Spiking forward at EA

Published 7:51 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
As the temperatures reached the high 90s in the Canoe area, the Escambia Academy volleyball team did not let a little heat stop them from practicing. The squad dealt with the heat and opened practice for the 2007 season Monday.
"We did not practice as I expected we would," EA head coach Keri Payne said. "We had such a good summer of practice and I don't know what happened on that first day, but I can still see so much improvement from the end of last year."
The Lady Cougars went 4-16 in the first volleyball season in almost a decade at the Academy. But Payne said they have set their goals at a reasonable level this year.
"The girls want to go .500 this year," she said. "I think that is a reasonable goal and I added the goal of reaching the regional playoffs. If we can do that then we will progressively set our goals higher. But these girls are so much better this year."
Payne said last year was spent learning the basics of the game of volleyball, like how to bump, set and spike and how to line up. This year Payne is teaching the girls how to be in a certain position no matter where they are in the rotation. And the head coach is excited.
"I am looking forward to this year," Payne said. "I am excited to see just how far these girls have come. These girls now have specialties out there on the court and it will be interesting to see how they do with one year under their belt. I can see that they are more confident out there."
Payne said the hard work and dedication the girls have put in should translate to a big change from last year on the court.
"They will be more competitive this year," she said. "And we have some new girls who have jumped right into it and should be able to help us out. And our girls are learning how to communicate with each other out there."
Entering the 2007 season five of the six starting spots are nailed down, and three athletes will vie for that last spot. Senior Clare Jones will be the main setter, sophomore Jordan Jaye and freshman Amber Huskey will be outside hitters, freshman Taylor Helton will also be a hitter and senior Courtney Bruley will start in the back row as a passer.
Seniors Anna-Lisa McGhee and Talerie Singleton and junior Lauren Wilson will battle for that sixth and final starting slot. Katie Mothershed will be the backup setter on the bench and Macey Singleton and Samantha Lee will also be reserve players.

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