The Process of a Gary Volleyball Athlete


Leann Youngblood, Staff Writer

Each summer, girls wanting to participate in volleyball start with summer league. To play volleyball, each individual needs to participate in the two-a-days recommended by the coaches at the beginning of August. Ranging from freshman to seniors, the girls are divided by their skill into two teams – one being a varsity team that includes the more skilled girls and a junior varsity team that includes girls who need a little more development in their skill. Once divided and school begins, the both teams have two weeks to practice. Both Varsity and JV teams practice in the main gym.  Practices start at 3:45-5:45 unless told otherwise. After the two weeks of preparation are over, both teams will join together and travel away for a few play days. The number of play days each team will participate in can vary each year. Each team has one coach. If the teams play at different times and at the same destination, both coaches will join in on coaching from the bench. The girls Varsity head coach for this year was Tamika Hubbard and assistant coach was Mitchell Skeen. A few scrimmages and tournaments take place before district arrives.

During this recent year, the varsity team had four tournaments and the junior varsity team had two tournaments. Every year, the varsity girls have one big tournament that lets them participate in a team bonding activity and spend the night in a hotel. After pre-season is over, a meeting will take place with the two coaches and players to decide who the team captains will be throughout the season.

For the 2016 season, the team co-captains were Taylor Rodgers and Leann Youngblood. The team consisted of four seniors- Cara Coligan, Kristina Bell, Davi Letter and Kylee Tompkins, two juniors- Leann Youngblood and Taylor Rodgers, two sophomores- Madie Davis and Sarah Yourbrough,  and two freshman- Briley Edwards and Alexis Rowe.

Opening night of district against San Augustine on September 9th of 2016.  The district opponents included San Augustine, Carlisle, Leveretts Chapel, Timpson, Shelbyville, and Overton. In district the Lady Cats record was 10-2 in 2A Region 3 District 20, state rank was 703, and their national rank was 9,405.

At least once a week the girls would plan a team meal and a night to build team chemistry. Once district came to a end, Bi-District arrived. The team faced off against Hawkins in Bi-District and ended with a win in three sets straight. Next, was the first round of playoffs against Detroit. Sadly, the girls took a devastating loss of 3-2. Their season came to a end; however, the returning girls will prepare to advance even further the next year to come.