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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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