Young Tigers finding their way

Published 9:09 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

The Tigers are learning to get their roar back.

The Chilton County High volleyball team is trying to replace the skill and leadership lost when four starters—Tylita Harrell, Rocio McMullen, Xavi Parker and Vernice Trimble were lost to graduation.

“We’re getting there,” second-year coach Misty Jones said. “We have a lot of young girls out this year. They’re going to have to learn how to be aggressive.”

Filling the roster spots are four junior varsity players from last season: freshman Jahoya Austin and juniors Jessica Bell, Kaylen Bradberry and Rachel Johnston, who played some with the varsity last year.

But it will be up to more experienced players to replace the lost leadership. Jones said junior Renee Lewis and sophomore Lauren Stewart are taking on the responsibility of pushing their teammates. Lewis and Stewart will share two other responsibilities: setting and being the team’s primary hitter, depending on where they are in the rotation.

Stewart was the setter last year until a shoulder injury forced her out of the lineup for a couple of games toward the end of the season. Stewart returned for the regional tournament, but Jones said she’s looking forward to seeing Stewart at 100 percent for the first time since the injury.

Lewis played last season for Pell City.

In an effort to bring out her young team’s aggressiveness, Jones said the Tigers have spent much practice time with competitions. CCHS plays a game, Queen of the Court, in which the winning team of three players stays on the court until a set amount of time has passed. Then, the three winners get to dish out punishment to their teammates.

“Some of the girls are harder on them than the others,” Jones said.

If it helps the Tigers be hard on their opponents, it will be worthwhile.

2009 schedule

Aug. 20: at Isabella

Aug. 25: vs. Thorsby/Montevallo at Thorsby

Aug. 27: vs. Demopolis*

Aug. 29: at Calera Tournament

Aug. 31: at Carver-Montgomery*

Sept. 3: vs. Jemison

Sept. 8: vs. Bibb Co.

Sept. 10: vs. Isabella/Calera

Sept. 14: at Jemison

Sept. 15: vs. Selma*

Sept. 17: at Demopolis*

Sept. 19: at Jemison Invitational

Sept. 21: at Marbury

Sept. 24: vs. Thorsby/Montevallo

Sept. 28: vs. Carver-Montgomery*/Selma*

Oct. 1: at Bibb Co.

Oct. 5: vs. Shelby Co.

Oct. 6: at Calera

Oct. 10: Chilton County Tournament

*-area match