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Williamsburg Academy High School
Kingstree

Williamsburg Academy volleyball making strides in 2017

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Kingstree – As a former decorated all-state athlete at Williamsburg Academy, Anna Taylor is happy and proud to be coaching volleyball at her alma mater in 2017.

Taylor works locally at a funeral home and is currently in the process of obtaining her state mortuary license, which she plans to parlay into a full-time career. But coaching is more than a hobby. Taylor enjoys teaching the game and has developed a strong bond with her current team.

“Coaching allows me to stay involved in sports and be around the girls and help my school too,” Taylor said. “It’s serious work but it’s also fun. I enjoy the coaching part a lot and I think it’s even better because I’m doing it here.”

Taylor began as an assistant two years ago and was thrust into the head position late last season. She managed to salvage a spot in the state playoffs last year and was given the full-time position as head coach for this season.

Her 2017 squad is competing well. With five region games left on the schedule, Williamsburg is in position to earn another state tournament playoff berth. The Stallion are 3-4 in a competitive region that includes Thomas Sumter, Palmetto Christian, Carolina Academy, Northside Christian and Robert E. Lee Academy.

“We are doing pretty well overall but still working on being more consistent,” Taylor said. “We have a good group of girls. They are playing hard. We’re pretty equal in terms of talent. We don’t have any star players. All of them are about the same and I just ask that they give a good effort.”

Taylor’s varsity roster has six seniors and five underclassmen. Three seniors – Marti Easler, Madeline Heathcott and Hannah Morris - are regular starters and play consistent minutes. Easler and Morris are outside hitters along the net while Heathcott is a setter. Junior Madison Lamb is the other setter.

“We run a two setter rotation because it seems to fit us best and the girls seem to like it better,” Taylor said. “We tried one setter last year and the girls never really got it. They are more comfortable with the two setters.”

Juniors Madi Watford and Allie Brown also work as starters, along with sophomore Kendall McKenzie. The other three seniors coming off the bench are Ragin Huckabee, Madison Strong and Emily Smith. Junior Skyler Graham also comes in off the bench.

Taylor sees great potential in the program in the future. She says 28 players attended tryouts for the junior varsity program. She also has a b-team program this fall.

The junior varsity team is off to a 7-2 start. Among the key performers on that team are seventh-grade setter Neely Lamb, eighth-graders Billie Easler and Billie Anne Patrick, and freshman Hannah Miles.

“The jayvee team is competing really well and there is some good young talent that should be helping the varsity pretty soon,” Taylor said. “There is good interest in the sport right now. We are really excited about the future. Hopefully we can build the program up and continue to grow.”

Another program continuing to grow is the girls’ tennis team. The Stallions are nearing the end of their 2017 season and have shown good progress.

Jeana Faye Reynolds plays number one singles this fall. Milli Brown is playing two singles and Olivia Didonato is playing three singles and teams with Reynolds at number one doubles.

 Kayla Arnau plays four singles and joins Brown as the number two doubles team. Caty Osean is playing five singles and Liz McKenzie is playing sixth. McKenzie teams with Claire Kellahan at number three doubles.

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