Rebs to lean on experience at net

Published 6:25 pm Friday, August 12, 2011

Back for more: Thorsby this season will lean heavily on the experience of Desiree Evans, one of the team’s returning seniors.

Thorsby’s volleyball fortunes in 2011 will hinge on the productivity of a group of net players long on experience and skill.

The Rebels return five players at the hitter and blocker positions who were regular contributors on last year’s squad.

THS finished with a winning record and advanced to the regional tournament in 2010.

Defensive specialist Kendra Dawson and setter Holly Smith must be replaced after long, productive varsity careers. Both were good enough to have the opportunity to make their way onto college teams, Dawson with Judson College and Smith with the University of Mobile.

Three players have practiced at Smith’s vacated position, though sophomore Keela Lucas might earn the most playing time there in her first year in the program.

Thorsby coach Ginger Williams said setter is the most difficult position for a first-year player.

Eighth grader Emily Spain and senior Desiree Evans are also working at setter.

“Desiree just has volleyball experience,” Williams said. “She has good hands so she is able to make some of the most difficult plays look a little easier.”

But Evans will spend most of her time as an outside hitter, where she will join Spain, junior Jackie Holcombe and junior Kaitlyn Langston.

Middle blockers Sade Archie, a senior, and Jennifer Spivey, a sophomore, also bring experience to the net.

Another senior is Taylor Gibson.

“Overall, we’ve got more experience than we did last year,” Williams said.

But the back row will feature several newcomers, including senior Whitley Hines, who like Lucas is playing her first year of varsity volleyball.

“They’re working hard, and they’re improving every practice,” Williams said. “That’s what you want; that’s what you look for out of new players.

“I told the girls, ‘We just want to be playing the best ball we can at the end of the season.’”

2011 schedule

8/18 at Sylacauga

8/20 Super Saturday at Thorsby

8/22 at Montevallo

8/23 West Blocton

8/25 at Isabella

8/27 at Calera Invitational

8/29 at Calera

8/30 Chilton Co.

9/1 Holtville

9/8 at Jemison

9/13 Maplesville

9/15 at Holtville

9/17 at Jemison Invitational

9/20 at Horseshoe Bend

9/22 Fayetteville

9/26 Billingsley

9/27 at West Blocton

10/1 Chilton County Tournament