DeAnna Smith

Submitted / The Herald DeAnna Smith will take over the Wetumpka varsity volleyball program this season.

After spending two seasons at the helm of the JV volleyball team at Wetumpka, DeAnna Smith will move into the role as head coach of the varsity program for the Indians. It will be Smith’s first job as a head coach since 2011 when she was at Satsuma.

“I’m really excited about it,” Smith said. “We’re hoping to really start pushing the program forward and I think we can do some big things here in Wetumpka.”

Smith has 15 years of experience of volleyball coaching at the high school level and she hopes to use that experience to take the Wetumpka program to the next level. The Indians have won back-to-back area tournaments but have lost in the first round of regionals in each of the last two seasons.

“I would really like to see us have more success at the regional tournament,” Smith said. “I feel like our program is at the point where we are expected to win the area so now we want to grow on that and start winning some matches at regionals.”

Former coach Margo Thomas stepped down from the job earlier this year and Smith has spent the majority of the offseason with the varsity team. The Indians have had several play dates throughout the summer and visited a camp in Pensacola, Florida hosted by the University of West Florida.

“We’ve gotten to see the team together pretty frequently this summer,” Smith said. “I’m feeling good about what we have. I’ve coached most of the players at the JV level already so I know we have a lot of talent and desire to win.”

Smith said her time with the JV squad has helped with the transition of introducing a new coach. She said she has already gotten a good response from the players on this year’s response.

“They look to me as someone who has already been their coach before instead of someone who is brand new,” Smith said. “They are used to my style of coaching and they know my expectations as a coach.”

With less than a month until the first match of the season, Smith said she wants to her to keep things simple in practice and workouts leading into the fall. Wetumpka has one final play date at Montgomery Academy on Thursday before turning its focus to the first week of practice Aug. 5.

“You really want to hone in on those basic skills,” Smith said. “Plus, we’re focusing on that physical fitness and mental toughness. We want to be on the good side of those tough points once the season starts. I’m feeling pretty good about where we’re at right now.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.