GAYLESVILLE – Youth is having its day for the Gaylesville Lady Trojans this volleyball season.
The Lady Trojans are replacing six seniors from last season, leaving head coach Bryan Young little choice but to dip into the younger grades to help fill out the varsity roster this season.
“It’s going to be one of those seasons where we’re just going to have to wait and see what we have,” Young said. “We knew what we had the last two years. It was just whether we were going to perform well that night. This year, we don’t know what we have. We know we’re solid in a couple of areas. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“We have two seniors and a junior. We’re looking for that leadership role on the court, both vocally and the way they perform. We’re going to have to fill out the remaining of the varsity squad with young people who haven’t had much playing time, other than a few JV games they had last year.”
Senior Malaya Shireman is the Lady Trojans’ most experienced returning player. She will play at middle hitter. Joining Shireman in the middle is sophomore Andreah Calvert.
Sophomores Natalie Baty and Delaney Coker will occupy the outside hitting positions. Young notes that Coker, the sister of former Lady Trojan Savannah Coker, had been setting for the junior varsity and junior high teams last season, but had a growth spurt of about four inches over the summer.
“We had a need for an outside hitter, so she has come up doing that,” Young said. “She’s got technique. She’s just learning timing. Once she gets that timing down, she’ll be a ball player like her older sister Savannah was.”
Senior Chelsey Cagle and junior Peyton Bright are the Lady Trojan setters. Freshman Sydney Smith and sophomore Savanna Crane could also see playing time on the varsity squad.
Even though many of the Lady Trojans will be learning on the fly, several of the other teams in their area will be doing the same.
Joining Gaylesville in Class 1A, Area 13 is Cedar Bluff, Coosa Christian and Valley Head. Each of those teams also lost a lot of experience. Valley Head, who the Lady Trojans open their season with on the road Thursday, is just in its second year of playing varsity volleyball.
“We’re grateful that every school in our area seems to be in about the same boat as we are,” Young said. “We feel confident we’ll be in every game. Hopefully we won’t let the same mistakes in the past get us this year, which is mainly serve and serve receive. That seems to be our two weaknesses every year.”