Senior support

Published 7:54 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Perhaps for the first time in a long time, Billingsley volleyball is expecting big things.

Aug. 21: vs. Marbury

Aug. 25: at Isabella

Aug. 28: at St. Jude

Sept. 2: at Akron

Sept. 8: at Holtville

Sept. 9: vs. Marbury

Sept. 11: at Thorsby

Sept. 23: vs. Akron

Sept. 30: vs. St. Jude

Oct. 2: vs. Holtville

Oct. 4: Tri-County Tournament (at Prattville)

Oct. 6: vs. Isabella

Oct. 13: Area tournament

One reason is that the Bears made an appearance in the regional round of the state playoffs for the first time in coach Arleshia Lane-Turner’s tenure. More importantly, though, is the presence of six seniors that have made strides in the classroom and on the volleyball court since Lane-Turner arrived.

“When I got here, they were in the eighth grade, and they were terrible,” Lane-Turner said about the players’ play and behavior before softening her words. “We’ll just say they’ve matured.”

Lucretia Love is one of those seniors. She said she and her running mates, after the playoff experience from a year ago, expect even more success this time around. The other seniors are Crystal Motley, Wendy Raines, Emily Thomas, Tiffany Watkins and Jamie Williams.

Lane-Turner is counting on that group to provide leadership for the younger players that will see significant playing time, including sophomores Haley Taylor and Rachel Willis.

Lane-Turner said one of her team’s strengths would probably be its blocking ability at the net. She said she hopes the Bears can be more proficient at running their offense this season. The six seniors give cause for optimism.

Billingsley’s season will begin with a visit from Marbury at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. The Bears this season will compete in Class 1A, Area 4, which also includes Akron and Maplesville. Gone is Isabella, which won Billingsley’s area the last two years (the Bears and the Mustangs will still play each other once). And the status of Maplesville’s team is still up in the air, so Billingsley has a chance to win an area championship by finishing ahead of just one team.

The senior Bears are expecting that and much more.