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JDCC spikers look for improvement

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
For the most part, last season was one to forget for the Jefferson Davis Community College Lady Warhawks volleyball team. Their 7-24 record would attest to that.
If there was a ray of sunlight in that mark, it was the fact the Lady Warhawks finished the season on a much more competitive note. Four of those seven wins came in their final eight games.
"I think we can build off the way we played late in the season. Not only were we a lot more competitive and won some games, but for the most part we played freshmen in that stretch. Those freshmen are now this year's sophomores," JDCC coach Misti Nims said.
Nims is also hopeful having a year's worth of experience in the program will help her as a coach.
"I've had a chance now to see most of the teams we play and I have a lot better idea what they have although rosters change so quickly at the junior college level. A big thing for me is I've now had a full offseason to do my recruiting. We're a little bigger than we were last season and we're a little more athletic. A big plus is this group of players has clicked as a unit in practice. We struggled to do that year," Nims said. "I think another area where we will be a lot better this year is serving. We had a lot of problems at times last year with serves."
Among the players JDCC lost last season included Region 22 selection Autumn Jonson. Johnson a middle hitter, led JDCC in blocks and was second on the team in kills last season.
However, among the five sophomores the Lady Warhawks have back include All-State Tournament selections Lucretia Merritt and Colby Adams.
Merritt, a 5-9 sophomore middle hitter from Montgomery, was third for JDCC in kills last season and second in blocks.
"Lucretia is our top middle hitter back. In fact, she is our only returning middle hitter. Lucretia jumps well and plays with a lot of intensity," Nims said.
Adams, a 5-7 sophomore outside hitter from Baker (Fla.), was third in team assists and fourth in kills last year.
"Colby played really well down the stretch last season. Right now we'll probably just play her up front and on the right side," Nims said.
Holly Almony, a 5-9 sophomore from Gulf Breeze (Fla.), will probably handle the other outside slot.
"Holly is actually probably our best outside hitter at this point. She swings hard and has the jump serve down. She is one of our co-captains so we're counting on her for both leadership and performance," Nims said.
Merritt's partner in the middle remains up in the air. One possibility is Tiffany Anderson, a 5-9 freshman from Navarre (Fla.).
"Tiffany could go middle or outside depending on the situation. She hits with a lot of strength and she gives us a good jump serve," Nims said.
Jessica Powell, a 5-9 freshman from Perdido, is also contending for a middle spot.
"Jessica is a great passer who does a good job of getting to the ball. She has some strength and hits with some power," Nims said.
Meanwhile on the outside along with Adams could be Makeyia Burt, a 5-4 freshman from Atmore.
"Makeyia is only 5-4. You don't see many 5-4 outside hitters, especially at this level. However, Makeyia jumps extremely well. Makeyia has only played for a couple of years so she still has some catching up to do, but she is learning fast," Nims said.
Another outside hitter is Carly Dougherty, a 5-7 freshman from Mobile.
"Carly hits with power and she serves well," Nims said.
JDCC returns one setter from a year ago, 5-4 sophomore Desiree Freeman from Chumuckla (Fla.).
"Desiree shared time at setter last year. She has gotten quite a bit better. One thing in Desiree's favor is her serving. She had 23 aces last season so she knows how to spot the ball," Nims said.
Freshman Sonie Demko, a 5-4 freshman from Bay Minette, and Jennifer Windham, a 5-7 freshman from Clanton, will also battle for a setter spot.
"Sonie has quick hands and moves well on the court. She serves well and can also block, which you don't see a lot from setters," Nims said. "Jennifer is a lefty so her hits have a little different look to them. She also has nice hands and can block if needed."
Defensive specialists Kristen Phillips, a 5-6 sophomore from Prospect (Tenn.), and Emily Cantrell, a 5-5 freshman from Elkmont, round out the roster.
"Kristen missed a lot of time last season with a sprained ankle. She is healthy now this season. We really didn't have anybody for the defensive role last season," Nims said. "Emily can play the defensive role for us or she could see some time on the outside."
The JDCC skipper expects both a balanced and competitive Alabama Community College Conference race this season.
"Everybody has moved up to Division I this season. I don't think that will be a big adjustment for us. We were pretty competitive against the Division I schools we played last year. Wallace-Hanceville is always competitive. They won the Division I state title last year. Northwest Shoals won the Division II championship. Gadsden State won the Division I regular season state championship last year. I think you probably look at those three schools first. After that I see a lot of parity and we're probably in that group," Nims said.
JDCC Lady Warhawks Volleyball Schedule
Aug. 27 Faulkner State Invitational
Aug. 28 NW Shoals Home 2 p.m.
Sept. 9 Bevill State-Fayette Home 6 p.m.
Sept. 10 Pensacola Classic (vs. Lake Sumter 10:30 a.m.; vs. St. John's 3 p.m.)
Sept. 11 Pensacola Classic (vs. Pasco Hernando 10:30 a.m.; vs. Pensacola Christian 1:30 p.m.)
Sept. 13 Southern Union Home 6 p.m.
Sept. 15 Wallace State Away 5 p.m.
Sept. 18 Gult Coast Away 6 p.m.
Sept. 22 Pensacola Home 6 p.m.
See JDCC Page 7
Sept. 23 Gadsden State Home 5 p.m.
Oct. 1 Lawson State Away 6 p.m.
Oct. 2 NW Shoals Away 2 p.m.
Oct. 6 Gulf Coast Home 6 p.m.
Oct. 7 Faulkner State Away 6 p.m.
Oct. 8 Pensacola Invitational (vs. Florida Community College 11:30 a.m.; vs. Lawson State 1 p.m.)
Oct. 9 Pensacola Invitational (vs. Polk 10:30 a.m.; vs. Gulf Coast 1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 13 Faulkner State Home 5 p.m.
Oct. 14 Southern Union Away 4 p.m.
Oct. 14 Central Alabama Away 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 Lawson State Home 6 p.m.
Oct. 20 Pensacola Away 6 p.m.
Oct. 21 Gadsden State Away 6 p.m.
Oct. 22 Bevill State-Fayette Away 5 p.m.
Oct. 28 Home tri-match (vs. Wallace State 5 p.m.; vs. Central Alabama 7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 1-2 Alabama State Tournament
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T.R. Miller High School graduate Deanna Jackson and the Indiana Fever enjoyed a pair of victories last week in WNBA action.
Jackson scored 10 points with two rebounds and an assist in a 63-50 victory over Sacramento. She put up six points with a rbeound and an assist in a 70-65 win over New York.
For the season, Jackson is avergaing 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assist a game. She is shooting 32 percent from the floor and 69 percent from the free throw line. Jackson has started in each of Indiana's 10 games.
The Fever currently stand 6-4 and reside one-half game behind defending WNBA champ Detroit in the the eastern Conference.
T.R. Miller Girls
All-Time Career Scoring Leaders
1. Deanna Jackson 2,398
2. Ashley Samuel 2,197
3. Felicia Jackson 1,911
4. Joy McCorvey 1,040
5. Valerie Etheridge 1,015
6. Andrea Ward 980
7. Taylor DeFranciso 885
8. Adriane Johnson 848
9. CeCe Jolly 769
10. Tiffany Richardson 577