Wando, PCA, Bishop England volleyball teams off to solid starts this season

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Wando volleyball team lost in the 4A Lower State championship last year to Aiken, 3-2. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEXIS GLOVER

Great defense wins championships, but you likely can’t win a title without a solid offensive attack. The Wando volleyball team’s strength this season is currently its offense, and the defense needs a little seasoning as the Warriors aim to return to the Lower State championship game this year.

“We have very good power and strong hitters – even our new players on varsity are very good hitters,” coach Alexis Glover said. “Because we are a taller team, defense is sometimes an issue. We will work every day in practice to make the transition from offense to defense smooth.”

Last season, Wando lost to Aiken, 3-2, in the Lower State title match.

The Warriors won the second and fourth games before losing by two points in the fifth, and deciding, game.

“Our goal is to push past the disappointing loss to Aiken last year and play for the state championship,” Glover, who was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame, added.

Wando lost six seniors from last year’s group but return all-state and all-region setter Natalie Tucker, all-region outside hitter Britney Vallez, outside hitter Daley Gosnell, right side hitter Maddie Kennedy, middle hitters Elisa Aldrich and Samantha DeJong and DS/liberos Alex Casale and Megan Morris.

“The tough thing to replace with this group is the experiences they had together,” Glover said of the six graduated players, “because this particular group of graduates had been playing volleyball together since seventh grade.”

Glover noted the Tournament of Champions, Sept. 20-21 at Dorman High School, as an event where the Warriors will face “our biggest competition of the season.”

The field consists of teams from the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Wando is 8-2 so far this season with home matches on Wednesday against Bishop England and Porter-Gaud.

Palmetto Christian

The Palmetto Christian Academy volleyball team returns one starter from last season’s 15-6 group. In their first year of SCISA 2A, the Eagles lost to Spartanburg Christian on the second day of the state tournament after an 11-3 region mark.

Five players – all starters graduated – and only six players return to the court. “It’s always tough for a coach to find replacements for a varsity team,” coach Alyssa Woodhall said. “I am excited for this year’s lineup. The girls have stepped up, and we are on to a great start. The girls realize they have big shoes to fill and haven’t let me down.”

Woodhall said with so much roster uncertainty from her team and the Eagles’ other region opponents, the goal this year is to “stay grounded fundamentally.”

“We may not march through the season so easily, but we will still be tough to beat,” she added. “I aim for consistency in all things and want my girls to strive for perfection.”

Among Palmetto Christian’s strengths are hitting and passing. The Eagles spend at least half of their practices working on passing in serve receive or individual defense, Woodhall said. They have to improve on serving and consistency.

Last season’s rival was Holly Hill Academy, which the Eagles split their matches. “I am looking forward to a fresh start this year. I believe everyone graduated key players this last year, which will make the games a little more interesting,” Woodhall said. “I am just ready to start up region play to see where my girls will stand and what all they can accomplish.”

Bishop England

The Bishop England volleyball team aims for its 13th consecutive state championship this season.

The Battling Bishops swept Chesnee in the state finale last year in three games: 25-20, 25-12, 25-19.

They’re 6-0 so far with a pair of matches on Wednesday against Wando and Porter-Gaud.

Coach Cindy Baggott did not return multiple requests for comment.

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