Commentary: This IHS team could be best ever

Published 8:29 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Glen Graham has put some impressive teams on the court during his 13 years as Isabella’s volleyball coach.

Every one of those squads, dating back to the beginning of the program, has won its area championship. With Wednesday’s appearance by the 2010 Mustangs, eight of Gra-ham’s squads has made the state tournament.

So, it was interesting to hear Graham compare this year’s team to some of his others.

Graham said this squad could be the best ever at Isabella–if it finishes in the top four of the Elite 8 tournament at the Pelham Civic Complex. That would require a win in the first round against Pleasant Valley.

But when Graham looks back on this team, no matter whether it wins its first match on Wednesday, I think he will consider it his best.

Amber Wyatt is the most decorated player in the program’s history. She set new records this year for most kills and most blocks in a season. She is Graham’s first player to post triple digits in three different statistical categories (kills, blocks and aces) in the same season. And fellow senior Jessica Maciel now owns the IHS record for most assists in a season.

These Mustangs are undoubtedly more powerful than any Isabella team that came before them. When they’re playing their best, Graham has said, it would be difficult for anyone to defeat them.

Consistency is the key–being able to play at a high level even when it seems to not be their day–and playing together as a team. Team captain Heather Mason said Tuesday this team is closer than last year, and the two squads featured most of the same players. They’ve simply matured together and learned they must depend on and trust each other in order to achieve a new level of success.

Graham said on Tuesday that if he could take this 2010 team back to some of his seasons earlier in the decade, he thinks Isabella could play for, and maybe win, a state championship.

The Mustangs might not make it that far in this year’s state tournament because of improved competition across Alabama, but the 2010 team could still be the best in school history.

A win on Wednesday would remove any doubt.

–Dawkins is the assistant managing editor for The Clanton Advertiser.