Higher Hopes: Tribe raised the bar last season, expectations climb in 2013Published 1:56pm Saturday, August 17, 2013
The conversation about Wetumpka High volleyball has changed after their record-setting 10-win performance last season.
When Margaret Bowens took over as coach, the goal was to win games. Then it became matches and, this year, it’s to compete with Thompson for control of the area and a berth into the postseason.
“We have some experience returning,” said Bowens. “They are young, but they are experienced, and really, this may be the most athletic group I’ve put on the floor. And that’s going to be awesome this season.”
This season’s iteration of Lady Indians volleyball takes the court sans a senior on the roster. It’s filled with juniors and sophomores and a handful of underclassmen that will float between the varsity and junior varsity and in one case, the C (middle school) Team.
It’s also a mixture of the school’s best female athletes, drawing from softball and basketball to mix with girls that have grown up in the school’s volleyball program.
“This is a team built for the next few years,” said Bowens. “I had to replace a setter, a middle hitter and some back row players.”
Hannah Benton transferred in from PCA and will fill one of the middle-hitter voids.
“She’s a 10th grader and brings some knowledge to the team,” said Bowens. “She’s athletic and has experience with club ball. She’s going to be with us for a while.”
She also brought in 6-foot Zomoria Clark from the Lady Indians basketball team. And Bailee Schone returns to lead the Lady Indians at the net and on the court.
“Her experience and her exposure to our style of play: She’s going to be our leader this season,” said Bowens. “And we’ve been looking for that.”
Lauren Lett will step into the setter role replacing three-year starter Jackie Stultz.
“Softball phenomenon,” Bowens said with a laugh. “She’s stepped up and learned our offenses and learned the 5-2 and the 6-1 that we are going to use this year. She’s been incredible.”
Leah Hill has also moved into the setter position and will share time with Lett during the season.
There have even been a handful of surprises.
“Tadajah Jackson, last year was her first year,” said Bowens. “But it’s like she’s flipped a switch, turned over a new leaf or something. She’s stepped up a lot and when she’s on, she’s on. She’s aggressive with a lot of power and will play outside hitter for us.”
Her sister, Minojah Jackson, will also see some time in the rotation along with Mia Mitchell, another transplant from the softball diamond.
“Last year we set the standard and I really look for us to exceed that,” said Bowens.
Wetumpka will be tested early as they open the year against 2A Prattville Christian on the road Aug. 29.
PCA made it to the round of 12 in the AHSAA Super Regionals before losing in Montgomery.
“I feel like if this group wants it, and the competitive spirit is there, I think anything is possible,” said Bowens.
One of the main goals, for this year’s Tribe is to compete with Thompson and Prattville for a first-berth into the postseason.
“It’s great to be in this position now,” said Bowens. “If they stay focused and aggressive, we’ve got a good shot.”