Sandite Volleyball Q&A with Coach Sydney Bond – Presented by Cecil & Sons Discount Tires

By Scott Emigh

The Sandites are coming off a 7-18 season under Sydney Bond in her first and only season with the black and gold. The girls went 5-4 for 5th Place in the Frontier Valley Conference. First-year Head Coach Derek Jackson went 35-26 in two seasons at Clinton High School, falling one round short of the State Tournament both years.

Which players do you expect to be leaders this season? All my seniors, I think, are good role models both on and off the court.

Which newcomers do you expect to make a difference? Olivia Dewitt, Payton Robbins, and Sophie Singleton have shown glimpses of brilliance during the summer.

Strengths and weaknesses going into the season? Our strengths include having plenty of seasoned and smart seniors leading us. Our weakness might be getting over the idea that we are a sub .500 team every year.

Goals/Expectations for the year? I expect to have a much more close-knit group that plays as a team and loves competing. A couple goals I have set out is to finish in the top half of the conference, which will not be easy but it’s where we want our name to start being. Also, to have a combined 6 wins in tournament play for the year.

Sand Springs has only had one winning season in recent years, and even then they didn’t make State. How do you plan to build a championship-contending culture in Sand Springs, and what tools/help will you need from the community to make it happen? We would like to have a winning season and begin something special here. We need numbers in each grade who want to play to rise, especially in the middle school levels. Competing in the club scene definitely helps high school programs become more competitive. Lastly, just for fans to show up and support us, make some noise, and have some fun with us!

What has been your offseason approach as far as club/summer league? Are regular season players required to play in the summer? We competed in the Catoosa and Owasso Summer Leagues where we did finish very well. We also took the entire high school program to Branson to compete in a team camp, where we all got a lot better and grew together. We then finished the summer at the Arkansas University Team Camp and competed in a team camp at Springdale Har-Ber High School. Both of which, we saw some solid teams and were able to compete with them all. Very busy but productive summer.

Do you have a particular coaching style/philosophy? I like to have energy and be loud, which stems from the passion for the game that I have. I like to play up-tempo if possible and serve tough.

Who are some of your coaching influences? Jarne Carrol was such a great mentor for me when I first began. She helped me understand the game and understand the importance a coach has on the athletes. I still call her for pointers or to just talk volleyball.

What has been your impression of the Sandite community so far? The booster club and (Athletic Director Rod Sitton) have been nothing but supportive in helping me get this program headed in the right direction. My principal at Clyde Boyd, Nancy Ogle, has really helped bring me into the group and help the mid-year transition. I look forward to seeing what kind of student section and fan support we get this year.