As reported in last week's sports section, the Verona Lady Wildcats finished the 2017 volleyball season with a two-set loss to Pierce City on October 16.

Coach Brad Stewart's team dropped the first set 25-12 and was knocked out of district play with a 25-16 second set loss. Junior Rita Castillo led the Lady Wildcats with 13 digs and seven kills, while sophomore Carolina Castillo added seven assists.

Despite the loss, Stewart was proud of the way his team played down the stretch of the season.

"We were disappointed in our play at districts, but I felt like until that match we had really been playing our best volleyball of the season in the last two to three weeks," said the coach. "For the season the team was very hard-working, enthusiastic and greatly improved."

Verona finished 2-4 in the Ozark 7 Conference with wins over Wheaton and Exeter, and Stewart was encouraged by the way his team was "in every match [until] the end."

Even more encouraging for the Lady Wildcats is that the entire starting lineup will return for next season with significant varsity experience. Seniors Abby Leitz and Hannah Heseman will be the only two moving on from the 2017 squad, but their leadership off the bench will be missed.