Eight is enoughPublished 8:31pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The good news for Washington volleyball coach Kelly Slade is that she has eight players returning from last year’s team that went 12-9 and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1997. The bad news is that this year’s varsity team features only eight players.
Slade, who is going into her third season with the Pam Pack, said that while the roster may be light on numbers it’s heavy on experience.
“We just have a really good core group. The way the team is coming together this year we have a bunch of specialized kids and I’m going to use all eight of them and I will have a couple of floaters from JV for backup,” Slade said.
On the bright side, all of the eight players have been with Slade for at least three years and the Pam Pack coach said that their experience with her and the system is crucial.
“It’s really exciting that I have eight returning players that I’ve had for three years and a few of them I had for four years because I coached them when I was at middle school,” Slade said. “It makes it easier because they know the expectations and they come prepared to work and know exactly what we need to do.”
Slade said that this year’s team is loaded with leaders and comes to practice with a good attitude.
“All of my seniors, which are Megan (Corey) Ann Hunt, Kaylee Jackson and Alana Jefferson, have stepped into a big leadership role and I’m proud of all of them,” Slade said. “Ann Hunt has really showed a lot of maturity and a lot of work ethic this year. She has really transformed into a fantastic leader on the court. She’s our senior setter and she’s just doing her job. She’s comes to practice everyday and today she’s helping out with the middle school kids and she has just become a really good role model.”
The Pam Pack has a little over two weeks before its Aug. 26 season opener at home against J.H. Rose and Slade said her immediate goal is to drill the players on the fundamentals and then work on the Xs and Os aspect of the game.
“The first week or so of practice we’re just working hard on getting our skills to a competive level. We’re working hard on our conditioning and fundamentals,” Slade said. “Next week we will work on getting cohesive with our new group to make sure that we can work well together. We want to just tweak a few things and make sure we get everybody in the right positions before we start working on game plans.”
The Pam Pack will get their first preseason test on Saturday Aug. 17 when it plays a round-robin exhibition that will include future Eastern Plains Conference mates North Pitt and Farmville Central, as well as Greene Central.