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Fall Sports Preview: Lady Warriors young and looking for wins

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By Tommie Kendall

Sports editor

In familiar fashion, the Eminence volleyball team will have a young team this season with a majority of middle school, freshmen and sophomore players. And the Lady Warriors are still trying to get back on the winning side of things after a couple of disappointing seasons record wise.

To help point the Lady Warriors in the right direction is new head coach Kristen Lively, who inherited the struggling, but promising, program from Cindy Bohannon. Last year, the team finished with a 2-19 record with both wins against Evangel Christian, and lost to cross-town rivals Henry County in the first round of the district tournament. Before their first win of the season — against Evangel Sept. 5 — the Warriors were riding a 31-match losing streak.

So far, Lively likes what she has seen from the determined group of youngsters, which could lead to the team’s turnaround.

“I’ve been really impressed with the way these girls work together,” Lively said. “They’re so supportive and never criticize. We have a young team that will make mistakes and go through a lot, but we’re working them hard and they’ve already shown progress.”

Eminence lost just one senior from last year’s team, and returns one senior in Sarah Floyd, who will be the team captain and vocal leader. Other starters in the six-person rotation will include Savannah Meadows, Andrea Perez, Chelsea Mathis, Chelsea Wright and Kari Capps. Meadows, who is a sophomore that has started on the team the previous three seasons, will mainly play setter, while Floyd and Wright will also see time setting the ball to teammates. Opposed to previous seasons, when players specialized on specific positions, Lively is trying to get the girls to play every position on the court.

“This year, our players are learning how to play everywhere,” she explained. “We’re trying to get them out of their comfort zone.”

As for the Lady Warriors’ strengths, they have powerful serves and strong setting, Lively said. Plus, their willingness to work together has made their progress that much faster.

The team’s weakness is playing the net, which is typical for a team full of underclassmen.

“We just have a lot of new players that are still learning the game,” Lively said.

Eminence opened its season last Tuesday against Anderson County and will play at Spencer County Wednesday. The Lady Warriors will play Evangel — the squad they defeated twice last season — Aug. 28 and Sept. 16.

“We haven’t set any competition-specific goals yet — just to work well together, continue to improve, things like that,” Lively said. “So far, I think they’ve done a great job.”