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Priceville volleyball team rebounding from heavy losses

Published 4:20pm Monday, August 25, 2014

Priceville’s Lady Bulldogs are struggling with losses from graduation as well as losses from preseason injuries  as they prepare for a new season.

The Lady Bulldogs lost four outstanding members of last year’s volleyball team to graduation. No longer available are Alex Moore, Emily Cunningham, Peyton Parker and Kayla Parton. Moore, Cunningham and Parker all earned scholarships to play basketball at the collegiate level and Parton left a big hole at the libero position.

A setback in preseason workouts occurred last week when three returning starters were forced to sit out practices with an emergency appendectomy and foot and shoulder injuries.

“The varsity roster is down to nine players,” said head coach Catrina Mason. “We had to move up two junior varsity players just to have enough to have a full practice.”

The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2013-2014 season with a 34-16 record. They won their area and reached the “Sweet 16” before losing to Jacksonville, the eventual Class 4A state champion.

Returning starters are Alison Varner, Shyanne Stackhouse, and Whitney Clark. All three are seniors.

Varner, an outside hitter, led the team with 337 kills, 101 blocks, 106 digs, 57 aces and made 92.4 percent of her serves as a junior.

Stackhouse, a middle hitter, led the team in kill percentage with 62.5 percent. She had 172 kills as a right side hitter along with 132 blocks.

Clark, a defensive specialist, had 104 digs. She is playing libero early in the season while the starting libero is recovering from an appendectomy.

Other players on this year’s varsity are Averi Dupont, Kristen Skinner, Triston Hanks, Brianna Duplantis, Abi Melendez, Autumn Esack, Amanda Rotermund and Tori Vehrs.

Mason said the Lady Bulldogs had a productive off-season. They participated in two play dates at West Morgan and two at Wallace State. In addition, the University of South Alabama volleyball team conducted classes for the girls on the Priceville campus. Several of the players also attended individual skill camps and played on travel cub teams.

Priceville will face North Jackson, DAR and Westminster Christian Academy in Area 13 competition.

“This group of girls has bonded well and we have good leadership from our seniors,” Mason stated. “Our goal is to get better each practice and each game and peak at the right time. We want to win our area, reach the super regional and compete for a state championship.”

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