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A team that has chosen to commit… Ivester looking forward to second season at helm of Jr. Lady Cyclone volleyball

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
After her first season as head coach of the T.A. Dugger Middle School’s volleyball program, Kendall Ivester believes entering season two that the sky is the limit for her 2020 Jr. Lady Cyclones.
“This team has so much potential to be great if we can put the basic skills together and play as a team,” said Ivester. “I am excited to see where this season takes us.
“I know we will face challenges, but we will face them head-on and overcome them together!”
Ivester pointed out that for her team to be successful this season, they will need to learn how to shake off mistakes while learning how to play as a team.
She also stressed the importance of her squad being able to get their serves over the net and within play as well as be successful in passing the volleyball. If these aspects of the game come together, the major components will be in place for the Jr. Lady Cyclones to be a great team.

Entering her second year, there are expectations that Ivester has coming into the new 2020 season.
“My expectations for this program are quite simple… I want these girls to have confidence in themselves on and off the court,” Ivester said. “I want them to grow in the game of volleyball.
“I want them to love the game of volleyball and learn what it means to play as a team and never give up. I want them to know mistakes are proof that you are trying, and we are in this together.”
Ivester believes that being around the team for her first year will pay off huge entering her second season paving the way for an unforgettable season.
Knowing how the girls’ work will allow Ivester to build off the familiarity to develop a strong, well-knit team both on and off the court.
Ivester took a moment to highlight some of the players that she will be looking to as this year will be starting out with a fresh varsity team.

“Most of them were on JV last year and the amount of growth I’ve seen in these girls is phenomenal,” she said. “A few key players will be Jocelin Julian who is the lone setter for our team. She sets the tone of our offensive.
“Another key player will be our libero, Zyleigh Bates – she is always on the court being vocal and leading the defensive with accurate passes and positivity.
“Ainsley Wampler and Lainey Snodgrass will both be key players,” Ivester continued. “They are both outside hitters and there is never a moment when I can’t count on them to get the kill and hype the team up.
“Finally, Zoe Proffitt who plays the middle and brings the heat with her kills and leadership. She encourages her teammates and that is one thing that every coach loves – a leader.”
Ivester, like most coaches, acknowledged that she puts a lot of undue pressure on herself as a coach because she wants her girls to get the most out of the game of volleyball.
Just getting on the court will be one of the biggest challenges in 2020 with the constant battle with COVID-19 makes enough waves on it’s own.
However, once the Jr. Lady Cyclones do take to the court, Ivester said the greatest obstacle will be learning to fight off miscues.

“In volleyball, it is crucial to shake off mistakes because ready or not, the next play is about to happen and whatever just happened is in the past and the next point is a new chance to dominate,” Ivester pointed out.

Ivester feels like the 2020 season is up for grabs among the teams in the conference. The key to which team comes out on top hinges on which team is willing to work the hardest in the off-season and that gives it their all no matter what.

The second-year coach was asked what she would call a successful season.

“I feel like anyone would say being Conference Champions and moving forward from that,” she said. “But I also think a successful season for me would be for each girl to become better in the game, become closer, learn what it means to be a teammate and a leader, to learn their self-worth, and gain confidence.”
Each team always seems to have its own distinct character and Ivester was asked how she would describe the team that she has assembled to take the floor in 2020.

“If I had to describe this team in one word I would choose committed,” commented Ivester. “No matter what, they show up.
“During this pandemic, they could have stayed at home, but they chose to try-out for the volleyball team. They show up every day at practice, they give their all, and they are committed to making whatever this season ends up being, the best we can make it.”