08/15/04 — Fall sports preview -- volleyball

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Fall sports preview -- volleyball

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 15, 2004 7:27 AM


Coach: Trudi Rast, first season

Last season: Not reported

Gone: Not reported

Back: Melissa Worley, Nicole Hargis, Brittany Rose, Stephanie Daughtry

Outlook: Rast begins to rebuild Princeton into the power it once was. "The team looks strong," she said. "We are working hard as a team. The girls work very well together." Rast likes her team's chances in the conference this season.

North Johnston

Coach: Nicole Davis, seventh season

Last season: 20-4, made second round of state 1-A playoffs

Gone: Janna Rogerson, Martha Godwin, Erin Starling

Back: Hannah Ellis, Kelley Smith, Robyn Creech, Candice Renfrow, Amanda Pope, Candace Evans

Outlook: The Panthers are an example of the good getting better. The senior class has improved their play and leaders are starting to emerge. The team went to camp and summer league to tighten up in basic team play and focus in on the details. Davis has four returning hitters. The only weakness is in a lack of height.

Greene Central

Coach: Kevin Hart, first season

Last season: 5-13

Gone: Fernanda Brown

Back: Peoria Wade, Tekita May, Miriam Sheppard, Shenika King, Brianna Stanton

Outlook: First-year coach Hart, who is also the boys basketball coach, likes the effort he sees from his team and their daily improvement in practice. "We expect to be very competitive in the conference if we continue to improve at the current rate," hart said. He acknowledged the dominant teams in the league as North Lenoir and South Lenoir -- "these teams have been perennial powerhouses in the EPC," he said.

Eastern Wayne

Coach: Bruce Burridge, fifth season

Last season: Not reported

Gone: Ginny Narron, Ashley Mewborn, Laura Jones, Kristy Berends, Ann Teng all graduated; Angela Lane is not playing

Back: Kristin Elliott, Anna Wilkins, Deniz Alemdar, Lauren Williford, Lindzy McDonald

Outlook: Burridge has a mix of experienced returning players and some new talent in to replace a large graduating class from last year. The conference race should be fairly even. With a lot of team down with graduation losses. Burridge sees West Craven, Southern Wayne, South Central and Charles B. Aycock as contenders, and he hopes his Warriors will be in the mix with them.

Southern Wayne

Coach: Brian Bandy, second season

Last season: 3-18

Gone: Marquita Bines, Sandra Spasojevic

Back: Scarlett Joyner, Jamie Neimond, Samantha Otellio

Outlook: Bandy has brought back a more experienced team, which does a much better job communicating and covering the floor defensively. Serving ins a weakness, but it is being worked out. "We are more of a team and the new offense installed this summer is catching on quickly," said Bandy. The coach said the conference is more even this season, with West Carteret and Charles B. Aycock emerging as favorites. "But that doesn't matter," he said. "Our goal at Southern Wayne is to win a conference championship in volleyball."

North Lenoir

Coach: Heather Humphrey, fifth season

Last season: 23-3, advanced to eastern 3-A finals

Gone: Hermia Humphrey, Brandi Whaley, Mary Catherine Mills

Back: Chanee Lynch, Randi Moulton, Leslie Oliver, Shannon Plymouth

Outlook: Humphrey loses three important team cogs to graduation, but brings back a deep bench and solid returning players in Lynch, Moulton, Oliver and Plymouth. The Hawks dominated the Eastern Plains Conference for the past two seasons and will be competitive again.


Coach: Jennifer Cochran, seventh season

Last season: 13-3, lost to Topsail in first round of 1-A playoffs

Gone: Five seniors have graduated, including Jennifer Boren and Nikki Strawn

Back: Seniors Jessica Hill, Katy Morris, Hannah Aycock and Morgan Wheeler; up from the JV are Abagail Barrow, Kelli Gurley, Clare Narron, Kasey Grey, Brooke Goff and Stephanie Rhodes.

Outlook: A powerful core of players from Rosewood's 11-1 JV team meshes with four experienced senior players to give the Eagles a potent team that can compete for a conference title. "Our fundamentals are pretty strong," said Cochran. "We just have to work on playing together, and that might take some time." The Eagles have experience, a potent offense and solid middle blocking. The Carolina Conference has talented teams in Farmville Central. North Johnston and Ayden-Grifton, and Cochran expects surprising showings from Princeton and North Duplin as well. "I look for us to finish in the top two, if we are consistent," she said.

Charles B. Aycock

Coach: Davis Harris, fifth season

Last season: 20-3, conference champions, second round state 3-A playoffs

Gone: Alexxis Kirkland, April Vick, Jackie Schmidt, Joyce Warrick, Mindy Glover, Jennifer Williamson, Jessy Lamb, Lauren Wooten

Back: Lindsey Newman, Julia Lancaster, Jenny Jackson, Chrissy Setleff

Outlook: Serious graduation depletion have altered the look of the Falcons this season. Coach Harris has a shorter team that he thinks is scrappy and will hustle on the court. While most of the returners are not as seasoned as last year's team, the strength of the Aycock JV program should provide a strong core of talent that should push the Falcons into playoff contention. Harris sees West Carteret, Eastern Wayne and South Central as the league's toughest teams.


Coach: Ronnie McClary, first season

Last season: 3-17 overall

Gone: None

Back: Ashelyn James, Camille Early, Helga Bryant, Tiffany Burden

Outlook: McClary, the assistant varsity basketball and track coach, will take on the Cougar volleyball program this season. The team did not graduate a player and many of the athletic players from the basketball team are on the roster. McClary thinks the team can build on last year's lessons and be better all around. Eastern Wayne, Charles B. Aycock and West Carteret appear to be the teams to beat in conference play.

North Duplin

Coach: Heather Best, second season

Last season: 2-10 in Carolina Conference play

Gone: Sharrie Faison, Amy Arthur

Back: Sierra Ward, Bethany Malcolm, Jamie Vinson, Julie Ivey, Brittany Carr, Emily Deibert

Outlook: With just two starters gone, a core of players with some experience and a talented mix of young players, confidence is up in Calypso as Best says she sees a "positive outlook on the team and the conference." More growth is in store for the Rebels as the team continues to mine the potential of the squad. The Carolina Conference should be as tough as always this season, but Best expects to see some improvement in her squad.

Wayne Country Day

Coach: Juliet Pinder Jones, first season

Last season: 11-3, lost in first round of state playoffs

Gone: A.F. Conpton, Carolyn Ziemer

Back: Amanda Benton, Heather Daughtery, Amanda Knutson, Laura Ziemer

Outlook: Jones, a standout player at Eastern Wayne High School and at Mount Olive College, comes to the Charger program that lost just two seniors from last season. Four players are back that played last season, which provides valuable floor leadership. Jones sees Kerr-Vance Academy and Greenfield School as the chief conference competition. "I think the team will do well this year," she said.

Teams not reporting -- Spring Creek, James Kenan.