While some teams have already gotten their first matches out of the way, local volleyball action kicks into high gear this week with teams inside and outside of Floyd County hitting the court.
With some names old and some new, all of the area schools are hoping to get the season off to a hot start.
Here is a closer look at the squads:
Armuchee Lady Indians
Head coach: Teresa Yandell
Key Returning players: Carlee Poole, So.; Mercedes McLaughlin, Jr.; Brette Bata, Sr.; Grace Stanley, Sr.; Carson Powell, Sr.; Emily Tomlin, So.
Outlook for this season: Teresa Yandell enters her second year as coach of the Lady Indians. Along with a group of returning seniors, Yandell expects freshmen Aubrey Cordle, Bailey Tomlin and Jaslyn Edwards to help out the veteran players. The Lady Indians reached the second round of the Class A/AA state playoffs last year.
Cedartown Lady Bulldogs
Head coach: Matt Bentley
Key Returning players: Rachel Helmes, Sr.; Jessica Neal, Sr.; Zy Washington, Sr.; Campbell Parham, Sr.; Monica Rodriguez, Sr.; Destiny Griffin. Sr.
Outlook for this season: First-year head coach Matt Bentley will have a group of six seniors that will bring a wealth of needed leadership and playing experience. The Lady Bulldogs also play in a tough area that includes Cartersville, which advanced to the Final Four of last year’s Class 4A state playoffs.
Coosa Lady Eagles
Head coach: Nic Hann
Key Returning players: Kasey Thacker, Sr.; Jordan Roberts, Sr.; Brinley Smith, Sr.; Ashlee Bailey, Sr.; Jenna Reynolds, Sr.
Outlook for this season: With most of their starters returning, the Lady Eagles will have a core group of seniors to offer leadership and will be bolstered by some new players, like libero Makayla Nelson. “She is small and feisty, she is quick to the ball, and she isn’t afraid to get on the floor,” Hann said. “We will depend on her to be our anchor in the back row.”
Chattooga Lady Indians
Head coach: Lisa Hughes
Key Returning players: Emily Deberry, Sr.; Jamey Beth Childers, Sr.
Outlook for this season: Another first-year coach Lisa Hughes takes over the Chattooga program that has only two returning seniors on its roster. While stepping into a new role, Hughes will try to get the Lady Indians back to the state playoffs after falling to Pepperell in the opening round last season.
Darlington Lady Tigers
Head coach: Jared Willerson
Key Returning players: Kate Monroe, Sr.; Lucy Bearden, Sr.; Megan Kligora, Sr.; Makiya Mayes, Sr.; Abbie Vaughn, Sr.; Anne Scott Smith, Sr.
Outlook for this season: Jared Willerson begins his third year as coach for the Lady Tigers and welcomes back a bevy of seniors to the Class A/AA Private squad. Willerson said he hopes to integrate the more experienced players with newcomers like Emmaline Ratledge and Lucy Aultman. “We play in a super competitive and tough area,” Willerson said. “If we can make it to state, we should be able to make a lot of noise.”
Model Lady Blue Devils
Head coach: Kendall Roberts
Key Returning players: Brooke Roberts, Sr.; Laura Kate Cole, Sr.
Outlook for this season: Longtime Model head coach Kendall Roberts is coming into her eighth season as coach for the Lady Blue Devils. Despite four seniors, Roberts says her team’s confidence could be one of the biggest obstacles they face this seasons as one of the toughest areas gets tougher with the addition of Bremen and Temple.
Pepperell Lady Dragons
Head coach: Lee Donahue
Key Returning players: Mattie Blalock, Sr.; Kinsey Wright, Sr.; Eva Ellenburg, Sr.
Outlook for this season: Lee Donahue, entering his fifth year as head coach for the Lady Dragons, was able to get his team to the second round of the Class A\AA Public state playoffs last season before falling to eventual state runner-up Elite Scholars Academy. Donahue said his group of seniors, along with the rest of the team, have continued to see improvement during the work they put in over the summer months.
Rome Lady Wolves
Head coach: Katie Price
Key Returning players: Abby Payne, Jr.; Carol Saunders, Sr.; Abby Hart, Jr.; Laramie Johnson, Jr.; Grace Mahoney, So.; Joanna Cordle, So.
Outlook for this season: In her first season as the Lady Wolves’ head coach, Katie Price said her team’s work ethic has impressed her despite its overall youth. “They’re reliable and consistent, and they have a great attitude,” Price said. “It can be hard to stay on that level when you’re younger. They’re always willing to stay after practice.”