Volleyball season started this week for Robeson County’s 5 highschool groups. A highlight shined on the game final season in November and December, because it and cross nation have been the primary two sports activities to return in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic; this 12 months volleyball is again in its regular fall place.
St. Pauls, as Three Rivers Convention champions, was Robeson County’s solely playoff volleyball group final season. Here’s a preview for every group, listed alphabetically, for the present season:
Fairmont Golden Tornadoes
The Fairmont volleyball roster lists seven seniors, with the remainder of the group comprised of juniors, however that doesn’t imply that the Golden Tornadoes (0-2) have a really skilled group.
“It’s a youthful group,” Fairmont coach Michael Baker stated. “You take a look at the roster and see all these seniors, however these aren’t seniors that performed in video games. And people women which might be again, they solely performed 10 video games.”
Fairmont (6-4 final season, 6-3 in convention) beat each group who completed beneath them within the Three Rivers Convention final season and misplaced to each group who completed above them. Baker hopes this 12 months the Golden Tornadoes will be extra aggressive towards the top-half groups within the new Southeastern Athletic Convention.
“We’re going to need to have some gamers stepping up, and the seniors have gotten to make performs,” Baker stated. “You’ve acquired to determine tips on how to get out of this mess once they begin making a run.”
Hinson, a senior setter, and Dajsha Fields, an out of doors hitter, are the groups leaders, and the one returners with plenty of varsity expertise. Baker additionally seems to be for Zylaija McIver to be a key participant on the exterior hitter place, and for Makenzi Mitchell to offer management and “hustle” as a defensive specialist.
The Lumberton Pirates (2-1 in 2021; 7-5 final season) not solely started a brand new season this week, however started the tenure of a brand new head coach, Kali Carter.
Carter, 19, involves the Pirates program after enjoying highschool volleyball in Kentucky and training two years of membership volleyball.
“I at all times grew up round volleyball; I’m devoted to it,” Carter stated. “My sister’s nonetheless enjoying in highschool and I’ve at all times had an attachment to it, so I wished to maintain it going.”
Carter is tasked with changing the manufacturing of final 12 months’s senior class, together with setter August Smith and out of doors hitter Keke Lawrence.
“I’m going about simply ranging from fundamentals, getting all of the fundamentals again in, and work them up from the underside to the highest, since you solely go larger,” Carter stated. “They only want extra exercises, extra coaching, simply getting each talent degree they’ll get all through the entire season.”
Exterior hitter Peyton Brooks, libero Tyler Coker and defensive specialist Amelia Scott step into senior management roles after stable junior seasons.
“Now that they’re seniors they actually have the prospect to actually step up,” Carter stated. “I believe they need to take their likelihood; it’s their final 12 months they usually need to show that they’re right here to play, they usually’re right here to win.”
Junior exterior hitter Aydan Bullard and junior setter Nyiah Walker may also be key for the Pirates.
Purnell Swett Rams
Final 12 months, Purnell Swett struggled to a 1-12 report, and misplaced 9 seniors from that group. However with a brand new core group enjoying for the Rams comes the sensation of a recent begin.
“We had a dialog originally of the season that it was a brand new season, a brand new group, a brand new convention — an opportunity to form of begin recent,” Purnell Swett coach Corey Deese stated. “That’s what we plan on doing, to offer it their all and simply to maintain preventing.”
However whereas the Rams varsity program has struggled lately, the JV group — most of whom moved as much as varsity this season — had an excellent season final fall.
“The dynamic’s actually good this 12 months; all of them are getting alongside and dealing exhausting,” Deese stated. “We have now 5 seniors and 7 juniors that every one performed on the JV group final 12 months, so the dynamic of the group is absolutely good.”
Senior setter Chloe Locklear, junior libero Bella Finelli, junior center hitter Georgia Locklear and junior Farron Chavis shall be key gamers for the Rams, who’ve began 1-2 this week.
“(They create) passing capability, simply the battle,” Deese stated. “They’ve plenty of battle in them, don’t surrender they usually simply maintain enjoying, and do very well with one another in addition to on the court docket.”
Purple Springs Purple Devils
Chemistry has been the primary factor missing for the Purple Springs (2-9 final season) program, coach Nicole Strickland says. This 12 months’s version, although, has much more of it than in seasons previous.
“This group of women mesh a little bit bit higher than the group I had final time,” Strickland stated. “Their communication expertise are an entire lot higher, their strategies have improved over the previous season that I’ve seen.”
The senior class for the Purple Devils, who haven’t but performed a recreation, has been enjoying collectively since ninth grade, Strickland stated; their “good rapport” has made enchancment simpler on the court docket.
“Having a superb relationship off the court docket has helped them develop a relationship on the court docket, and it appears to be shifting fairly easily,” Strickland stated. “And skill-wise, they’ve completed nothing however enhance.”
These seniors embrace center hitter Amyah Farrington, a “chief on the court docket by her presence,” Strickland stated, who is robust at each attacking and serving; exterior hitter Anyla Hunt, whose energy is her versatility; Amari McLean, who was libero final season however strikes to setter; and out of doors hitter Yanara Sanders, who can also be a superb server and blocker.
“Their capability to play with one another goes to be their key to success,” Strickland stated.
St. Pauls Bulldogs
St. Pauls was 10-3 in final 12 months’s conference-championship season. Now, because the Bulldogs (1-1) transfer into the brand new Southeastern Athletic Convention, they accomplish that with virtually a completely new roster, a sophomore-heavy group.
“We’ve been engaged on attacking the fundamentals, attacking the basics, getting them working collectively as a group,” stated Glenda Lowery, who’s filling in as head coach this season whereas Jory Barnes is on maternity depart. “Nearly each single lady that’s on the group this 12 months can play a number of positions. In order that’s an enormous factor proper now is determining which mixture’s going to work.”
After final 12 months’s success the Bulldogs know they’re going to be an opponent everybody circles on their schedule.
“After we go in we by no means underestimate anyone, as a result of some individuals are going to underestimate us this 12 months as a result of they know we’re younger; some individuals are gunning for us as a result of they know we have been convention champs final 12 months; and we go in with each group and we strategy each group as if we’re enjoying one other convention champ group,” Lowery stated.
Sophomore exterior hitter Tyasia Baldwin and junior libero Saniya Baldwin are key gamers among the many Bulldogs’ returners; sophomore Katherin Lowery strikes into the setter position, changing 2020 Robeson County Participant of the 12 months Savanna Lowery, together with senior Halie Allen. Sophomores Alexis Carter and Keniah Baldwin and junior Julianna Bell may also be key gamers on the Bulldogs’ again row.
Chris Stiles will be reached at 910-816-1977 or by electronic mail at [email protected] You possibly can comply with him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.
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