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Lamar's Jordan Lay ready to lead next chapter of Cardinal volleyball

The Cardinals open their spring season at home on Tuesday, Feb. 2 against New Orleans

BEAUMONT, Texas — Much has changed and many steps have been taken since the Cardinals last conference game in 2019.

For starters, Jordan Lay was named the new head coach and was being tasked to rebuild the program. Then the unthinkable happened. Like all other sports, the Lamar volleyball team was shut down in the middle of spring camp last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To make matters worse, the Southland conference postponed all fall 2020 competition, including volleyball. Despite that, the conference allowed programs to play a limited number of non-conference games. Fast forward to today and with the spring season just days away, first year head coach Jordan Lay is ready for his team to get back on the court. 

"We could not be any happier or excited," Lay said. "To not only be starting our volleyball season but to start it off at home. Especially with everything we've had to go through and battle through. It makes it that much more exciting not only for myself but or players. Every single one of them are chomping at the bit."

The Cardinals were recently picked to finish second to last in the Southland conference preseason poll. And though conference expectation is low, the expectation within Lamar remains higher than ever.

"We really feel like this is a conference tournament team and that's a big goal of ours," Lay said. "Three through thirteen I feel like are going to be so tight. One win here and one loss there could completely swing your standings so I think that's what makes the middle down in our conference so exciting it that everyone is right there together."

Wit six freshman on the roster, experience is not on the Cardinals side. Veterans Bre'Ala Box, Abigale Nash, Kayla Neumann, Malaysia Murdock and former Port Neches-Groves standout Kaitlyn Gil, who is coming off a strong rookie campaign, will be counted on for their leadership to help take the Cardinals to the next level.

"Kaitlyn is just a truly gifted volleyball player," Lay said. "I think what you're getting from Kaitlyn in her sophomore campaign is a big level of growth. She has a new found bravado about herself and it's really fun and exciting when she gets on a roll because she's darn hard to stop but she makes us a lot better."

The Cardinals open their season at home on Tuesday, February. 2 against New Orleans. The match against the Privateers will begin at 6:30 p.m. from the Montagne Center in Beaumont.

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