MIDDLEBURG - Of course, with much of the ballyhoo around centered around football and a new exciting season about to start, let’s not forget that Clay County volleyball has also seen it’s surge …
MIDDLEBURG - Of course, with much of the ballyhoo around centered around football and a new exciting season about to start, let’s not forget that Clay County volleyball has also seen it’s surge into state prominence with Ridgeview High leading the way with a seventh straight district title.
“We hold up that honor of seven titles in a row and we remind these players that that is the standard around here,” said Ridgeview second year coach Stephen Henry, who kept the momentum of former coach Destiny Brightman’s string of six titles earned before departing to athletic director at Orange Park High School. “We had a power front line last year with Elaina Reynolds, Zoe Whaley, Teeya Desgoutte and London Francis now gone leaving junior Haley Robinson as the one force of power returning to the net.”
Whaley tendered a track appointment to U.S. Army West Point after her state level high jumping with Desgoutte heading to Drew University in New York.
Henry liked Robinson’s explosion on to the scene last year with her and Francis offering a formidable blocking duo at the net.
“Haley was a fantastic freshman addition for us and she played fearless against the level of teams we played,” said Henry.
Henry does have his back line ace in senior libero Kasey Casiple who brings her near 600 digs back on the defensive end of Henry’s attack. Henry also named Bri Adams, a libero on Henry’s club team for two years then had a growth spurt.
“Our key this season will for the defensive back to get the big hits back to the net for scoring opportunities,” said Henry. “Last year, we had the big cannons up top that could sway games with one stroke. This year it will be a game of long volleys and strategic strikes up front We are not very big at the net so our strikes must be quickly over and on the floor.”
At the first week’s practice, Henry had alum Desgoutte helping out giving the new faces a chance to see what high flying lightning bolts look like.
“She’s off to college and looks really sharp,” said Henry. “It’s nice that the kids can see the results of her hard work.”
Henry noted he may have just one senior starter and will rely on youth to chase the eighth title.
“We have a new assistant coach Kristie Cessna, who coached with us two years then came back,” said Henry. “We had Jauhna Smith, a former Ridgeview MVP, who went back to college for her masters degree.”
One addition for Henry is former Fleming Island hitter Makenna Clark, a junior who comes in with 111 kills last year.
“She will have an immediate big impact,” saied Henry.
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