Over the next week, Jackson County high school volleyball teams will begin their 2020 seasons. 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 Anna Beth Barclay, Annalynn Buckner, Callyn Haswell, Mattie Watwood, Kami Willis; junior Darbi Dudley; sophomores Lilla Bell, Sidney Grant; freshman Tori Lynch
› Team notes: Scottsboro is moving up from Class 5A to 6A this season. Area foe Arab is also moving up to 6A…The Wildcats return six players from last season’s team, including five starters...Ashley Smart returns for her second season as Scottsboro head coach.
› Quoting coach: “This team’s strongest characteristic that will lead them to success in the upcoming season is their love for the game. The group of girls that we have playing on the court this year is more driven than many sports teams I have been a part of. They went through strenuous workouts and conditioning all throughout the summer, and it was evident that they worked through it all together. Although I am only going into my second year as a head coach, and third year as an assistant, this team has the best communication and work ethic that I have been a part of. At practice it is clear the girls love the sport they are playing, especially with teammates that they love and trust on and off the court. In order for our team to be successful, they have to keep sharing their love of playing the game with their teammates, and be there for one another when things do not go their way. If they do these things throughout the entirety of the season, there is no doubt in my mind that they will have an extremely successful season.”
› Area outlook: “I know most of our sports and fans here in Scottsboro are not thrilled about our classification moving up to 6A, but our area in volleyball could not have worked out any better. Our area consists of us, Arab, and Fort Payne. For the past two years, our team has been in an area with Brewer (2019 Quarterfinals), Guntersville (2019 Semifinals), and Arab. Our volleyball program has been in one of the toughest, if not the toughest, areas in the state, and I truly believe that this year’s area will allow us to take our program to the next level.”
› Season opener: Aug. 20 vs. Arab, Albertville at Arab
NORTH JACKSON CHIEFS
› Area: Class 4A Area 14
› Area opponents: DAR, Madison Academy,
› Head coach: Desiree Clark
› Roster: Seniors Chloe Chisenall, Makenna Jones, Alexis Moore, Makayla Nance, Jocelyn Paschal, Summer Varnum; sophomores Bailey Abernathy, Sheridan Baker, Payton Hill, Destry Lambert, Emmah Myers; freshman Lanie Guinn
› Team notes: North Jackson has eight returning players on its 2020 roster... Clark enters her third season as Chiefs head coach. She is the longest tenured head volleyball coach in the Sentinel’s coverage area.…North Jackson hosts the 2020 Jackson County Volleyball Tournament on Sept. 28.
› Quoting coach: “I think the team is well rounded. They are a good group that I expect great things from. The team has great chemistry. We will need to be consistent in the basics and play our game.”
› Area outlook: “Our area is a tough one. We are excited to play.”
› Season opener: Aug. 29 vs. Dade County (Ga.), Richard Hardy (Tenn.)
› Area: Class 2A Area 15
› Area opponents: Pisgah, Ider
› Head coach: Peggy Brock/Heather Smith
› Roster: Seniors Harley Boyd, Briley Bynum, Elli Johnson, Macy Smith, Jaycee Weldon, Jessi Weldon; juniors Jayla Higdon, Shelby Preston; sophomore Ashlyn Hurst
› Team notes: NSM has six players returning from last season’s Jackson County Tournament runner-up team…Brock and Smith will act as co-head coaches this season, replacing Samantha Alsobrooks, who coached NSM for the past two seasons. Smith has worked as an assistant with the program for several seasons… NSM has six seniors, including team captain Smith and co-captain Bynum.
› Quoting coach (Smith): “The majority of our varsity have played two years together. We were late starting workouts this year due to COVID and hiring a new coach. (Peggy Brock) The girls have been working very hard to make up for the loss of time.”
› Area outlook: “Area games have changed for us this year with the loss of Fyffe and the gain of Pisgah. I believe these girls have the talent to do very well this year. They have it within them to be in the top. They just have to prove it on the court.”
› Season opener: Aug. 27 at Ider
› Area: Class 2A Area 15
› Area opponents: NSM, Ider
› Head coach: Chrystal Heard
› Roster: Seniors Bella Bobo, Hannah Duncan, Emma Ellison; juniors Molly Heard, Karlee Holcomb, Rylee Smith; sophomores Madelyn Griffith, Jaley Keller, Kaylee McAllister, Amber Shrader, Ashley Shrader.
› Team notes: Pisgah lost three seniors from last year’s team. The Eagles are the reigning Jackson County Tournament champions…Heard returns for a second tenure as head coach. She previously coached Pisgah from 2013-15 and led the program to its first Super Regional appearance in 2015.
› Quoting coach: “We have several players returning with lots of experience. I feel really good about this group of girls. They have a good feel for the game and know what it takes to win. Most of the players are also multi-sport athletes. I think this helps just by simply having athletic girls on the court. One of our biggest strengths (of the team) is the fact that these girls have been playing together so long. The majority of our team has played volleyball since seventh grade. Several of them play other sports together and are just comfortable with each other. They read each other well which helps and also know what to expect from each other.”
› Area outlook: “We are looking forward to the new challenge of 2A. Bringing in Ider to our area will be tough and there will be several good teams at super regionals. For our team to be successful, we are going to have to focus on the little things and do them well. We will need to capitalize when other teams make mistakes and take advantage of those opportunities.”
› Season opener: Aug. 24 vs. Dade County (Ga.), Lookout Valley (Tenn.) at Dade County
› Area: Class 1A Area 15
› Area opponents: Athens Bible, Decatur Heritage, Lindsay Lane
› Head coach: Dreema Holiday
› Roster: Seniors Elizabeth Anderson, Brezzy Baker, Laci Downey, Jessie Johnston, Trinity Thomas; sophomore Jessica Sirten; freshman Anna Robertson
› Team notes: Woodville returns four starters from last season’s team..Dreema Holiday returns for her second season as head coach.
› Quoting coach: “They are a very hard working bunch of girls who want to accomplish big goals. I believe our biggest strength is the fact that we have so many leaders on our team. We have five seniors to help guide us in the right direction and two younger players who are not afraid to step up.”
› Area outlook: “We have good teams in our area. We just have to work hard and play our best against each team we face this year and see how it plays out.”
› Season opener: Aug. 31 at Whitesburg Christian
› Oct. 12-17
› Oct. 25-27
Class 1A-7A North Super Regional at the Von Braun Center, Huntsville
› Oct. 31-Nov. 1
Class 1A-7A AHSAA State Tournament at Birmingham Crossplex