Leader Blues

Thursday, August 17, 2006

SPORTS >> Lady Devils volleyball loaded with sophomores

IN SHORT: acksonville Lady Red Devils will have to rely on underclassmen to fill out several positions on this year’s volleyball team.

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils have a young volleyball team put together for the 2006 season, very young.

Only one senior with any playing experience, setter Rachel Hol-der, returns from last year’s Class AAAAA quarterfinal team, and of the 22 players on the roster, 12 are sophomores. There are six juniors and four seniors that make up the rest of the squad.

All the new faces make for an interesting preseason for first-year head coach Melissa Reeves.

Although the season is rapidly approaching, Reeves had an unsure nswer for who will start the first match.

“Who knows?” Reeves said.

Other than Holder, the rest of the starting lineup is very much up for grabs, and some will most assuredly be filled by sophomores.

Jacksonville takes the young team into a new conference that loses Cabot and picks up Marion. State powerhouse Jonesboro will still be the odds-on-favorite to win the league. The Lady Devils will be battling Jonesboro and Marion, as well as Forrest City, Sylvan Hills and Mountain Home for one of the four playoff spots.

Seniors Briana Dednam and Jazmin King have been productive in early practices on the back row, and will likely see considerable playing time.

Amber Powloski and Brittany Harrison lead the junior class. Both got some varsity experience under their belts last season as sophomores.

The heavily relied upon sophomore class has some athletes and talented players, and several will have to step up on the varsity level right away.

Paula Burr and Bailee Herlacher will play the back row and set. Abbie Hill is a solid all-around player. Tyra Terry, Chastity Robinson and Tiara Alexander will be counted on for power throughout the season.

Reeves also said any number of players could still step up and help out the team. The starting rotation is still wide open.
“We’re working on finding a group that will play consistently and not make mistakes,” Reeves said. “We’re young, but we’re going to work on minimizing mistakes and playing smart. There are some talented athletes out here.”