Harrisburg opened up the season Saturday at Carterville in the Southern Illinois River-To-River Conference Preview Tournament, where the Bulldogs went 3-2, posting wins over Herrin (25-15, 23-25, 15-11), Du Quoin (25-15, 25-23) and Murphysboro (27-25, 25-23), while the losses came to eventual winner of the tournament Nashville (19-25, 19-25) and Massac County (12-25, 13-25).
Harrisburg head coach knows this tournament features some of the best volleyball in southern Illinois and always makes for a long, tough day, but overall the fifth year head coach called Saturday a success.
"Although we have 4 seniors on the floor for the majority of the game those young ladies are all 5-foot-5 and under. What they lack in height is made up in spades with their quickness, jumping abilities, and overall athleticism. They are big time players wrapped in small packages. Not only can they play the game well, but they are extremely competitive and lead our younger kids with confidence, humility and grace.
"Coming into this season, I would anticipate that many would consider us "down" losing our two big middles last year (Bryleigh Buchanan & Matty Hawkins). I hope Saturday opened their eyes that Harrisburg volleyball is alive and well."
Cox added that as a whole, she felt her team served toughed, hustled and played solid defense.
"We have some line up tweaks and such to work out, but I am very pleased with where we are this early in the season. "
Senior Madeline Rider led Harrisburg in kills with 32 followed closely by senior Josie Drone with 28. Senior Devin Butler ran the floor with 63 assists and senior libero Mackenzie Marshall led the way defensively with 47 digs.
Rider and Drone also guarded the floor contributing 22 and 26 digs, respectively. Junior Victoria Thai rounded out the back row digging up 15 tough hit balls, while sophomore middles Carlea Fuerback and Autumn Rain Harrawood chipped in with a few kills and blocks of their own.
Sophomore Lauryn Gribble (weak side hitter) added in her own defense at the net with many touches and a couple blocks along with a couple kills.
Butler also represented the Lady Dogs on the All-Tournament team.