Lady Panther volleyball pick up multiple awards on 2017 Class 4A-District 15 awards list

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Although the season ended earlier than hoped for, the accolades are starting to roll in for the Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team, as the Class 4A-District 15 All-District Accolades were recently released.

Leading the prowl for the Lady Panthers on the All-District Accolades list was sophomore outside hitter Sara McKeethan, taking the top award in the district with her Most Valuable Player recognition.

McKeethan led the Lady Panthers on the season stat sheet with 382 kills and 405 digs, while also contributing 39 aces and 46 blocks.

The Lady Panthers also had a solid anchor defensively all season long in senior libero Kailan Bellew, who was honored as the district’s Most Valuable Defender.

Bellew earned the Most Valuable Defender accolade with a strong 378 digs on the season, while also providing 20 aces.

The final top recognition in Class 4A-District 15 claimed by the Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team was given to freshman outside hitter Keili Richmond, who was named as the district’s Top Server.

Richmond’s recognition as the Top Server came by way of her team-leading 46 aces, as well as 193 kills offensively and 265 defensive digs.

The Lady Panthers were also able to pick up a total of three First Team All-District honors on the Class 4A-District 15 Accolades list, including senior right side hitter Kailey Consford, senior setter Destinee Dixon, and junior middle blocker Ashlyn Meador.

Consford was a key player both offensively and defensively for the Lady Panthers this season, contributing a total of 138 kills and 51 blocks.

Likewise, Dixon helped on both sides of the ball, while also helping to ‘set’ the team up for success on the court this season, collecting 16 aces, 280 digs, and 485 assists.

Lastly, Meador was a tall presence in the middle of the net for Bullard, leading the team in blocks with 82, as well as 36 aces and 169 kills.

Additionally, the Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team collected a total of two Second Team All-District awards, going to sophomore middle blocker Sarah Lewinski and sophomore setter Kylie McKeethan.

Lewinski provided the lady Panthers with flexibility in the middle of the net, as she stepped in and provided the team with 76 blocks and 98 kills.

Similarly, McKeethan was a key asset for the team on the hardwood, providing 23 aces, 171 digs, and 383 assists.

The final award presented to the Lady Panther varsity volleyball award on the 2017 Class 4A-District 15 accolades list was presented not to a player, but to the program’s leader, as head coach Cristy O’Bannon was recognized as the district’s Coach of the Year.

“It is an honor to be named the District Coach of the Year, but I truly see it as another accolade for my girls,” said O’Bannon. “It’s all thanks to them for being coachable and working everyday to win district that I get to receive this honor.”

Stats for the Lady Panthers provided to the Bullard Banner News by the Lady Panther coaching staff are based off of a total of 40 matches throughout the season, including a total of 112 sets.

The Lady Panthers were also attributed with a total of eight recognitions on the Class 4A-District 15 Academic All-District list, including Bellew, Consford, Dixon, Ford, Kylie McKeethan, Sara McKeethan, Meador, and Richmond.

According to O’Bannon, the 2017 season for the lady Panther volleyball program proved to be pivotal, with all three programs finding their way to success.

“Coming to Bullard back in 2015, I knew it would take a few seasons to get the program where it was a representation of the culture I wanted to create here,” said O’Bannon. “I truly feel this season, not only with the varsity, but all three teams, we have done that. The atmosphere in the gym was fantastic all year due to each team getting along so well, which carried over to the court during games. I’m very excited to see what the future holds for this program and the girls that are committed to being a part of it.”

The Bullard Lady Panther varsity volleyball team ended the 2017 season with an overall record of 29-11, 10-0 in district play, and claimed recognition as the undefeated 2017 District 15-4A District Champions. The team earned the accolade of Bi-District Champions after defeating the Henderson Lady Lions, but was defeated in the Area round by the Texarkana Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks.

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