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PREPARING FOR THE YEAR: Local teams take part in T.R. Miller play date

Andalusia, Straughn and Opp’s volleyball teams took part in T.R. Miller’s play date at Brewton Middle School on Thursday to prepare for the upcoming season.

ANDALUSIA

The Lady Bulldogs put on a solid performance throughout the day and look for a strong season in 2018.

“Varsity has played pretty good today,” Andalusia head coach Angie Grimes said. “We still have a lot to work on like our transitions and working on plugging different people into different positions to see who is going to make the right fit. That’s what these summer play dates are all about.”

The Lady Bulldogs had a nice game against Northview after rallying for the win.

Andalusia trailed 13-4 in game one before battling back for a 25-22 win.

The Lady Bulldogs took control early in game two to pick up a 25-20 victory to complete the 2-0 sweep.

“We played ok, but not where we need to be,” Grimes said. “We haven’t really had a lot serving errors. We have forced other teams to make errors. Passing was a good bit better from where it was a couple of weeks ago.”

Grimes said that the girls are coming along nicely, but still have a little way to go before the start of the season.

“The girls look like they are communicating a little bit better,” Grimes said. “Again, we are not where we are supposed to be, but communications seem to be a little bit better. That’s going to come with all these girls playing together. We have a total new team and we are pretty much starting fresh.”

Defense is something that Grimes said the Lady Bulldogs need to work on improving.

“We have to get better in transition and defense,” Grimes said. “We have made a lot of careless errors.”

STRAUGHN

The Straughn Lady Tigers are working with a lot of new faces this year, but still came out with a solid day on the court.

“We looked good at times and we looked bad at times,” Lady Tigers’ head coach Daniel Rodgers said. “This is a lot better than just practicing because we get to face other teams. We had a lot of young girls playing because we only have one senior (Laura Lea Blatz). We are young all the way around so we needed this for experience.”

Rodgers said he was pleased throughout the day with how his team performed.

Straughn’s Libby Barnes awaits the ball.

“Our setters have done a good job today,” Rodgers said. “Our servers have been better today than I thought. I’m really proud of the way we served today.”

Becoming more aggressive on the court is something that Rodgers said they needed to improve.

“We have to work on attacking every ball,” Rodgers said. “That’s why we come to these play dates. We want to see how aggresive they are going to be in a game. Today, we were too passive. We have to get more aggressive with attacking balls.”

Rodgers said he liked a lot of things he saw from his team on Thursday.

“I’m very encouraged with the way that these girls get along,” Rodgers said. “They have been gelling really good and a lot of girls have made sacrfices for the betterment of the team. If we keep that up, we will be fine.”

OPP

The Opp Lady Bobcats started the day off on a strong note when they knocked off Northview 2-0.

“We lost six seniors from last year’s team,” Opp head coach Bridgett Brantley said. “This is a total rebuilding year for us. The younger girls really stepped up with their leadership.”

Brantley said she was surprised with how well the younger girls became leaders.

“They were talking and really working together well on the court,” Brantley said. “They are also having a really good time playing with each other. It’s hard to teach someone how to be a leader, but it has just come naturally to them. They have been learning really quickly and have been working hard all summer.”

Opp’s Addie Jacobs goes up for a block.

In the second match of the day, the Lady Bobcats put up a fight, but fell to T.R. Miller 2-1.

“I was proud of the way that we came out and played today,” Brantley said. “There are some small things that we need to tweek, but this team has really come a long way in a short amount of time.”

Brantley said that playing in these types of events is crucial preperation for the season.

“It really helps you work out the kinks,” Brantley said. “It’s hard to get a lot of the stuff in during practice. We have scrimmages at practice, but my junior varsity team isn’t able to give my varsity the same type of competition that they are seeing here. We are able to work on our rotations and it really helps the mental aspect of the game.”