A loaded team

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lady Blue Devils court several seniors, juniors

Loads of juniors and seniors make up this year’s Escambia County Lady Blue Devils volleyball squad.

For the duration of the summer and since school began, ECHS has been getting ready for the start of the fall season. The Lady Blue Devils’ first game is slated for Sept. 5 at home against Hillcrest-Evergreen.

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Making up this year’s varsity squad includes seniors Alleria Brooks, Alexia Bryant, Destiny Freemon, Darieon Gibson, Tyeisha Hall, ShaDiamond Harris, Zaria Smith and Adrienne Tedder. The juniors are Sierra America, Angelica Clack, Darriona Nichols, Jacala Nickson and Tytia Woods.

For some years, the Lady Blue Devils’ program has had several new volleyball coaches.

ECHS first-year volleyball coach Stephanie Buitron said the girls know her from teaching them in ninth grade.

“I teach all of the ninth grade, and everyone of them has had me as a teacher,” Buitron said. “They know me. They know my approach to discipline, whether it’s on the court or off. That’s made a big difference in their willingness to be here all summer with me to do summer workouts and getting in shape.

“The level of respect we have for each other we developed in the classroom has developed to the court,” she said.

Buitron, who is an active duty service member with the Army National Guard, said the girls went through a rigorous workout regimine, including the hated 5-4-3-2-1 workouts.

“They hated the planks,” she said. “We would take the first 5 minutes, do a minute of jumping jacks, a minute of lunges and back and forth. We did some running and some wall sits.”

Buitron said the workout’s purpose was to get strength in the girls’ legs and upper body.

Buitron said the team’s strengths will be along the front row on the court.

“I’ve got some girls that can really spike that ball,” she said. “I also have a few of them that can really serve.”

As far as goals for the season, the girls want to have a winning season, Buitron said.

“They’re very glad they know that I’m not going to leave them,” she said. “We had a camp at the end of July. Someone from Auburn University came and hosted a camp, and the girls got a lot of help. It opened up their eyes a little bit on what they needed to do.

“Our senior girls are very willing and wanting to play,” she said. “The team has a good family atmosphere to it. The girls all seem to get along, and they help each other.”