ACS looking for wins on volleyball court

Published 5:01pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Atmore Christian volleyball team was successful last season , and head coach Michelle Yoder is excited by the challenge to repeat the high expectations this season. Last year, the team finished the season with a 6-4 record, good enough for second overall in the West division of the Panhandle Christian Conference. As a result, The Lady Rams made the Conference Final Four. Yoder is hoping to see similar results this season, despite losing a first team All-Conference player Taylor West, who moved to Daphne.

The Lady Rams will lean on their other first team All-Conference player, returning senior Narisa Wiggins. With a younger team this season, the veteran leadership of Wiggins should prove to be critical.

“This is only our fifth season, our fourth having JV and Varsity,” Yoder said. “So, we’re a young team, a young program.”

The team had a scrimmage against Escambia Academy last week and Yoder liked what she saw out of her team.

“I was pretty optimistic. I tried out a lot of new people,” Yoder said, adding, “They did really well in the scrimmage.”

Yoder said she always feels a sense of renewed optimism, thinking with each passing year the teams get better. Every year, she thinks ‘this is the best team we’ve had.’

“I think we’ll be the best we’ve ever been again,” Yoder said.

Beyond fielding a younger squad, one of the major challenges is Yoder believes teams in the area have all improved. However, she embraces the challenge, saying she’s excited by the improved level of play.

Atmore Christian will travel to Milton, Fla. to take part in the West Florida Tournament on August 23 and 24. Yoder said the tournament is part of their preseason. The season will officially get under way on Tuesday August 28 when the Lady Rams host Christian Collegiate Academy from Gulfport in a conference game.

Christian Collegiate Academy has a first team All-Conference player of their own in Lindsey Roberts. The Lady Bulldogs finished with a respectable 5-5 record, so the game may be closely contested.

Yoder has been impressed with the crowds at the team’s home games.

“To me, for a volleyball game in the South, it seems like we do well,” Yoder said. “Parents are really supportive and that helps.”

Like any coach, Yoder said she would not mind seeing even more people fill the stands. Ultimately, she wants to see her team enjoy the game and get better throughout the course of the season.

“We’re having fun and learning,” Yoder said.

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