Lady Patriots get set to open 2023 season

Published 8:35 am Thursday, August 3, 2023

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The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots will open the 2023 volleyball season on Aug. 24 against one of the top programs in the state in the GW Long Lady Rebels.

PLAS is entering year two as a part of the AHSAA, after having won an area championship in 2022, and will be starting the year off against a Long program that has earned four Final Four appearances in the last five years, including a State Championship in 2020. Last season, the Lady Rebels made to the Final Four again.

“The girls are very excited about it,” PLAS Coach Lara Lea Jones said. “I can honestly tell you I don’t know anything about them except for that I’ve heard they’re a great program. I’m excited to see how we do against them. Since the majority of our games are area games, I’m excited to play outside that realm and see how it is and you might as well start strong and see what you have.”

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The match will be the first contest between the two programs and will also kickoff the 2023 season for both schools. Jones hopes that the stiff early competition can help her squad set the tone for the season.

“I just want them to show up and be ready to go,” she flatly said. “They know how to show up and do what they’re supposed to do and I want them to come out and be strong. They need to show that you don’t mess with us.

“We’re here, just because we came from the AISA, you shouldn’t second guess us. They’ve worked hard to get to where we are as a program and I want the girls to come out and be a team and be one and set the standards for everything they’ve built.”

While PLAS has some returning starters, like Addie Renfroe and Emma Baker, there will be plenty of new faces in the lineup after the loss of a number of seniors from last year’s team.

“They all fall into their roles really, really well,” Jones said. “I have a handful of players that worked really hard in the offseason that I think will come out and surprise us once we get into play. Really, I think all of them will surprise me at some point.”

The Lady Patriots and Lady Rebels open the season on Aug. 24 at with middle school, junior varsity and varsity action starting at 4 p.m. in the PLAS Gym in Troy.