Building for success… Lady Warrior volleyball looking to lay a solid foundation in 2021
Published 12:06 am Thursday, August 12, 2021
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
To say excitement surrounding the volleyball program at Happy Valley is growing exponentially would be an understatement as, after a year of being benched due to the COVID pandemic, the Lady Warriors will be looking to a senior top-heavy squad to pave the way for future Lady Warriors who will compete in volleyball at the high school level.
“We have nine seniors which is really awesome. We are coming off a COVID year where the team really didn’t get to do much so we are really excited,” said head coach Alexandria Craft. “We got to practice all together and had a camp with Milligan University where we really grew a lot in that camp. We are big enough to have both a junior varsity and a varsity. Both teams will play all the games.”
Although the Lady Warriors have only 13 games scheduled this season, the team is working hard and according to Craft, a large part of that growth is coming from learning how to communicate correctly during the matches.
“We have a few home games but we have some really great servers and a lot of leaders on the team,” said Craft. “We are teaching them how to talk right now because volleyball is really about communication. We have been stressing that the last couple of weeks and have been drawing up some new plays.
“I think it’s going to be a really great season.”
If there is one thing that Craft is hoping comes out of the season, it’s for the younger players in the middle and elementary schools to see the potential in volleyball on Warrior Hill and hopefully one day don the maroon and black as Lady Warriors.
“We are hoping to grow the program and get a middle school program but for now we are just trying to grow the high school,” Craft added.
One thing that the Lady Warriors will not be lacking this season is some tall ladies to play at the net. Craft was asked about being blessed with the height on this year’s squad.
“Height is awesome,” Craft said with a chuckle. “When we saw a couple of the girls walk in we were like ‘Thank the Lord’.
“We are going to put them at the front. We have six senior starters and those starters are really tall. Some of these girls are really interested in playing volleyball in college so height is something college coaches look for.”
Craft said that the JV team is really progressing well this season as some of the players hadn’t even picked up a volleyball until their tryouts so Craft is expecting it to be a growing year on the JV front.
The coach was asked how she would characterize a successful season if by wins or some other baseline goal.
“A successful season for me is that I want to finish it out with the seniors leaving happy. We don’t necessarily have to win every game, we just want them to grow as people first and foremost,” Craft shared.
“We did implement rules where grades come first so if students are achieving in class we expect that to transfer to the court. We want them to communicate with each other calling plays and being able to execute those plays.”
One thing that Craft would like to see this season is for supporters to come to Warrior Hill and support her team both to encourage growth of the sport at Happy Valley and to bring a high level of energy for her team.
“I think it’s extremely important,” said Craft. “We don’t have a lot of girls’ sports that are well supported – especially in the county so I think getting support behind the volleyball team is important. We want to have a middle school program because a lot of our competition has a middle school program.
“I hope people will come out and support us because the girls do notice. I think it’s fun and you as a fan really do get into the game being close to the action in the gym. We do have a girl from Hampton so that’s exciting.”
The Lady Warriors open up on August 16th at TEACH which will be played at Carver Gym. Game time is 5 pm and will feature both the JV and the Varsity teams.