At the net

Abby Jones and her Scottsboro volleyball teammates are working toward their season opening tri-match with Westminster Christian and Decatur Heritage.

Two-plus weeks on the job now, head coach Patrick Kritner and the Scottsboro volleyball team are finding a groove.

“I know the adjustment has been tough for the players as every coach is different,” said Kritner, who took the job at the start of preseason practice after Kelly Scott’s resignation, “but they have been great in responding to what I am asking them to do and working with me to make sure that we can make this as fluid a transition as possible.”

It’s been a transition at every volleyball playing school in Jackson County, as all five have new head coaches 

Along with Kritner at Scottsboro, other new head coaches are Carey Ellison at Pisgah, Woodville’s Caitlin Harnen, Jade Rogers at North Jackson and Danette Townson at NSM.

Ellison, Pisgah’s longtime varsity girls basketball head coach, is learning as much if not more than the players as he serves as the program’s head coach this season.

“YouTube is an amazing tool,” said Ellison, who has been watching volleyball coaching videos to sharpen his knowledge of the sport. “I’m learning a bit more everyday. This is a game of skill, and that’s what we’re working on. I think we’re as athletic as anybody around, but we’ve got to get the skills down.”

At North Sand Mountain, well, everything is new. 

NSM restarted its volleyball program after it was dormant for some 15 years. Head coach Danette Townson, with the help of her daughter and former Ider player Dani Townson, are seeing progress in players who are learning as they go.

“We feel like the girls’ determination is helping them to develop to the sport as much as they have thus far,” Danette Townson said.

Harnen said the transition has gone well at Woodville, where her team is focused on the fundamentals during preseason drills.

“We have already seen so much growth in our players,” Harnen said.

The 2017 season begins statewide on Thursday, Aug. 31.

“The first matches are coming up fast and we are working hard to improve,” Kritner said. “The players have been working really hard. We have been putting them through some tough situations and they are responding excellently.”


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