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Johnsonville High School

 

Johnsonville volleyball poised to continue strong run next season

By Justin Driggers

Consulting Editor

Johnsonville – There was a fairly big group of seniors that graduated from the Johnsonville volleyball squad prior to this season.

“The younger players had a group of older players that they looked up to, and I think wanting to play like them was a huge part of them stepping in and filling those roles,” head coach Nell Alston said.

 A mostly young Lady Flashes squad kept the winning tradition alive this season with a 15-3 finish in the regular season; a second-place region finish and a berth in the second round of the state playoffs.

There were just three upperclassmen on the team this year, but the two seniors – Maelyn Thompson and Kirby Blakely – were big presences around the net.

“My two seniors have been with me since the seventh or eighth grades, and they’re really strong players,” Alston said. “Having the younger girls since they were in seventh and eighth grades played a big part, too, because they work just as hard.”

That hard work paid off as the season progressed and the team began to gel together and acclimate to a couple of new roles, Alston added.

“They’re a very aggressive group,” Alston said. “The work ethic was there. They like to work at something until the get it right and they worked hard at it this year and played well.”

Sophomore libero Sophie Thompson was one of the younger group of players to step in and perform well. Outside hitter Taniya Timmons was another along with 6-foot-3 sophomore middle hitter Niashia Graham.

Stephanie Squires took over as a new setter this season and played well, Alston said, along with Laney Evans and Kailyn Hucks.

The younger group will now take center stage for next year, and Alston believes the squad will be a strong contender in the coming years.”

“We’re not going to be as big overall,” Alston said. “But some of those younger players are going to have to step into bigger roles and bigger challenges and I believe they’ll be able to do that.

“I believe this team will get stronger in the years to come.”

In football news, Johnsonville completed its season with a 50-24 loss to Hannah-Pamplico. The Flashes finished the year 1-9 overall and 0-6 in region play.

 

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