The last three seasons has seen Greater Rome well represented on the state volleyball stage. This season will see new teams try to halt that progression and a new coach looking to bring her team into that fold.
Coosa will be in the spotlight once again as the Lady Eagles try to make a run at a third straight Class A/AA Public state title after playing for the championship each of the last three years.
With most of last year’s starters back on the court and a large group of seniors, Coosa head coach Nic Hann, who’s in his seventh season, said his team is expecting more of the same.
“Expectations are high,” Hann said. “The girls have been on the top of the mountain and they don’t want to come off. They know what they need to do to get back, so we’re taking every day to see that we get better.”
While they expect to do well, an incident last season in the state title match was a sort of wake-up call for the Lady Eagles. Coosa dropped the first set against Elite Scholars Academy before bouncing back and winning the next three.
“That shocked the girls,” Hann said. “They felt like they didn’t play their best ball last year compared to the year before. There’s still a lot of people that didn’t see their best, so this is their last chance. We don’t want to slip up and make those mistakes and overlook anybody.”
Returning for the Lady Eagles are 2018 Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association A/AA Public Player of the Year Kasey Thacker, Brinley Smith and Jordan Roberts, all of whom are seniors.
Model, which was ousted in the first round of the state playoffs last season, has a strong group of seniors looking to end their high school careers on a high note and bring the Lady Blue Devils some postseason success.
Seniors Brooke Roberts, Emma Dickinson, Maggie John White and Katie Ingram give head coach Kendall Roberts hope that her team will be a force in Area 6-A/AA Public this season.
“I’m really excited about this season,” Roberts said. “All these girls have worked really hard. I’m just excited to see all they can bring to the floor. They have some big goals they’ve set. They want to strive for excellence. I’m looking forward to seeing them be confident in their play and compete in the area.”
Area 6-A/AA Public, which includes Armuchee, Coosa, Model and Pepperell, will get some new competition this season as Bremen and Temple move in after the GHSA reworked the areas.
Bremen advanced to the Elite Eight of the state playoffs last year, while Temple topped out in the second round. Hann said the addition of the two teams will just make the area even more competitive as teams fight for the top for spots.
“Our area is the toughest in the state and now there are two other playoff-caliber teams coming in,” Hann said. “From top to bottom, all of those teams should be in state. Going from six to eight teams, it’s going to be interesting to see where those seeds fall. Anybody could beat anybody in our area.”
Former Rome High assistant Katie Price is now the Lady Wolves’ head coach a season after the team shocked top-seeded Kell in the Area 7-5A tournament to earn the No. 2 seed in the state playoffs. The Lady Wolves were ousted in the first round, but Price is eager to see the benefits from the team’s hard work in the offseason.
“The girls are really taking to what we’re doing,” Price said. “We’re trying to become better leaders on the court and in the real world, just have more positive energy. They’ve done an awesome job of embracing that. It’s hard. Not everyone has a positive mindset.”