How high can they fly?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Pleasant Home Lady Eagles’ volleyball team has made it to the state finals the past two years, but must replace several key starters heading into the 2016 season.

Sissy Martin has started to surprise her coaches with her new found hitting.

Sissy Martin has started to surprise her coaches with her new found hitting.

“I think we are going to be competitive,” Pleasant Home head volleyball coach Jerry Davis said. “We did lose three good players, and we have to find some replacements. I don’t know that we will be as strong as the past two years, but we will still be competitive.”

Despite losing three key players, Davis said he believes that they still have girls that will make them competitive.

“We’ve got some girls that should be able to step in there and really help us out,” Davis said. “We still have River (Baldwin), and she gives us a front row rotation that is going to be tough for anyone to stop.”

Davis said another player that has stepped up has been Sissy Martin.

“Sissy has really done a good job over the summer,” Davis said. “She has started to turn into a hitter, and that’s not something I really expected. I think she has a good chance to surprise a lot of people this year.”

Other returning players that Davis said will help the team are Abbey Walker and Camille Holley.

“We still have a few girls that are returning that give us a lot to work with,” Davis said. “Abbey comes back as our setter, and she continues to improve. Camille also is returning starter that will help us a lot. Our biggest thing, though, is figuring out how to replace those three girls from last year that we lost that never stepped off the court.”

This year, the Lady Eagles also move to a new area where they will match up with Kinston, Brantley, Florala and Houston Academy.

“You know we changed areas this year, and there will be some good teams in there with us,” Davis said. “Kinston is always a good team that makes it regionals, and if we can both make the playoffs we wouldn’t have to face them until the regional championship. The biggest thing will be who matches up in regionals with Isabella. They won it all last year with a pretty good bunch, and they are returning everyone.”

Davis said the other teams in the Lady Eagles’ area will also be tough competition this year.

“It’s going to be a year-long process for us this year,” Davis said. “We have a pretty decent schedule, but I expect the other teams in our area to be pretty good. Brantley will probably have a good team, Florala has been going at for awhile now and keeps improving, but I don’t know much about Houston Academy.”

Davis said the Lady Eagles will find out what they are made up early.

“We start off with Kinston and then the next week we go over there for their tournament,” Davis said. “I think we find out pretty early what we are made of. It’s still going to be a lot of work to replace some girls, but we have girls that have been in our program since the seventh grade, so it’s not like they are just walking in here with no experience. The girls love, I love it and we are all looking forward to getting the season started.”

With the current players, Davis said the Lady Eagles biggest need for improvement will be the back row rotation.

“We have to figure out who are back row will be, and then we have to work on the returning the ball and setting up our hitters,” Davis said. “We have to be able to pass the ball from back to front, but that’s not just us, that’s something every one has to do. This summer, we had a few games and I thought we played pretty well. I haven’t seen River yet, as she has been playing basketball this summer. I’m not to worried about that. She is still going to give us a strong front row that will be tough to stop.”