We don’t know if Calhoun High School volleyball coach Nic Hann is using a theme or a slogan right now as inspiration for the rapidly-approaching season.
But in listening to him talk about where his group of girls are with the start of the season only days away, it’s hard not to picture him wearing a hard hat and a yellow safety vest while coming out of his office with a sign above the door that simply reads “Under Construction.”
“Things are going well, but right now we’re building it,” Hann said. “We’ve got a young team, but they’re very talented. We just don’t have a lot of experience right now. But we’ve got a lot of athleticism and a lot of players who can do different things and are versatile, so I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I think we’re getting a little better everyday and with a young team, I think we will continue to do that. But right now, we’re building.”
And while they may have lost six of the top eight players in their rotation from last year’s team that reached the 5-A Sweet 16 and was only a couple of wins away from the state tournament, Hann said his players know despite most of them being green, the Yellow Jackets still have title aspirations.
“The girls know that we expect to have another good season,” Hann said. “We expect to do well in the region. We expect to get into the playoffs and make a deep run. We had a great season last year, but we want to go even farther this year. We may be young and may not have a lot of experience, but the girls know that we expect to do well.”
Senior outside hitter Abi Locklear and junior middle blocker Ace Pritchett are the two most experienced players among the returnees from the 2020 squad. Both worked their way into the starting lineup as last season went along and have looked good during the first couple of weeks of practice, according to the coach.
Senior right-side hitter Kenadi Morgan, junior outside hitter Baylie Burns, senior middle blocker/right-side hitter Dora Moore, senior libero Cate Monon, senior outside hitter Andrea Anderson and junior setter Lauren Watson are the other girls back from last year and Hann said it is a solid core to build on.
He said a couple of other younger players like freshman setter Kate Watson and sophomore middle blocker Ayla Hiles have also been impressive and are definitely vying for time on the court.
“The biggest thing for us right now is simply to get that experience,” Hann said. “We want the six girls we put on the floor to be able to play together and work together and that is something that generally only comes through experience. So we might make some mistakes early because of our youth, but I really believe this group has a chance to be special and do some great things once we get a little more experience. “
The Lady Jackets will be home Thursday, August 5th for a 5:30 p.m. scrimmage against Rome and Hann said he is anxious to see his team take on a team wearing a different jersey.
They will open the season Thursday, August 12th with a 5 p.m. home match against Pickens/Heritage.