Lady Wildcat volleyball looks for redemption in 2014Published 10:19am Monday, August 11, 2014
The Edgewood Academy volleyball team’s offseason improvement search began with the cohesiveness it lost when it counted last season.
While some chalk up a semifinal finish to their season a positive, to the Lady Wildcats who won the AISA Class A state championship in 2012, it left a lot to be desired.
“Last year was a huge disappointment. I think it crushed all of us at the end; it was unexpected,” rising senior setter Mady Weldon said Thursday at practice. “We all didn’t work together, we just didn’t mesh like we needed to at the end of the year.”
The loss to Bessemer Academy at Faulkner University, after winning the first set of their semifinal match before dropping three straight sets, provided this year’s team with self-determination, said new EA coach Jessica Sharker.
“They got so far last year and they know what it’s like to be close. I’m trying to feed their self-motivation, and help them help themselves,” Sharker said. “They’ve been practicing hard, worked out all summer. I asked all of them what their goals were and every single one of them said ‘state.’ I’m just motivating them as much as they’re motivating themselves.”
Seniors Weldon, Katrina Harden and Kara Wilson will follow all stars Kaylie Courson and Hannahlee Harris in leadership roles.
“We got great leadership coming back. They lost some, but honestly there’s not a big slip in leadership or talent,” Sharker said. “The time I’ve been with them, since the time started practice, I’ve seen lot of good things. We have a really talented group I think.
“I know it’s hard when a new coach comes in with a different style of play. But I’m really excited to put them out and play against somebody. They’re eager as well to play somebody.”
Comfortable in leading her team there, Weldon said its up to her and her teammates to reset the Edgewood tradition to the volleyball program.
“I think we’ve got to work together better this year. We all mesh together, we’ve all grown up playing with each other,” Weldon said. “There’s a couple of new girls, but we work together fine. If we keep working hard, I think undoubtedly, we’ll be competitive.
“(Last season’s loss) pushes us all the more to get the championship back on our side, to win it back for us and for this group to keep it going, to start a new tradition for girls sports, with softball winning and we won it in 2012.”
Redemption starts when the Lady ‘Cats open the 2014 season at home against non-region opponent Northside Methodist Thursday.
“Just like any other game, we’ll go out like its region game or a state title game. We’re going to play hard, go hard to the very end,” Sharker said. “That’s part of the Edgewood tradition. They want hard work and dedication all the time.”
EA will serve it up Thursday, following the JV game.