Flyers: SCC Volleyball Team Pins Hopes on Balance
After a massively successful 2010 season, the Sandhills Community College volleyball team is poised for another strong campaign this year.
Last season, under head coach Alicia Hill, the Flyers (22-8) won the NJCAA Division III District H championship to qualify for the national tournament in Rochester, Minn., where the squad placed seventh in the nation.
Hill feels her current team is ready for another strong season.
“We have five returners back from last year,” Hill said, “so I think that will be to our advantage to have those players, who went with us to nationals, back. It will certainly help in terms of our experience and depth.”
The Flyers’ five returning players are Paige Horne, Michelle Brown, Samantha Morgan, Shana Morgan and Jessica Marion. Horne and Brown are the captains for the 2011 Flyers.
Last year Horne was an all-region selection and led the team in assists, while Brown won the coaches’ award
“Paige was our top setter last season and a strong leader on the court,” Hill said. “Michelle, our other captain, played a little right-side for us last year and will automatically step into that position again this year. She is a strong hitter.
“Both the girls are good communicators and great team leaders.”
Sandhills lost two key players from last year’s squad to graduation in Miranda Love and Sarah Thomas.
Thomas was a captain along with Love and earned all-region honors.
Love earned all-region honors, was a first team NJCAA All-American, made the National all-tournament team, and was player of the year for Region X last year.
“As wonderful a player as Love was, it might to be our advantage because last year a lot of teams zoned in on Miranda and shut her down,” said Hill. “We did not really have anybody else to go to that was at that level.
“In contrast this year we don’t have one truly dominant hitter, which is a great thing because I want all of them to contribute. I don’t want to have one girl stand out; I’d rather have six that are great on the court. So while we have not found a dominant hitter, we have found plenty of consistent hitters, which is what I’d rather have any day.”
Hill, who was the Region 10 coach of the year, is happy with her team’s four newcomers, including Janie Bounds, Chelcey Parker, Sara Randall and McKenzie White.
“Bounds is from Red Springs High School,” Hill said, “and she is an outside hitter we are turning into a middle hitter because she is so tall (5-foot-10). Parker played right side at Purnell Swett (High School) and we are transitioning her into a middle hitter as well because of her height (5-9) as well.”
Oftentimes in college, players have to be able to adapt to playing different positions, according to Hill: a spot different than the spots they thrived in during their prep days.
“So far all our new girls have showed a real willingness to change their position and play where we need them for the sake of the team, which is a positive sign,” Hill said. “They are all also showing the capability of having success at their new spots.
“Our overall communication and scrappiness are there already this season, which is something you hope to have happen in the preseason, rather than midway through the year like it did with our squad last year.”
Hill has also added Morgan Ridge as the new assistant coach on the Flyer bench.
“Morgan is a Pinecrest graduate and played volleyball the past two years at UNC Pembroke,” Hill said, “and so we are so happy to have her. She brings a lot of knowledge and depth to our program.”
The Flyers host Brunswick today (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. in the Dempsey Center for their home opener.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
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