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CACC-Brewton volleyball shape up for season

The Coastal Alabama Community College– Brewton Lady Warhawks are in the midst of three-a-day workouts, five days a week, leading up to the team’s opening game on Aug. 26 in the Wallace-State Tournament in Selma.

Last year the team finished 5-20 overall, and 1-13 in the conference.

CACC-Brewton will return six sophomores– Baylee Long, Katie Whitaker, Brittany Bunson, Ashley Black and Ashley English. Eight freshmen are on the roster– Bailey Mann, Meagin Farmer, Kassie Parker, Dinah Samuel, Taylor Cross, Gianna Mathews, Carissa Mulford and Kortney Way.

CACC– Brewton volleyball coach Steven Dickey said he has seen a lot of athleticism and cohesiveness so far from his team practices.

“Just their basic knowledge of the game has been really impressive,” he said. “Most of the girls have played club ball, which is really important for girls who want to play in college.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of time teaching the basics when they come in, they understand perimeter and rotational defense, tips, digs, who’s going to get the roll shot, who’s second ball. They understand the terminology and just know how to play. That makes my job easier because we can work more on game planning and how we’re going to run our offense and defensive sets. It’s really been a blessing to have these girls come here to play. Several of them had offers at other places.”

Dickey said Farmer, a middle blocker and Mann, a setter, have been impressive at practice. The freshmen duo both played at Saraland.

“They have great continuity together,” Dickey said. “They can do a lot of things on the offensive side.”

Also at the setter position is Parker.

“(Mann) and (Parker) have really shown they can play at the college level,” Dickey said.

Way, a freshman out of Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Fla, is a middle blocker with height and upside at the net.

“We were one of the smaller teams in the conference last year,” Dickey said. “We needed to address that in the offseason and Kortney brings that, along with Dinah and Gianna.

Samuel, a local signee from East Brewton, will join a fray of talented outside hitters, which include Long, Brunson, and Mathews. They will be competing for spots in the starting lineup.

“It’s an open competition and they understand that,” Dickey said. “We keep stats and video at our practices and scrimmages. Stats don’t lie. It helps me with my decision-making. I think the girls will embrace their roles. Competition is good for everybody.”

Dickey admits it can be tough for a player who has played a lot to accept playing a reduced role, but stresses to his players that each individual is an important piece to the team’s success.

“You have 14 girls, six play at a time and you usually have a rotation of eight or maybe nine. Five or six players may not even see the floor at all in a match. That’s a tough thing for some of them to deal with so it’s important to make them understand that they’re an important part of the team.”

Dickey said starters haven’t been named yet, something he will address with a couple more weeks of practice.

CACC will predominantly run a 5-1 rotation (two outsides, two middles, one right side hitter, and a setter.

“I’m excited about our possibilities this season,” Dickey said. “I’ll be really disappointed if we didn’t finish in the top six in our conference.”

Dickey’s words exude optimism, and confidence the 2017 Lady Warhawks are on the right track to growth.

“Last year we lost several 5-set matches that could have gone either way,” Dickey said. “I think we have improved defensively and offensively. I think that we can finish as one of the top two or three teams in our conference. This team can truly make some noise.”

CACC-Brewton will play its first home match against CACC-Bay Minette on Tues., Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.