Central volleyball teams take shape
Published 8:05 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Central High School girls volleyball tryouts came to a conclusion on Friday as Varsity Head Coach Lisa Word and Junior Varsity Head Coach Karen Justice evaluated the talent on hand for the 2016 fall season.
In 2015, the varsity squad endured a losing season, coming seventh in Conference 42 for the regular season. The year came to an end for the team with a loss in the conference tournament quarterfinals against Mathews High School.
The Lady Chargers move forward into the 2016 season without five players from that team, four having graduated and a rising senior who opted not return.
“We’re definitely going to miss leadership, but I have a feeling we have some upcoming seniors who are going to step up,” said Word, who is in her third year as varsity coach.
Central’s two returning seniors are Brittany Dolan, who set for the team last year, and Kayla Anthony, who was an outside hitter.
Judging from the participants at tryouts, Word was able to make a determination on the makeup of this year’s varsity team: “We’re definitely young.”
Though she was not speaking about who would make the varsity team, she counted five juniors, meaning there was a majority of underclassmen and even younger players present. She said about a quarter of the girls trying out were new to her.
There are many unknowns this early in the preseason, but Word was optimistic about what the 2016 Lady Chargers could do.
“I have high hopes,” she said. “I expect us to improve from what we did last year.”
Bad habits on the court are the biggest obstacle to the team’s success she said she observed during tryouts.
“We need to break old habits, break bad habits,” she said, saying these habits include passing that is not fundamentally sound.
But there were significant positives she saw on display from the girls, as well.
“We’ve made some big adjustments to the way the players do some things, and you can see them at least attempting to make the adjustments,” Word said. “Some of them have corrected the things we’ve asked them to, and some of them are still working on it, but they’re at least taking what we’re saying into consideration and trying to make the adjustments, so I’ve been excited about that. We have also seen a lot of teamwork and hustle in tryouts, helping each other out, backing each other up.”
The junior varsity team will be bolstered by two eighth-graders — Aaliyah Alexander and Abbey Tomlinson — from whom Word and Justice are expecting big things.
“We went down and recruited them from the middle school,” Word said.
The Central varsity team will scrimmage host Greensville County on Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. and participate in a jamboree at Goochland High School on Aug. 27.
The Central JV team begins its season Sept. 1, facing host Prince Edward County at 5:30 p.m.