The high school volleyballs season begins across Alabama today. Here’s a team preview for each of the teams from Jackson County:
› Head coach: Kelly Scott (second season)
› Area: Class 5A Area 14
› Area opponents: Arab, Crossville and Guntersville
› 2015 Record: 13-15
› 2016 Roster: Seniors Sam Hood sand Sara Jane Reece and Sam Hood; juniors Jocelyn Cheatom, Blake Collins, Kassidy Cunnigham and Macy Lee; sophomores Emily Garner, Abby Jones, Nhi Le and Anna Lusk; freshmen Blakeley Treece and Megan Vosen
› Quoting coach: “We are a young group, but I believe with time and after getting some games under our belt, we will continue growing as a team. We have some newcomers to volleyball, on varsity, but athletes who are picking the game and I believe will be able to contribute to the team as they continue to grow and learn the game as well. We know we may not be the biggest and strongest of the teams we play but I know my girls have a lot of heart are and are going to come out ready to play and prove to people they can compete. We have to continue working hard at every practice to get better and also have to continue building our confidence. Confidence was something that really hurt us last year. The girls were very timid about walking into places like Guntersville, Albertville, Southside, where they knew the competition would be very good. It’s my biggest goal that the girls have confidence in what they can contribute to our success and walk in with their heads high and just play their best game, every game.”
› Area outlook: “Dropping down to 5A will create a less competitive area for us. If anything it may be stronger, adding Guntersville and Arab means adding two very dominant teams.
› Season opener: Today vs. Buckhorn, Mae Jemison at 4:30 p.m.
North Jackson Chiefs
› Head coach: Amber Sells (third season)
› Area: Class 4A Area 13
› Area opponents: DAR and Sardis
› 2015 Record: 0-15
› 2016 Roster: Seniors Vanna Cuningham, Hilja Hautamaki, Shannon Headley, LeLe McDonald, Kailee Rouse and Makayla Williams; juniors Caroline Blackmon, Chloe Bradford, Tiffany Guess, Allie Lacy and Brianna Nance; sophomore Haylie Webb
› Quoting coach: “We have been working on improving our game and how we play. I have had them working toward 3 hits as much as possible. Ball control is another area I am looking to see improvement in. I want to see the girls playing like we have been practicing and improving with every game.”
› Area outlook: “DAR is going to be tough as always I think, but we also have a new team in our area. We will be facing Sardis for the first time and I have no idea what to expect from them.”
› Season opener: Today vs. Woodville and Asbury, 3 p.m.
› Head coach: Ali Duke (first season)
› Area: Class 3A Area 14
› Area opponents: Plainview and Sylvania
› 2015 Record: 12-13 (played in Class 3A North Super Regional)
› 2016 Roster: Senior Harley Bobo; juniors Rhyli Arnold, Brooke Frost, Autumn Keith and Kylie Law; sophomores Macy Anderson, Bailey Law, Delaney McLaughlin, Kacie McLaughlin and Grayce Timmons
› Quoting coach: “Overall I am pleased with how preseason has gone. We have accomplished many things, but our team is still a work in progress. We are in the process of learning the fundamental skills. It is an athletic bunch with a lot of potential. The coaching transition has been relatively smooth. The girls have been very receptive to the changes that are being made to the program.”
To make this season what I want it to be we will have to continue to work and improve ball control, focus on reducing our unforced errors, and to continue to learn the game.”
› Area outlook: “From my own experiences with teams in DeKalb County [Duke is a Geraldine alum], I know Plainview and Sylvania have had some successful volleyballl programs. It will be a very competitive area.”
› Season opener: Saturday at Sardis Invitational, 9 a.m.
› Head coach: Shannon Pillote (first season)
› Area: Class 1A Area 15
› Area opponents: Athens Bible, Decatur Heritage, Lindsay Lane Christian and Whitesburg Christian
› 2015 Record: n/a
› 2016 Roster: n/a
› Quoting coach: n/a
› Area outlook: n/a
› Season opener:Today at North Jackson, vs. Asbury at 3 p.m.