Interested in program

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Florala’s Bailea Rickett (22), who is a senior this season, goes up for a block during a match last year. | File photo

Florala to have 7-9 players on each volleyball squad

Interest in Florala’s volleyball program is growing, Lady Wildcats coach Amanda Varnum said.

This season, FHS will have three volleyball teams for the young program’s first time. There will be a junior high team, which will be made up of seventh graders; a junior varsity team with eighth-10th graders; and a varsity team with 10th-12th graders.

Each team has around 7-9 players.

“I’m excited about the upcoming season,” Varnum said. “I have 11 girls returning to the program and 15 newcomers. I have been thrilled to see how many girls have taken interest in the sport since last season, and it gives me great hope for the future of the program.”

Last year, the Lady Wildcats didn’t make it out of area play. FHS is in Class 1A, Area 2 with Brantley and Kinston this season.

Varnum said as far as goals are concerned, she just wants the girls to have fun.

“Hopefully the winning will fall into place if they’re working hard,” she said. “When I entered the program last year as an assistant coach, I learned that the volleyball program was fairly new to the area and to the girls in general. Some of the girls that had chosen to participate in the program had never even played volleyball and the same goes for our new junior high program this season.”

Varnum added that it’s been a “learning experience” for all parties involved.

“We have made great pains throughout last season and are looking forward to the upcoming season,” she said.

Playing on the varsity squad this season will be two sophomores, five juniors and two seniors — Bailea Rickett and Rebecca Kilpatrick.

With this being Varnum’s first year as a head coach, she said she’s used her experience as a player in her new role.

“I’ve always loved playing sports, from practice to the competition, every aspect of it,” she said. “Having been given the opportunity to play under several inspirational coaches from high school to college, I developed that love of the game and desire to be the best.

“My biggest challenge as a head coach is that I instill that same love of the game and desire to be the best into every athlete that I have the privilege of coaching during my time as head coach,” she said.

Florala’s junior high squad starts its season on Aug. 25 at home against Laurel Hill. Varsity visits Red Level on Sept. 2.