LADY TIGERS FINISH STRONG: Seniors help guide Straughn to successful year

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Straughn Lady Tigers’ volleyball season ended just shy of a trip to Birmingham after a strong push in the Class 3A playoffs.

“I’m just so proud of the way that this team got better,” Lady Tiger head coach Daniel Rodgers said. “I was also very proud of the way we developed leaders during the season. That was big because we graduated two really good players and leaders the year before and I was anxious to see who was going to step up.”

Rodgers said that his four seniors, Hannah Lawless, Mandi Cottle, Laura Ashley Jones and Sydney Kinsaul, were the players that grew into the team’s leaders.

“My four seniors stepped up in a big way,” Rodgers said. “Even though we had four seniors, we still had to play a few freshman and sophomores. Those seniors showed a lot of patience with the younger girls and the put them under wings.”

A lot of the Lady Tigers’ growth comes from the brutal schedule that they played.

“This was the toughest schedule that we have played since I’ve been coaching here,” Rodgers said. “We were able to get some quality wins and I was proud of the girls for not cowering to the schedule. That was able to help us improve on and off the court.”

The Lady Tigers also upped their game tempo during the year, Rodgers said.

“The biggest thing we improved on was our quickness of play,” Rodgers said. “We started playing a lot faster and that was part in credit to the younger girls getting more comfortable. It was also because of the good teams that we played and all of them played fast. The girls knew that if we wanted to get better that we had to pick up the pace.”

Rodgers said that the Lady Tigers turned a corner early during area play.

“I think the girls figured out after that first time we played Opp that we weren’t where we needed to be,” Rodgers said. “We didn’t play real well and the girls knew that. They embraced some changes and really came together as a team. The next game against Enterprise we came out playing better and we continued that the rest of the season. The Opp game was kind of a wake up call for us.”

This is season has been a success and know Rodgers looks forward to getting ready for 2018.

“In the time I’ve been coaching, this is the most improved team that I’ve ever been around,” Rodgers said. “I’m so proud of what they accomplished. Thanks to this team and especially my four senior, Straughn volleyball continues to trend in the right direction and now we are looking forward to the future.”

Straughn’s Lawless will sign with a college later this week to continue her volleyball career at the next level.

The Lady Tigers have now had at least one girl sign a college scholarship the past two years.

Last year, Ashley Hughes signed with and now plays for Auburn University in Montgomery.