Additional photos associated with this story can be found in the Sat., Aug. 10 edition of the Progress.
There are several positive signs that a post season berth could come sooner than later for the Jacksonville High School volleyball team.
In any sport a productive off season is needed for a team to be able to excel when the regular season rolls around.
“We have a great group of young ladies this year that have put in some hard work throughout the off season, Jacksonville head volleyball coach Corrie Snider said.
The Maidens lost a lot to graduation in the spring, but return a capable mix of players according to Snider, who is now in her second season at the helm of the Maiden volleyball program.
“I think we have a great blend of seniors and underclassmen,” she said. “We have some experience and as a team I think this group is hungry to get the job done.”
During her time in Jacksonville Snider has been working hard to establish a “we over me” mindset with her players.
“I am so proud of my seniors for stepping up and understanding that we have to put the team first if we are going to be successful,” Snider said.
Some of the key returnees for the Maidens include Lauryn Johnson, Tykera Tilley and Tamia Tucker.
“Lauryn will fill the role of Libero,” Snider said. “I think she will grow off of the experience that she got last season and we will be counting on her to help run the defense.
“Tykeria Tilly, another senior, has adapted to whatever role that I need her to fill. She is such a versatile volleyball player. Tamia Tucker is back in the middle position and she is such a force. She works hard and has a great attitude.”
Snider said that the three aforementioned young ladies should benefit from having played spring volleyball.
Snider said that she expects District 16-5A to be challenging, but with several schools having suffered big losses to graduation, the field could be more evenly matched than in past years.
Hallsville and Whitehouse appear ready to make some noise in battling for a league crown this fall.
Snider said the early feedback that she has received about her team has been positive.
“We have already had two days of scrimmages and we have had several (opposing) coaches comment on the improvement they see in the program, she said. “I think it is going to be a great year and I believe that this team has the potential to do some great things...to finally break through and give Jacksonville a long-awaited berth.”
Jacksonville is currently (Thur.-Sat.) playing in the Van Tournament.
The first home match for the Maidens is scheduled for Aug. 27 when Trinity School of Texas comes calling.
John Tyler is set to invade John Alexander Gymnasium on Sept. 13 for the district opener.