Lady Panthers expect to defend loop crown

Nucleus of four strong returnees gives MHS a bright outlook this fall

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Midlothian's Kenna Buchanan returns a serve during a district road match at Joshua late last season. The Lady Panthers kept a few of their top performers from 2020 and a new season begins with high hopes.

The 2020 volleyball season will be a tough act to follow — a district championship, a No. 4 statewide ranking and an advance to the Class 5A Region II semifinals — but the Midlothian Lady Panthers still have a lot of pieces in place.

The Lady Panthers did lose Ellis County High School Sports Awards volleyball player of the year finalist and Dallas Baptist signee Aryn Walton to graduation. But returning seniors Killian Armstrong and Kennedy King and juniors Kenna Buchanan and Jenna McMichael give MHS a very strong nucleus to build around.

Coming off a stellar 21-4 campaign that took eight-time state champion Lucas Lovejoy to end, head coach Shain Sackett’s Lady Panthers were scheduled to open the new volleyball season on Monday evening at Duncanville and on Tuesday evening at Keller Timber Creek.

Buchanan returns after recording 339 kills on the year as a sophomore. She also had 24 aces, 20 blocks and 320 digs. McMichael, a libero, was second to Walton on the team with 36 aces and finished with a team-best 509 digs.

Armstrong had 109 kills and 65 total blocks last fall, and King added 103 kills, 59 blocks and 24 service aces.

Other returnees for the Lady Panthers are senior Uryah Guevara and juniors Lauren Safrit and Chloe Hallmark. New to the roster are senior Alexis Bogy and juniors Taylor Key and Karli Rector.

Following their first two matches, MHS will take on Frisco Heritage, Timber Creek and El Paso Franklin in tournament play. That was something the team missed last year, as the University Interscholastic League banned tournaments as a precaution against COVID-19.

The Lady Panthers are also entered in a tournament Aug. 19-21 and will travel to Forney Aug. 17 and to Mansfield Lake Ridge Aug, 24. District play begins Friday, Sept. 10 at Ennis.