Van Buren volleyball ready for normalcy after 2020 COVID-19 season

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

Van Buren volleyball coach Brent Reeves is ready for things to get back to normal.

"We had a really good offseason and the girls worked hard during the spring," Reeves said. "All of our practices have been good and we had an intense intrasquad match at the end of May, so it showed that they've been working hard and are ready to get back to playing."

The Lady Pointer volleyball team also did a book study of "The Champion's Mind" by Jim Afremow and Reeves said it led to some good conversations about expectations for the team and for the individual players.

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Reeves said he has a "good group of players" returning including Kadyn Irwin, Bryslin Oden, Madelyn Mills, and Brianna Ball which finished fifth in the 5A West last season and finished 5-12 overall.

"Last year had a bit of a shadow to it with COVID, and we're very thankful for the leadership at the state and local level for putting the guidelines in place to let us go forward," Reeves said. "Our administrators did a fantastic job. We got to finish our season and the kids got to finish school."

Van Buren recently wrapped up its youth volleyball camp and currently has open gym to do some skill work until dead week begins on June 21. The team comes back to resume full summer and pre-season workouts on July 5. Reeves added that last year's restrictions hindered the process for the team to bond and gel as a unit.

"Volleyball is a lot of communication at an instinct level and we just didn't get the opportunity to work on that last season," Reeves said. "We're looking forward to getting to do some team camps this summer and have that opportunity to bond as a team."

Team camps this summer include stints at Branson (Mo.), Fort Smith Southside, and Prairie Grove.

Reeves begins his sixth season and the school district has added new coaches to the volleyball program at the middle school level including Erin Perryman (Butterfield Trail) and Samantha Stipins (Northridge Middle School). Stipins had played for Reeves at Mansfield, and the Lady Tigers won the Class 3A state title in 2014.