The start of August has brought about the beginning of the prep volleyball season for local programs.
Roswell won 21 contests and advanced to the second round of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class 7A playoffs in 2018. The Hornets return four seniors and nine players overall starting with junior outside hitter Makaila Haislip who had a team-high 315 kills last season. Junior middle blocker Mariah Haislip notched 302 kills for Roswell. Both sisters will be captains for the team this year. Senior Kennya Sykes is a four-year varsity starter at middle for the Hornets.
“Makaila is the hardest working player in the gym and takes her role as a leader by example very seriously,” Roswell volleyball coach Naomi Kirk said. “Mariah has only grown bigger, smarter, and faster on the court. She is an unbelievably versatile player who has such an incredible ease on the court and yet very difficult attacker to defend; Kennya has the most incredible energy on the court and has a great swing and outrageous elevation.”
Roswell opens the season at Kennesaw Mountain on August 13.
“The preparations thus far have been great,” Kirk said. “I think the girls really see how important it is for the team to have strong leadership. All of these girls feel strongly that we can be a fun team to watch this season. The girls are talking about their goals for the season and what it will take for them to achieve those goals. The conversations have been enlightening for them and they are very aware of their potential this season. We have eight hitters who are ready to go to work attacking and defending our net. We have two setters who very adept at running our offense and we have some very capable defenders. I think that if we really pressure teams on the block and keep improving our serve receive, we will go very far this season.”
Wesleyan won 17 matches and in the Class A-2A playoffs in 2018. Top returners will be junior setter Riley Bryan who had a team-high 775 assists and 40 aces last year as well as senior libero Meredith Magnum who posted a team-high 546 digs.
“We played in the Gwinnett County Summer League and went to Florida Team Camp,” Wolves coach Ted Russell said. “Both of these helped us to get a long look at our teams and better shape our rosters for the upcoming season. We are carrying 15 girls on our roster which gives us a lot of competition for each position, which should make practice much more competitive. I think every team learns from the previous year’s experience so we will try to replicate the positives such as great team chemistry. We have a strong group of senior leaders this year so we are excited to see how far this team can go in their final year. We will have to learn to win the close games and becoming effective out of system.”
Wesleyan hosts Parkview in its season opener on August 8.
Alpharetta had a stellar 2018 campaign on the volleyball court. The Raiders won 46 contests, finished undefeated in Region 7AAAAAA play to take home the region title and advanced to the semifinals of the Class 6A playoffs. Junior Evoni Lemons returns after having a team-high 570 kills last season. Senior captain Nina Willams amassed 388 kills in 2018 and will be back for Alpharetta alongside fellow senior captain Emily Hodsdon who posted team-highs in assists (1,313) and aces (87) last season.
“We’ve just started and are excited,” Raiders volleyball coach Grace Fossier said. “We have 10 great returning players and a renewed passion to get things done. Key factors will be hard work, attention to the little things and respecting all opponents.” Alpharetta hosts Lovett to open its season on August 8.
Other season openers for local programs on August 8 will be Blessed Trinity visiting Lassiter, Cambridge facing West Forsyth, Mount Pisgah Christian facing Lovett, King’s Ridge hosting Fideles Christian and Fellowship Christian visiting Westminster. Centennial faces East Coweta on August 9, Chattahoochee battles West Forsyth on August 10 while on August 13 Milton faces Norcross and St. Francis hosts Lassiter.