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Growing pains

After adjusting to a new coach then taking some lumps while gaining experience, there are no more excuses for the Thorsby Rebels not to win, coach Ginger Williams said.

Well, except maybe that the team could play this season without the aid of a home court advantage for any of its matches. The Thorsby High School gym is getting a facelift, something that could mirror the remodeling of the Thorsby volleyball program since Williams arrived two years ago.

For more pictures from Thorsby’s practice, visit our Spotted site

“We can’t complain,” Williams said about the project at the gym that will cost the Rebels many home matches this year but will add to the program in the long run. “It’ll be worth it.”

The team got an earlier start on its job to improve. Thanks to the second consecutive summer (for most varsity players) of intense workouts, Williams said she now has a team in significantly better shape. From March to May, every player improved her maximum lifts in the weight room by 15-20 pounds, assistant coach Keith Williams said.

That alone could yield a more confident team, and Williams said confidence will be the key to how the Rebels perform this season.

Aug. 21: at St. Jude

Aug. 23: at Douglas Invitational

Aug. 23: vs. Isabella, Billingsley (at Isabella)

Aug. 26: at Calera

Sept. 4: vs. Jemison

Sept. 5-6: at Oak Grove Tournament

Sept. 8: vs. Sylacauga, Chelsea (at Sylacauga)

Sept. 9: vs. Vincent, Clanton

Sept. 11: vs. Billingsley

Sept. 15: at Marbury

Sept. 16: vs. Marbury, St. Jude

Sept. 18: vs. Calera

Sept. 20: at Jemison Invitational

Sept. 22: vs. Isabella, Montevallo

Sept. 23: at Jemison

Sept. 29: tri-match at Montevallo

Sept. 30: at Chilton Co.

Oct. 1: vs. Altamont

Oct. 7: at Vincent

Oct. 11: County tournament (at Jemison)

“Last year, it was like we would get close to winning, and we would get nervous,” Williams said. “I would rather us go out aggressive and make mistakes than not to try because we can correct the mistakes.”

Another reason for increased confidence out of the Rebels is simply that it’s another year: most of the Rebels have another season of game experience and off-season work under their belts. Only two of last year’s varsity players were lost to graduation – so senior Haley Smith; juniors Jenny Fonseca, Michelle Hendrix, Brittney Maddox, Stephanie Moore; and sophomores Kendra Dawson and Holly Smith, all of whom played last year, should make Thorsby one of the county’s most experienced teams.

“We don’t have the excuse of being young anymore,” Williams said.

The team will be deep, also. Williams said 45 people tried out this year for all levels, so players had to be cut for the first time since Williams took over. And there are two newcomers in senior Tara Fulmer and junior Kelsie Davis.

So, will these ingredients yield a better team? It’s too early to tell, but the Rebels started in the right direction with a 7-1 record against the Class 4A Douglas High School varsity and junior varsity teams on July 22.

“I’m just hoping that rolls over,” Williams said.