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Season Preview: Varsity Volleyball
The 2022 version of the Lady Indians has a 'high ceiling' that coach Matt Heyl will look for Tallulah Falls School to reach. The varsity program lost quite a bit of seniors off last year's Sweet 16 team, though return a dominant Sarah Jennings to lead the charge in her senior year.
Coach Heyl, who enters the season just five wins shy of 100 for his career, is in his fifth season over the Lady Indians varsity team, and has taken the program to three Sweet 16s, including two straight. This year will present an overhauled roster as well as a new look in Region 8-A Division-I due to the GHSA realignment.
"Sarah will be looked at to lead the team in many ways," states Heyl. "She will lead vocally, but also with her skill. We expect to see her leading in most major categories, including kills, digs, serving, and serve receive."
Jennings will have plenty of support with a few others who have great experience at the varsity level in Addy McCoy, Kitty Rodenas, and Julianne Shirley.
"Addy, with her off-season dedication, will be much improved from last year," adds Heyl. "We expect to go to her a lot in offense, and we'll see her leading in serving as well. Addy is also a rising leader on the team. Kitty will be looked at to fill the big shoes of Allie Dalton at the setting position. She also brings a great serve to the starting line up. She will also be one of our senior leaders who leads with a great positive attitude, always encouraging her team. Julianne, one of our most athletic players should become a force to be reckoned with. I have full confidence that she will find a way to raise her skill to the level of her athleticism."
Two others who are expected to make a jump this year as 'up and coming' players are Elsa Sanchez and Sofia Rueda, both seniors who played on JV last season.
"Those are two other players to watch," says Heyl of Sanchez and Rueda. "Elsa brings a great serve, good passing, solid defense, and extra offense. Sofia is one of our best athletes, and if her hitting and blocking become consistent, she will help raise our team to the next level. The two ladies are also two of our best passers and servers. If they play up to their potential and mix well with the rest of the team, we will have a good chance for a very successful season."
The girls won 23 matches last season, including beating six ranked opponents throughout the campaign. This team, although less experienced than last year's opening day roster, have a chance to be even better.
"These ladies have a very high ceiling," states Heyl. "The beginning of the season may be a little rocky as we have not had some key players with us for the summer training. Elsa and Sofia will only have two days of practice before our first match. Once we get rolling and our chemistry builds, this team will give a lot of trouble to a lot of teams this season. The key to our success is reaching that ceiling and the only way to achieve that is to unify around the key thought of hard work. If every player buys in to work hard and be the best version of themselves that they can for the good of the team then we will be GREAT."
TFS opens the varsity season on Tuesday, August 9 at home in a trimatch against Stephens County and Monroe Area.