Lady Tigers’ chemistry sets them apart

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 12, 2015

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The Straughn Lady Tigers’ volleyball squad has spent all summer working towards making another run at the 4A state championship, Straughn head coach Daniel Rodgers said.


“We just want to get better every game,” Rodgers said. “This group got a taste last year in the Elite 8, and they want to do it again. These seniors are very motivated to get back to state.”


This season, the Lady Tigers will rely on team chemistry, and hard work to make it as far into the playoffs as they can.


“This is probably the best team chemistry I have had since I’ve been here,” Rodgers said. “These girls believe and trust in one another. Every one is on the same page, and that makes it a lot easier for me to come to work every morning.”


Rodgers said that the team’s chemistry will be their strong suit this year.


“Our strongest aspect is our team’s camaraderie,” Rodgers said. “I know that sounds cliché, but these girls do such a good job at communicating and teamwork. We also have some good attackers, and have good hitters on the front and back line. We hope to put pressure on people with our attacks.”


Rodgers said that there was no one player that would make or break the Lady Tigers this season, but that they would be relying on all of them to be on top of their game.


Rodgers said Dee Gantt, Lexie Cottle, Ashley Hughes, Hannah Lawless, Meredith Rodgers, Courtney Rodgers, Sarah Langford and Brittany Maddox would be some of the players that will make an impact on this year’s squad.


“All those girls do different things well,” Rodgers said. “Each can impact the game in a positive way. They are all potential difference makers.”


Although Rodgers said that this year’s squad is looking good, there are still things that they need to work on.


“There are always things that can be improved,” Rodgers said. “We need to work on getting good passes to our setters, and not giving up on balls. We also need to work on how to handle adversity. This summer we got some experience with that, but we can still get better at handling the bad with the good.”


This summer the Lady Tigers have shown improvement during play dates and practice, added Rodgers.


“We had a good summer,” Rodgers said. “We went 7-1 this summer, and all of them showed tremendous improvement. They are hungry to prove to everyone how good they can be.”


Rodgers said that goals for this year’s team are to host and win the Class 4A Area 2 tournament, and do well enough in regionals to make it back to Birmingham.


“If they play hard, play their best and play as a team all those goals are reachable,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been telling them all summer that the other teams in our area are working hard this summer, and I’ve asked them what are we going to do that sets us apart.”


Rodgers said this year’s team should be fun to watch, and hopes the community will come out and support them.


“I hope people will come out and support us,” Rodgers said. “We have worked hard at practice and in the weight room. They want to make this school proud.”


The Lady Tigers will open the season at home on Aug. 27 against the Opp Lady Bobcats.


“Opp played us hard last year and I know that they are going to bring it this year,” Rodgers said. “We are just excited to start the season out with them. We just have to be ready for them, because we know they are going to play us hard.”