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Ready to pounce: Cats relying on experience

Published 10:32am Monday, July 29, 2013

Experience and chemistry can take a team a long way, and in the case of the Benjamin Russell Lady Wildcats volleyball squad,  they are halfway there.
Ranked in the top-10 for much of last year, the Wildcats intend to build on last year’s success, where the Lady ‘Cats lost to Spanish Fort in the round of 16 during the playoffs.
“Last year, we had a great season,” BRHS head volleyball coach Pam Robinson said. “We had great chemistry and we’ve got a lot of players coming back.”
Among those players are four-year starter Jernika Russell, Aaliyah Lawson, Chloe Owens.
Key contributor Cookie Kelley won’t be available in the early stages of the season as she rehabs an injury suffered last year during softball season.
Robinson said Russell, Kelley and Lawson are looking forward to serving as leaders of the team.
“Cookie’s a natural leader, and Aaliyah and Jernika are great,” she said. “Those three are the kind of kids that do what they’re supposed to do. They’ve led by example since their freshman year.”
According to Robinson, on paper the team looks poised for success similar to, if not greater than last year provided the team is able to re-establish team chemistry and build depth.
One area in particular will be setter, where Tanasha Wyckoff seems poised to take the mantle from graduated senior Tatum Gandy.
“When it comes down to game time, she’s probably going be setting a lot for us along with  Aaliyah,” she said.
The Wildcats will begin working on building depth and chemistry during a four-day camp at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, which starts this Sunday.
“Camp is going to tell us a lot,” Robinson said. “I feel like I can put six out there that can play, but one thing we have to have is depth. I’ve got to get the kids ready for an uptempo style of volleyball. We’ve got a really tough schedule, and come Super Regionals, they have to be ready.”