09/06/11 — SC volleyball confident in young team

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SC volleyball confident in young team

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 6, 2011 1:48 PM

Spring Creek's varsity volleyball team believes it has a realistic chance at either contending for the Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season championship, or returning to the postseason this fall.

The Gators claimed the program's lone league title in 2007.

They haven't earned a playoff berth since 2008.

Still, anything is possible. Spring Creek returns six players off last year's team which won just one league contest. Three seniors -- Bianca Morato, Lolita Correno and Kelsey Rogers -- understand their leadership role and realize it will take all nine players to accomplish either goal.

Spring Creek has adopted the "We're in it to win it" motto, but the seniors want to make sure the Gators "exhibit good character on and off the court, while performing our best on and off the court with our heart and mind."

The potential for improvement is there.

Eighth-year head coach Deanna Morris has noticed better communication on the court, and has seen glimpses of strong play in the first three matches of the season. The Gators (1-2 overall) defeated Wayne Country Day, but dropped outings against Southern Wayne and Wayne Christian.

"We've got some girls who are working hard and dedicated, so I am excited," said Morris. "This is the best team I've had in a long time as far as gelling and we want to keep that going for the season. We want to play hard, have fun and of course, play to win."

Morris said the team is trying to incorporate plays into its offense, but needs a little more consistency in its passing game. The Gators have also worked on serving to specific area and watching the defense to find open spots for off-speed hits.

"We want to attack the opponent's weaknesses a little better," said Morris.

Six experienced players will be called upon to groom JV call-ups Olivia Martinez (sophomore outside hitter) and Ashton Ross (junior middle hitter), and freshman setter Sarah Ford. Morris will also depend on sophomore Corrie Archer (defensive specialist), sophomore setter Diana Correno and junior libero Gracia Aguirre to execute each match.

The Gators return to action Sept. 12 against Eastern Wayne and open conference play the following afternoon at home against 2010 Carolina co-champion Princeton.

"Our conference has always been a strong conference," said Morris. "We have good coaches who work hard and girls in our conference who work hard. We have to really step it up to be competitive in this conference.

"(Every night) it's going to be anyone's game and who wants it bad enough."

Spring Creek has six playoff wins in program history, including three in 2007 when Morris' Gators lost at perennial power Louisburg in the eastern semifinals. The 2008 squad stunned Coastal Plains champion Topsail in the opening round and fell to league foe Princeton in round two.