The 2021 season has arrived for Jackson County high school volleyball teams.
Here are team previews for the teams in the Sentinel’s coverage:
› Area: Class 6A Area 15
› Area opponents: Arab, Fort Payne
› Head coach: Ashley Smart
› Roster: Seniors Darbi Dudley, Kelly Hood; juniors Lillia Bell, Sydney Grant; sophomores Emma Lindsey, Tori Lynch, Meredith Pendergrass, Maddalyn West
› Team notes: Scottsboro finished as the area runner-up last season and advanced to the North Super Regional for the first time since 2007…The Wildcats lost five seniors from last year’s team and have four returning varsity players...Ashley Smart returns for her third season as Scottsboro head coach.
› Quoting coach: Not available
› Area outlook: Not available
› Season opener: Lost to Cullman 2-0, Albertville 2-0 on Thursday
NORTH JACKSON CHIEFS
› Area: Class 4A Area 14
› Area opponents: DAR, Madison Academy,
› Head coach: Desiree Clark
› Roster: Seniors Sheridan Baker, Arielle Haynes; juniors Bailey Abernathy, Peyton Hill, Jayda Hutchins, Destry Lambert, Emmah Myers; sophomores Gracie Davis, Lanie Guinn; freshmen Sheyann Brown, Brooke Cloud, Trinity Johnson, Hailey Myers, Addie Reed, Jazmyn Taylor; eighth-graders Darcy McClendon, Sydney Moore, Alley Stubblefield
› Team notes: North Jackson lost six seniors from last year’s team...The Chiefs have four returning varsity players...Desiree Clark is entering her fourth season as North Jackson’s head coach. She is the longest tenured head volleyball coach in the Sentinel’s coverage area.
› Quoting coach: “We have several new faces. I expect this year’s team to do great things. Overall, we are strong and we will compete. We have great leaders and girls give everything they have every day.”
› Area outlook: “The teams in our area are good. Most of all their players play club volleyball.”
› Season opener: Aug. 24 at Valley Head
› Area: Class 2A Area 15
› Area opponents: Pisgah, Ider
› Head coach: Jeremiah Haynes
› Roster: Seniors Jayla Higdon, Shelby Preston; juniors Allie Butler, Ashlyn Hurst, Amber Shrader, Ashley Shrader; sophomores Cloey Davenport, Gabi Luna
› Team notes: NSM has two returning starters, seniors Jayla Higdon and Shelby Preston...Junior twin sisters Amber and Ashley Shrader played at Pisgah last season...Jeremiah Haynes is North Sand Mountain's new head coach. Haynes, who also coaches the NSM varsity girls basketball team, is the Bison's third different volleyball head coach in the past three years and the fourth since the program restarted in 2017.
› Quoting coach : “We have some athletic players on our team this year with a lot of talent, we just need to get more experience and create some team chemistry. Compete, maximize our play on the court to be the best team we can, and have fun. I also have two awesome assistant coaches Candice Hicks and Jasmine Higdon who put a lot of time into the volleyball program and have done a really great job, I couldn’t do it without them.”
› Area outlook: “Very competitive area. Pisgah and Ider have successful volleyball programs. Keys to success (for NSM is ) if we can reach our team’s potential, we can be pretty good. I’m looking forward to seeing our team progress throughout the season.”
› Season opener: Aug. 23 at Richard Hardy (Tenn.)
› Area: Class 2A Area 15
› Area opponents: NSM, Ider
› Head coach: Chrystal Heard
› Roster: Seniors Kinsey Dalton, Molly Heard, Karlee Holcomb, Rylee Smith, Kaitlyn Stephens; juniors Claudia Barron, Jaylee Keller, Kaylee McAllister, Lily Patalas; freshman Madeline Flammia
› Team notes: Pisgah is coming off a program best 18-win season (18-14) win which it won its first regular-season area and area tournament championships, taking both 2A Area 15 crowns. The Eagles advanced to the North Regional for the third time in program history and won their first regional game before falling 3-1 to Spring Garden in the quarterfinals...Pisgah lost three seniors from last year’s team and returns only three starters (Molly Heard, Karlee Holcomb and Madeline Flammia) from a year ago. The Eagles are the six-time reigning Jackson County Tournament champions…Heard is in her second season of her second tenure at Pisgah coach. She previously coached Pisgah from 2013-15 and led the program to its first Super Regional appearance in 2015.
› Quoting coach: “We graduated some key players and will have to be looking for others to step up. The returning senior starters have played varsity for four years. Their leadership should help the younger players with their roles and what our team needs.”
› Area outlook: “We have a strong area. Ider always has a solid team that is very competitive and their coach has coached for several years. NSM has a new coach, and I know he is competitive and will use his competitiveness to drive his team. To succeed in area, we will have to do the little things like serve well, score on (opponents’) errors or mishaps and simply not make mistakes.”
› Season opener: Aug. 24 at Westminster Christian
› Area: Class 1A Area 15
› Area opponents: Decatur Heritage, Lindsay Lane, Oakwood Adventist
› Head coach: Woody Beard
› Roster: Seniors Molly Gifford, Kylee Hastings, Alyssa Morris; junior Jessica Sirten; sophomores Macheala Jones, Anna Robertson; freshmen Lannah Grace Beard, Jersey Jones;
seventh-grader Morgan Gifford
› Team notes: Woody Beard is entering his first season as Woodville’s head coach. Beard, who also coaches Woodville’s varsity girls basketball team, coached Pisgah's boys basketball team for 23 seasons from (1998-2020)...Junior Jessica Sirten is the team’s most experienced returning player while Anna Robertson and Michaela Jones played varsity last season as well...Beard’s daughter, freshman Lannah Grace, is a member of the Woodville team. She played at Pisgah last season.
› Quoting coach: “With many new players on the varsity team out goal is to get better everyday and play our best Volleyball at the end of the season.”
› Area outlook: “Our area has possibly two of the top-five teams in (Class) 1A with Decatur Heritage and Lindsey Lane.”
› Season opener: Aug. 26 at Asbury
› Oct. 11-16
› Oct. 20-22
Class 1A-7A North Super Regional at the Von Braun Center, Huntsville
› Oct. 26-28
Class 1A-7A AHSAA State Tournament at the Birmingham Crossplex and Bill Harris Arena