The road to the playoffs

Sophomore+Chealsea+Slider+digs+up+the+ball+in+a+game+against+Chapel+Hill.+The+varsity+team+defeated+the+Devils.

Photo by Carlie Clem

Sophomore Chealsea Slider digs up the ball in a game against Chapel Hill. The varsity team defeated the Devils.

Story by Jessica Emerson, Staff Writer

The chanting of players.
The whistle blowing.
The chatter buzzing from the court.
The roar from the crowd.

Though the games and tournaments have only just begun, since Aug. 5 the Lady Tiger volleyball team has been up and working at 7:30–a daily routine with a grueling workout followed by a 3-hour practice. They’re attempting to reach a common goal–winning district and going far in the playoffs.

In addition to practices, many members played in summer leagues. Summer league is where local volleyball teams play in round robin games. Contributing to all the hard work they were already putting in, many of the girls went to different volleyball camps, improving the skills they need to make this season a success.

“I think we will be able to compete,” Coach Melissa Hardy said. “We just have to work together as a team and step our game up.”

This year the Lady Tigers have 21 games and three tournaments, not including the playoffs. They will be facing these games without a major component of their team, junior Chanell Hayes. Hayes tore her ACL during a playoff softball game this past year. She had surgery and won’t be ready to play until after volleyball season has passed.

“The hardest part is not being able to help out my team,” Hayes said. “I miss doing fun cheers and dancing before games. I miss just playing overall.”

Hardy has been working hard to replace Hayes and the seniors she has lost.

“It’s going to cause other players to step up,” Hardy said. “I’m having to have players without varsity experience come up and help the team out.”

Practices usually consist of drills improving all aspects of the game. One of the drills is an intense eleven man drill, where a player has to serve, pass, set and hit at some point during the drill. This works on conditioning and every player must work on their skill at every position.

“This volleyball season is going to be great,” sophomore Kristin McDuffie said. “We have a good defense and a strong front row.”

The setter is usually considered one of the leaders of the team, or the “quarterback” of volleyball. The setter touches the ball each play and sets the hitter up for a kill. There are two setters on for the Lady Tigers, junior Jalissa Trotter and sophomore Chealsea Slider.

“I’m looking forward to our team getting to be the best that they can be,” junior Jalissa Trotter said, “and playing like they believe in themselves.”