The curtain opens on the 2019 high school volleyball season on Thursday. Four of the five Jackson County teams begin their season on Thursday and all five teams will begin their season within the next nine days.
Here are team previews for each of the teams from Jackson County:
› Head coach: Ashley Smart (first season)
› Area: Class 5A Area 15
› Area opponents: Arab, Brewer, Guntersville
› Roster: Seniors Lauryn Clark, Madison Cole, Daylee Dudley and Marissa Hymer; juniors Anna Beth Barclay, Annalynn Buckner, Callyn Haswell, Taylor Nichols, Mattie Watwood and Kami Willis
› Quoting coach: “The outlook for my team this season is to forget what has happened in the players ’ previous seasons and to realize this is a new year and an entirely new team. Although the team from last year lost six seniors, I am very confident that the players and coaches we have in our volleyball program will allow us to be successful as a whole. During this season, I want our team to focus on celebrating small victories and enjoying the process. I believe this will allow us to transform this good program into a great one. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be a successful season for our volleyball team. I am looking forward to seeing the girls work as a team to play the sport they love.”
› Area outlook: “It is no secret that we are in, what I believe to be, the most competitive area in (Class 5A). Brewer, Arab and Guntersville are all well-known volleyball programs throughout the state. However, this is a new season for our girls, and I believe that the teams in our area are going to be in for a surprise when they see what we bring to the court. Effort and attitude play a major role in determining how successful our girls will be in area play. Luckily, each of our eleven girls on the team gives 100% effort every day at practice, is coachable and has a burning passion to play this game. Their effort and attitude will help us in area play, but their love for the game will be what ultimately leads us to success.”
› Season opener: Today vs. Sylvania, 4:30 p.m.
NORTH JACKSON CHIEFS
› Head coach: Desiree Clark (first season)
› Area: Class 4A Area 14
› Area opponents: DAR, Randolph
› Roster: Juniors Makayla Adams, Chloe Chisenall, Ashlyn Foster, Cheyenne Harvey, Alexis Moore, Makayla Nance, Charley Smith, Cherika Smith, Summer Varnum and Elisabeth Weigelt; sophomores Sheridan Baker and Brylie Evans; Ansley Conner, Emmah Myers and Carlotta Schuler; eighth-graders Faith Bell and Lanie Guinn
› Quoting coach: “Although half of the team is new and has not played before, they are working hard.”
› Area outlook: “We have some good teams in our area. We will need to really focus on consistency in the basics and controlling the speed of the game.”
› Season opener: Aug. 29 vs. Woodville, 5 p.m.
› Head coach: Carey Ellison (third season)
› Area: Class 3A Area 15
› Area opponents: Geraldine, Plainview, Sylvania
› Roster: Seniors Shalyn Smith, Shelby Williams and Chloe Womack; juniors Bella Bobo, Jaden Burgess and Hannah Duncan, sophomores Molly Heard and Karlee Holcomb
› Quoting coach: “We are an athletic team. Almost every player plays at least one other sport. We are still figuring out our roles and how it all fits together. If we can put it together we will be competitive. We still have some work to do and with the limited number we don’t have depth at the moment. The junior varsity is pretty athletic as well, so the depth may develop.”
› Area outlook: “The area is tough. Geraldine, Plainview and Sylvania are all well-coached and have great players. We will have to play well to compete against any of them.”
› Season opener:Today vs. Dade County (Ga.), Marion County (Tenn.) at Dade County, 5:30 p.m.
› Head coach:Samantha Alsobrook (second season)
› Area: Class 2A Area 15
› Area opponents: Fyffe and Ider
› Roster: Seniors Emily Barnes, Triston Barrett, Jayde Case and Jasmine Higdon; juniors Briley Bynum, Harley Boyd, Candice Rimas, Macy Smith and Jaycee Weldon; sophomores Jayla Higdon and Shelby Preston
› Quoting coach: “The girls have learned so much more about strategy and game play involved. Their strength and accuracy of the hits and serves are outstanding. I love pushing and challenging them more. Sometimes I cannot believe the school has only had a volleyball program for two years and coming up on their third season with how well the girls play together.”
› Area outlook: “I know my girls and I have set the bar high for ourselves. Fyffe and Ider have had programs longer then NSM has but that doesn't mean they should underestimate the underdog. My girls shocked a lot of people last year with how well they improved and I do believe that will be a reoccurring statement for them gain this year. My girls will have to work hard together and trust in their skills and each other to make it to the next level in tournaments.”
› Season opener: Today vs. Woodville, 5 p.m.
› Head coach: Dreema Holliday (first season)
› Area: Class 1A Area 15
› Area opponents: Lindsay Lane Christian,
Oakwood Christian, Whitesburg Christian
› Roster: Seniors Breanna Crowe and Tia Edwards; juniors Brezzy Baker, Laci Downey, Alena Miller and Trinity Thomas; sophomores Abigail Bloodworth, Alexis Brown, Kylee Hastings and Alyssa Morris; freshman Karlee Hutchens and Kydnall Jones and Jessica Sirten; eighth-graders Anna Robertson, Michaela Jones and Raina Scheirer
› Quoting coach: “I expect great things this year from my team. They work hard and have a lot of potential.”
› Area outlook: “Area games are always important. We will treat them like any other game. Our main goal is to win. It will take hard work and hustle to beat the teams we are going against. I think with effort and dedication, it will be a good year this year.”
› Season opener: Today at NSM, 5 p.m.
› Oct. 21: Class 1A, 3A, 4A, 5A Area Tournaments
› Oct. 22: Class 2A, 6A, 7A Area Tournaments
› Oct. 24-26: Class 1A-7A North Super Regional at the Von Braun Center (South Hall), Huntsville
› Oct. 31-31: Class 1A-7A AHSAA State Tournament at Birmingham Crossplex