By MIKE MONTFORT —
Coach Ronda Shirley’s Navarro Bulldogs host a two-day, six-team Labor Day Classic beginning Friday, Sept. 1 at the Wolens Special Events Center.
First-serve action Friday and Saturday starts at 9 a.m.
A total of six matches are scheduled Friday and four more wrap up play Saturday.
Region V teams from Frank Phillips, Western Texas, Odessa and Temple, plus NJCAA Division II entry Neosho County, Ks., join Navarro for the weekend invitational.
Navarro (4-3) plays twice Friday. The Bulldogs meet Frank Phillips’ Lady Plainsmen at 1 pm and welcome Western Texas’ Lady Westerners for a 7 pm match. At 1 pm Saturday, Navarro faces Odessa.
Here are thumbnail previews of all six teams entered in the weekend meet:
LABOR DAY VOLLEYBALL CLASSIC THUMBNAIL PREVIEWS
Navarro (4-3) — The Bulldogs have had an impressive start. NC’s three narrow losses came at the hands of No. 2 Panola and two rousing 5-game battles with Hill. Among NJCAA national statistical leaders, Navarro leads in assists (327) and digs (317), ranks fourth in kills (250) and total attacks (720), seventh in blocks (51). Barbosa leads nationally in kills (73) and freshman Hannah Barosh has added 52. Bermudez currently stands 5th in assists (99) and Montenegro sophomore Ivona Vojvodic has 71. Six sophomores (3 returners) and 12 freshmen all make contributions as the team develops depth.
Odessa (3-1) — New coach Kristi Gray’s Wranglers won 3 of 4 matches in the NMMI Classic, sweeping Garden City and Eastern Arizona after losing an extended five-game battle with No. 17 Seward County, Ks. Only 4 sophomores return from a 25-6 team. Serbian sophomore Bojana Bolozan and Brazilian freshman outside hitter Mariana Ferreira are players to watch.
Frank Phillips (3-3) — New coach Amanda Rister’s Lady Plainsmen evened their record with a win Tuesday at Cisco. Top hands among seven sophomores and four freshmen are Denise Elder (55 kills) and Mustang, Ok., libero Cristina Bosarge (84 digs). FPC ranks second in total attacks (764) and fifth in kills (244). In 2015, the Lady Plainsmen went 36-6 and competed at the NJCAA Tournament.
Western Texas (2-4) — Second-year coach Whitney Estes has 7 sophomores and 5 freshmen on her roster. The Westerners broke a two-match losing streak with a 3-0 win at Cisco Monday night. Freshman outside hitter Alexia Mancera ranks 11th in kills (59) ahead of teammate Madison Brown (47). Sophomore Mary Brown ranks fourth nationally in digs (100). Sophomore setter Sarah Campoli averages 7.85 assists. The Lady Westerners went 31-13 in 2015 before losing a five-set battle to Odessa for the Region V Championship. WTC competed in NJCAA Tournaments in 2011 and 2012,
Temple (0-5) — Temple native Jordan Pickett recently replaced Katrina English as the Lady Leopards’ coach. English was named head coach at Kentucky State University after a four-year stint at TC. Pickett led Temple with 410 kills during her sophomore season and helped the Lady Leopards reach the 2011 NJCAA Tournament. The former University of Arkansas-Fort Smith player now is working with a 10-member freshman squad.
Neosho County, Ks. (4-2) — An NJCAA Division II program, the Lady Panthers have six sophomores and 12 freshmen on hand for 2017. Hesston College defeated Neosho County 3-1 on Wednesday night. Statistically in D-II, Neosho County is fifth in kills (213) and eighth in total attacks (593). The program went 30-7 in 2013.
Click on links below to see the full tournament schedule and team rosters.