familiar faces this year.
Although it will be a young team, according to coach Lane Herrick, it is still expected to perform at a high level.
“We’re still kind of young,” he said. “But we’re not going to use that as an excuse to not perform well.”
Only a trio of seniors is expected to see varsity time on the floor, and the Braves’ centerpiece is one of them:
Leilani Purcell, the team’s setter, returns for her senior season and is “a good leader for our program,” said Herrick.
Brighton Taylor and Katie Allen also will appear for the Braves. However, they will have part time roles on the team.
Taylor is expected to play as a right side hitter, and Allen brings “a good amount of experience” to the team dynamic, said Herrick.
A trio of familiar juniors is also back for Bountiful, led by libero (defensive specialist) Sidney Brandon.
“She’s probably the best defensive specialist in all of Utah,” said Herrick. “She’s going to be awesome this season.”
Playing the middle back position is Larel Bennion, who is expected to do some things at the net, Herrick said.
Alli Packard, a name familiar to all followers of Bountiful volleyball, rounds out the junior presence. She, along with sophomores Kennedy Redding and McCall Asay, will be key for one reason:
“They’re tall,” said Herrick. “Redding is 6’4” and Asay is 6’2”. With Packard back, they’re going to be a pretty big presence on the floor.”
Sophomore Brittany Rathman will return as another setter for the Braves and is also expected to be a solid player.
Bountiful’s biggest test will be the addition of two teams to Region 6. Judge Memorial, which plays in the 3A North Division in football, will jump to 4A’s Region 6 for all other sports.
Kearns, a former 5A team, moves down from Region 2 to Region 6, making for an eight-team league.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit better for us,” said Herrick. “I don’t know a whole lot about Kearns, but Judge is a solid addition to this region and will make the competition harder.”
The key to the Braves’ success this season will be team unity. Herrick said many of the players had great summers by attending camps and playing together in summer tournaments, and it will hopefully translate to a good season for the school.
“There might come a time where someone is going to have to make sacrifices,” he said. “But if they can all work together, play as a team and get on the same page, I think we’re going to do some good things.”
Bountiful finished 16-12 in 2012 and was 8-2 in Region 6. It lost both opening matches at the state playoffs.
Lady Braves 2013 schedule
8-30, 31 @ Northridge Tournament
9-10 @ Highland
9-12 Judge Memorial
9-24 @ Woods Cross
10-1 @ Clearfield
10-8 @ Judge Memorial
10-11, 12 @ Utah Classic
10-15 @ Kearns
10-22 @ Cyprus
10-24 WOODS CROSS
10-29 @ East
11-8, 9 State 4A Tournament @ UVU