LAUREL HILL — If all goes as planned, on Oct. 23, Laurel Hill School's varsity volleyball team will defend its District 1-1A volleyball title.
Coach Kent Zessin, who returned to coaching the Hobo volleyball team last season after a three-year break, likes Laurel Hill’s chances for the repeat.
The Hoboes are coming off an 18-8 season in 2013 and have a good mixture of veteran and younger players.
“I’ve got three real good seniors that have been playing with me since the last time I coached,” Zessin said. “They were actually in the seventh grade so I kind of started them off so it was good to get back with those girls and be with them as they finish up.”
The seniors — Zessin’s daughter, Bridgett, Morgan Meeks and Ashley Hatfield — will be joined by a group of talented sophomores.
“We are going to have the three seniors along with eight or nine sophomores,” Coach Zessin said. “I feel like as the year goes along those sophomores, with the playing time they are going to get, will grow up pretty quick.
“If the seniors show the leadership, and the sophomores learn quickly from them, I think we are going to be a strong team again at the end of the year.”
Kaylee L’Homme is the sophomore class' cornerstorne, having started last season as a freshman. Rachel Welsh saw significant playing time as a freshman and is battle tested.
Grace Reese, an athletic 6-foot-1 sophomore, is playing volleyball for the first time. But Zessin said Reese is quickly showing that, with a little seasoning, she can be a force at the net.
“Grace and Kaylee give us a little bit of size,” Zessin said. “We have two girls that are at least 6 (feet). And Bridgett is a hard hitter.”
Laurel Hill will again play in a three-team District 1-1A with Central and Bethlehem.
“I feel like we have good depth and we will progress as the season goes along,” Zessin said. “We were able to slide some people in (to positions) this summer in camp and at practice.
“We were 8-2 at the Troy (University volleyball camp). I was impressed with what we were able to do. I think we are going to be OK.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.