Isabella hopes students make home court an advantage

Published 8:27 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Isabella’s volleyball team has been looking forward to a return to the Elite 8 state tournament since they performed poorly on that stage one year ago.

But first the Mustangs (34-10) must get by Flomaton in the sub-state round of the playoffs, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We haven’t talked about [the state tournament] in a couple of weeks,” IHS coach Glen Graham said. “We have to take care of business Thursday. That’s what we’re focusing on this week.”

And most of that focus is on Flomaton middle hitters Tara Gafford and Jasmine Lee, both of whom stand at least 6 feet tall.

Graham said Isabella should be used to defending tall, strong hitters, having to go against 6-foot Amber Wyatt every day in practice.

“It shouldn’t be anything new for us,” Graham said.

But the hosts will also have to contend with the serving of Avery Godwin and Sarah Steele.

Graham scheduled the match to begin at 1:30 p.m. in hopes that a large turnout of students will give Isabella a home court advantage.

“We’ve got the advantage: we’re playing at home, and they’re traveling,” Graham said. “We’ve set up it to have the advantage.”

The Mustangs have lost only one match at home all season, a 3-2 setback to LAMP on Sept. 27.

“I really think it comes down to our team,” Graham said. “If we play the way we’re capable of playing, I really think that the only team that can beat us is ourselves.”