Fans of Lady Warriors volleyball have four reasons to be excited as the new season begins: improved teamwork, veteran leadership, athletic ability and a new head coach. Those factors are likely to combine to make this a great volleyball season for the Lady Warriors.
Veteran leadership includes seniors Tresten Taylor, Sarah Lambert, Kristen Bennett and Tristin Day.
Lambert, a star catcher on the school’s softball team, said she plays volleyball for the friendship and the fun.
“I like all the friendships I make and the traveling,” she said. “There’s not too many new people on the team, so we have some good experience. We look a lot better this year. We have a coach who’s a former player. Practices have been good – long and hard.”
Taylor is a four-year starter on the volleyball team.
“It’s a lot more intense this year,” she said. “We have to run this year. Last year, we didn’t have to run at all. This year, we’re getting a lot of hands-on experience with the ball. We’re hitting the ball hard and a lot of them are going in, which is good.”
Taylor said team chemistry is much improved.
“I hope we win more games than last year,” she said. “We had a lot of fights on the floor last year and we’re getting along fine this year. We’re getting a lot of our serves over. We’re getting a lot of hits in. Our setters are improving. We taught everybody how to set this year, which is new.”
Bennett agreed that teamwork is important for the team to be successful.
“It’s important that we all get along, like we have, and avoid having the drama like we had last year,” she said. “So far, we’ve been doing good. This year, I think we’re going to have a good year. For the most part, we all know what we’re doing and we aren’t going to argue as much as we did. We’ll keep the drama off the field.”
Freshman Briana Mills is one of the team’s two newest players.
“It’s been fun so far,” she said. “We do a lot of running, but that’s what you have to do to have a good team,” she said.
The team’s overall athletic ability is unquestionable. Several cross-over athletes play volleyball, including All-State basketball player Tristin Day, standout catcher Lambert, up-and-coming basketball star Megan Galford, and Makayla Marks, a rising star in the softball outfield. Bennett stands tall and gives the team much-needed height at the net.
Bringing it all together is brand new Head Coach Jessica Hays. Hays played four years in high school in the Wheeling area and served as assistant coach at PCHS two years ago.
“We’ve got a good group of girls,” she said. “They know what they’re doing. They don’t complain and they do everything I ask of them. I’m looking forward to the season. I know we can have a winning season. I’ve got some good servers, some good hitters, some good setters, some good diggers – I mean, I’ve got the whole nine yards.”
“My seniors are my leaders and they’re the ones I expect to set an example, be role models and lead us to victory,” said the coach. “They’re all experienced and they’re all coming back.
“Tresten is the most experienced. I’m looking for her to be our co-captain. She’s an all-around player. Sarah’s a wonderful setter, who will also be an all-around player. Kristen, tall girl, she’s going to be our hitter. I need tall girls who can jump and block and hit and Kristen’s that.”
The Lady Warriors open their season on September 9 at 5 p.m. at Richwood. Their first home game is on Thursday, September 11 at 6 p.m. against Bath County.