The high school volleyball season is set to begin with games beginning on Thursday for three teams and next week for two.
It’s a season of change for Jackson County’s five volleyball-playing schools, as each have a new head coach.
NSM has a new everything, as the program restarted after folding in the early 2000s.
Here are team previews for each of the teams from Jackson County:
› Head coach: Patrick Kritner (first season)
› Area: Class 5A Area 14
› Area opponents: Albertville, Fort Payne and Southside
› Roster: Seniors Jocelyn Cheatom, Blake Collins, Kassidy Cunningham, Makayla Hutchins and Macy Lee; juniors Abby Jones, Nhi Le, Anna Lusk and Caitlin Terrell; sophomore Megan Vosen; freshman Kami Willis
› Quoting coach: “I simply want this team to put forth maximum effort and show improvement over the course of the season. I want us to empty the tank in every match. To walk off the court knowing we have given everything we have to compete.”
› Area outlook: “We play in an extremely tough area against great teams with great coaches. Guntersville and Arab are both ranked in the top 10 in 5A and Crossville is an honorable mention. Area play will be very difficult, but I want my players to be confident and play with great effort. We are embracing the underdog role and entering the season and area play ready to compete and ready to leave everything on the court.”
› Season opener: Thursday vs. Westminster Christian and Decatur Heritage at Westminster Christian in Huntsville at 4:30 p.m.
NORTH JACKSON CHIEFS
› Head coach: Jade Rogers (first season)
› Area: Class 4A Area 13
› Area opponents: DAR and Sardis
› Roster: Seniors Riley Anderson, Caroline Blackman, Chloe Bradford and Tori Crownover; juniors Mikayla Chamoon, Ariel Clements and Shelby Smart; sophomore Anna Jones; freshmen Chloe Chisenall, Makayla Nance and Summer Varnum.
› Quoting coach: “Since I have become coach and started practice, I can see a big improvement in the girls. Drill and just practice in general has been smoother and better. As far as goals, I just want the girls to improve themselves but also as a team. I want them to want to play and win."
› Area outlook: “I don't really know anything about the teams in our area yet, but I am focusing on my team getting better and improving each week so we will be ready when we play our area games.”
› Season opener: Thursday vs. Pisgah and South Pittsburg (Tennessee) at Pisgah, 5 p.m.
› Head coach: Danette Townson (first season)
› Area: Class 3A Area 14
› Area opponents: Pisgah, Plainview and Sylvania
› Roster: Seniors Cassidy Barton and Kayee Talley; juniors Arianna Christopher, Ashley Cooper, KaLee Gilbert, Willow Hale, Alexis Leake and Bailey Peardon; sophomores Triston Barrett and Jasmine Higdon; freshman Briley Bynum
› Quoting coach: “We feel like the girls' determination is helping them to develop to the sport as much as they have thus far.”
› Season opener: Sept. 5 vs. Sylvania and Geraldine at Sylvania, 4 p.m.
› Head coach: Carey Ellison (first season)
› Area: Class 3A Area 14
› Area opponents: NSM, Plainview and Sylvania
› Roster: Seniors Rhyli Arnold, Autumn Keith and Savannah Mason; juniors Annie Hughes, Sara Matthews, Delaney McLaughlin, Kacie McLaughlin and Kaylee Vaught; sophomore Shalyn Smith; freshmen Bella Bobo and Hannah Duncan; eighth-grader Molly Heard
› Quoting coach: “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. We’re trying to develop, be better setters, passers and hitters. We’re working on being consistent. I’m learning a little bit everyday [too]. All of involved are working to be better.”
› Area outlook: “Good teams with good athletes. We’re going to have to be good fundamentally for us to have a chance to advance [to the postseason].”
› Season opener: Thursday vs. North Jackson and South Pittsburg (Tennessee) at Pisgah, 5 p.m.
› Head coach: Caitlin Harnen (first season)
› Area: Class 1A Area 15
› Area opponents: Athens Bible, Decatur Heritage, Lindsay Lane and Whitesburg Christian
› Roster: Seniors Rebecca Baker and Samantha Hicks; juniors Brianna Lipscomb; Anna Crowe and Tia Edwards; freshmen Elizabeth Anderson, Breezy Baker, Madolyn Copeland, Alena Myers, Jessica Miller, Sheridan Powell and Trinity Thomas
› Quoting coach: “My plan for this season is that we are going to work hard to become a fundamentally sound team. We have some talented athletes and several that are leaders and will continue to be leaders for this team.”
› Area outlook: “I know the teams in our area are working hard and I'm focused on making these girls and this team successful this year and many years to come. They show a lot of promise.”
› Season opener: Sept. 5 vs. North Jackson, 4:30 p.m.