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Thomas Walker volleyball hoping to join Eastside, Cove atop Cumberland

Kevin Mays • Aug 23, 2019 at 2:23 PM

Eastside and Rye Cove are again the frontrunners in Cumberland District volleyball, but Thomas Walker made some noise last year and is expected to challenge again.

Here’s a look at the teams around the Cumberland District heading into the volleyball season.

EASTSIDE

Balance is the name of the game for the Lady Spartans after finishing 17-9 last season.

“I have 12 very athletic girls,” said Eastside coach Brianne Bailey said. “All 12 have talent. We just got to get out there and play. The more we play together as a unit the better we’re going to get.”

All-Region 1D hitter Anna Whited, a junior, returns to lead the team, while several others are returning for a strong year for Eastside.

Seniors Hailey Mitchell and Kassi Large return to the rotations, along with libero Kacie Jones. Senior Kaylee Yates will also be a valuable member of the rotation, along with sophomores Leci Sensabaugh and Tinley Hamilton – who will work as setter this season.

Senior Laura Lanteri, juniors Cloey Bailey and Bryanna Campbell and sophomores Lexi Love and Savannah Stanley will add valuable depth to the rotation.

RYE COVE

Last year was a solid one for the defending Cumberland District champions.

This year, the Lady Eagles face quite the rebuilding challenge with new coach Britney Salyer taking over for long-time coach Greg Gilliam, who resigned after last season.

Rye Cove finished 19-9 last year and lost five seniors from the squad, including the district’s player of the year, Callie Richardson, the district’s libero of the year, Grace Rhoton, and the All-Cumberland player Abby Vicars.

Only four players with varsity experience – seniors Emily Bishop, Kara Smith and Kaleigh Sloan and sophomore Laken Sharpe – have varsity experience.

The quartet will be the focus of the squad, while seniors Mattison Horton, juniors Cassidy Roach, Emilee Carlson, Brooke Robinson and Luisa Martinez and sophomores Ashton Horton, Makayla Harless, Eva Roach and Rileigh Parsons will provide support in the rotation.

THOMAS WALKER

There is a lot of excitement about volleyball around Ewing this fall.

“We are looking to compete for the district championship,” said Thomas Walker coach Kristen Parker. “But for that to happen we have to be able to handle pressure situations.”

The Lady Pioneers had one of their better seasons in recent memory last year, finishing with a 14-9 mark.

This year seven players who played valuable roles in the rotation, including setter Bella Schwartz, libero Savannah Hall, and hitters Tayln Dibrell, Madison Mayes, Lakin Burke, Abby Bullins and Megan Moore, are back.

Looking to also contribute this year are outside hitter Autumn Collinsworth, setter Tenley Jackson and backrow players Kaytee Livesay, Chantel Sloce, Kaitlyn Hobbs and Morgan Hudson.

J.I. BURTON

The Lady Raiders finished last season with an 8-10 record and only eight players on the squad.

This year, six of those eight are back for coach Donnie Potter.

Senior Akyssa Hollinger makes a dramatic change from libero to middle hitter.

Also back for the Burton are senior Madison Bohnert, Naomi Torres, junior Bailey Sturgill and sophomores Breezy Motz and Kenzie Franklin.

The Lady Raiders will have some depth this season with junior Hannah Wells and freshmen Abigail Adams and Alena Bowen.

“We are young this year but we have a great team,” said Potter. The girls are working really hard and the team chemistry is really good. What we lack in height we hope to make up for in heart.”

TWIN SPRINGS

It was a tough season last year for the Lady Titans.

Twin Springs went to five sets in several games, but could never get over the hump finishing 0-20 on the year.

Things are off to a better start for coach Autumn McConnell’s squad this season.

“This group of girls have a good chemistry. The communicate well and that is what it is all about,” said McConnell. “We are a young team it is starting to come together. The more they play together the better they will be.”

Outside hitter Chloe Lane, who finished with 117 kills last season is back, for Twin Springs, along with Chloe Burke and Kaitlyn Wallace and defensive specialist Hannah Fields.

Emma Dingus will add depth as a hitter, along with Ryliegh Gillenwater and Neveah Darnell.

Rebekah Owens and Savannah Rhoton will play on the back row, while Chloe Gilmer and Megan Dougherty step into the setter position.

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