2022 VOLLEYBALL SEASON PREVIEW: Lady Warriors look to turn the page on last season – WEIS

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Cherokee County setter Macy Lea struggles to keep the ball during a drill at a recent Lady Warrior practice. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

CENTER — The 2021 volleyball season hasn’t been the most ideal for the Cherokee County Lady Warriors. Five starters suffered various injuries, forcing head coach Tiffany Rieger to bring in several young and inexperienced players to fill their roles.

The Lady Warriors have struggled throughout the year, but Rieger hopes the test-by-fire experience will pay off in 2022. Judging from what she’s seen from her squad over the summer , the Lady Warriors look set for a big turnaround.

“After all the traveling we did last year, it made this summer very stressful for our coaching staff who were trying to decide who should play where, but having multiple athletes who can be successful in various positions is a big deal. to have,” Rieger said. .

“Our young players have gained so much experience over the past year that it has boosted both their individual self-confidence and our level of talent as a team. reflected the growth we’ve seen over these three months, and I hope and expect that experience to be a big plus for this season.

To help the Lady Warriors hone their game, Rieger asked former Lady Warrior and current University of Alabama-Huntsville coach Jon Moseley to host a camp exclusively with his players. Rieger said Moseley worked with the Lady Warriors on their individual skills as well as the team’s attack and defense.

Assistant Coach Dusty Cothran’s brother, Chris Cothran, also worked with the Lady Warriors on drills specifically to improve their hitting and serving.

Those workouts saw the Lady Warriors go 3-1 on a Supreme Court play date in late July.

“The girls showed a lot of energy and excitement, but most importantly in my book, they showed more mental toughness than I’ve seen in the past,” Rieger said.

“We also played a scrimmage match with Armuchee which was helpful in identifying some areas we needed to spend more time on. In the first week of training, we worked on serving and receiving passes most of the week, then took part in an officiating clinic at Gadsden City last Saturday.

“Coach Dusty and I were both thrilled with the improvement we saw in our overtakes. The girls went 3-0, and we were able to run plays we hadn’t run on play dates. previous ones due to our improved passing technique.

Speaking of passing, rookie Macy Lea returns as the Lady Warriors’ top passer. Rieger said Lea “absorbs instructions like a sponge.”

“She immediately comes out and performs what she’s learned,” Rieger said. “She was able to direct our attack without a hitch.”

Junior Aubrie Abernathy, who will also be serving specialist and defensive specialist, supports Lea at the setter position.

Rookie Nevaeh Gaidurgis and second Vivian Connell will be back in the middle.

“Nevaeh is a very quiet person, but she makes her presence known on the pitch,” Rieger said. “She’s able to hit different sets using different strokes and tempos, which is key to knocking down the opposing team’s defence.

“Vivian is disciplined, hardworking and coachable. We knew she would give us 110%, even if it would take her out of her comfort zone (to play on the right side). She’s not a very tall player (5ft 4in), and I’m sure some people thought we were crazy to move someone that size into the middle. However, she finished last season with the most blocks because she’s always in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.

The Lady Warriors also have the Garmany sisters back in their roster after both suffered season-ending injuries last year. Senior Ella Garmany will play outside and in the middle. Freshman Raegan Garmany will block and hit from the right side.

Joining Ella Garmany on the outside will be junior Anna Walker and sophomore Libby Curry. The defensive players on the roster include senior Karlee Jolly, junior Emilee Paul and rookie Ellisan Givens.

Helping the Lady Warriors turn the page on last season is a new playing field in which to play. The surface of the Warrior Dome underwent a facelift which was completed last month.

“We are so grateful to have the opportunity to play on such a great surface,” Rieger said. “It was a much needed upgrade, and it goes well with our new netting system and new uniforms.”

The Lady Warriors are also competing in a new zone this season: Class 4A, Zone 11 with Ashville and Etowah. Cherokee County played both teams last season.

“I think our zone will be pretty even,” Rieger said. “We each have our strengths, and I think it will be a fun competition.”

Cherokee County opens the 2022 season Aug. 18 in Fort Payne with Scottsboro and Ider.

“We have a wonderful group of girls, both on and off the court,” Rieger said. “They can’t wait to bring CCHS volleyball back to Huntsville for the first time in a long time.”

Cherokee County High School’s Vivian Connell returns a ball over the net during a recent Lady Warrior volleyball practice. photo by Shannon Fagan.
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