Young lady ‘Dawgs team hopes for solid season

Published 12:04 am Saturday, August 11, 2012



Even though Andalusia’s varsity volleyball squad will be a little young this season, Lady Bulldogs seniors Steffanie French and Shambrieka Burnett said they believe they’ll have a good team this year.

French and Burnett are two of three returning starters for the Lady Bulldogs this season. The other returning senior is senior Jennifer Botta.

AHS head volleyball coach Angie Grimes said basically this year’s team will be “new.”

“My whole entire varsity graduated except for Shambrieka,” Grimes said. “You’re looking at a whole new team.

“Jenn and Steffanie I pulled up last year (from junior varsity) to play in tournaments, but they didn’t start.

“We’ve been working and having camps,” she said.

The Lady Bulldogs worked over the long summer, getting fit for the new season with its off-season work out program instituted by assistant coach Teresa Herring.

This summer, AHS held its camp at the school, where instructors from Middle Tennessee State University came to help the Lady Bulldogs work on what needed to be done, Grimes said.

“They design the camps based on what I need them to do,” she said. “She (Herring) does morning work outs with them. So, we’ve been trying to keep them busy and active all summer and it’s worked out well.”

It’s worked out so well that French and Burnett said they can’t believe the season is upon them.

“It came really fast,” French said. “We lost a lot of good starters, but we have a lot of young players that I hope we can be really good.”

Burnett echoed French’s thoughts on the team.

“Mostly, everyody is doing well right now,” Burnett said. “If we keep doing what we’re doing in practice, and everybody shows good sportsmanship, we should be good this year.“

Defensive sets were drawn on a dry-erase board that was propped up against the bleachers at a recent practice, showing where players need to be positioned on the court.

French and Burnett said this year, especially, the team is learning how to “read” defenses well.

“That’s going be key because when you go up against teams, you don’t know like how they serve, how they hit,” Burnett said.

When asked what sort of goals the team had in mind for the season, Grimes said she just wanted to make the team a little bit “stronger.”

“I know that we’re going to have to play defense better than what we’ve played before,” she said. “That’s probably one of our goals is to be a better team on defense and be able to read the other team, and be smarter.

“That’s one thing I’ve tried to be real patient with them, and at the same time, working on a lot of technical things,” she said.

This season, Andalusia has Monroe County in its area, which means it will get an automatic bid to play in the Class 4A Super Regional in Montgomery in October.

French and Burnett said they were thrilled when they heard they are able to play in the Super Regional.

“I was excited,” French said.

Burnett added: “Especially since we don’t have to worry about Calera.”

Andalusia fell to Calera last season in the sub-state round.

Burnett said she thinks of that match quite often.

“It didn’t feel like I was a junior,” Burnett said. “I was more like a senior. I was so mad after that match.”

The Lady Bulldogs will get its season under way on Sat., Aug. 25, at Kinston. Game times to be announced at a later date.

French is the daughter of Gina and Steve French; and Burnett is the daughter of Quinita and Sidney Burnett, all of Andalusia.