Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Coal Valley News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


The 2020 Van High volleyball team is pictured.

VAN — Van High School’s volleyball team returns to the court with a new coach at the helm. Bonnie Chambers has stepped in to lead the team for the 2020 season.

Coach Chambers has taken on a young team, one that only has three seniors and two juniors on its roster. The rest of the squad is made up of eight sophomores and three freshmen.

“It’s like we’re starting new,” Chambers said.

Junior Jazmyn Gibson is expected to play a big part for the Lady Bulldogs, as well as seniors Madison Gibson, Cheyenne Rose and Emma Vickers. Junior Alyssa Sampson also returns. Chambers notes that freshman Erika Perry has potential and great skill in controlling the ball, and she sees sophomores Maycee Johner, Leah Kessinger, Emma Wilcox, and Rylea Gogas making strides.

“I’m happy with the team that we have,” she notes. “Even though it’s a young team, they’re all willing to learn, they’re fast, and they have good ball control.

The main goal for Van is to focus on winning games in the regular season, which Coach Chambers said she hopes will be able to be played out. With the pandemic keeping things constantly changing, it has made playing a goal in itself. The safety precautions have been helpful in calming nerves, and Chambers said she sees a team of student athletes who are at their best in terms of staying healthy while also playing the game they love.

Keeping volleyballs and other game materials sanitized, wearing masks during play and practice, carrying individual water bottles, and not switching benches between sets are some of the standards that have been set in order to combat spread of the coronavirus.

“Our No. 1 priority is to keep the kids safe, but to also let them have a normal season… and to let them feel like they are part of a team,” she said. “I expect them to win. They’re a good group of girls… I think it’s going to be an awesome season.”

Van begins its season at Sherman at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8. The first home game will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, against Poca.