Taking the court

Coosa Valley Academy freshman Hope Myrick serves the ball during a team practice Aug. 15. The Rebels are fielding a volleyball team for the first time in school history this fall. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

HARPERSVILLE — When Amelia Ripley began her career at Coosa Valley Academy, girls’ basketball was her only opportunity to display her athletic prowess.

Ripley’s opportunities expanded when the Rebels added a softball program last spring.

Ripley will get a chance to become the school’s first ever three-sport standout at Coosa Valley this fall when the school fields its first ever volleyball team.

Jean Ann Sprayberry, who will serve as the Rebels’ first volleyball coach, said Ripley and her classmates are excited about being able to compete in a fall sport.

“They’ve shown a lot of enthusiasm,” Sprayberry said. “The girls have worked hard.”

Sprayberry said first-year athletic director and head football coach Bobby Hughes was instrumental in getting the program started. Hughes, who served as an assistant football coach under Vince DiLorenzo and head baseball coach the past two years, saw the importance of a volleyball program at other schools and wanted the same opportunity for athletes at Coosa Valley.

Sprayberry had plenty of interest from girls roaming the hallways in Harpersville. Her program will include 23 student-athletes in its first season, including 11 players on the varsity team.

Ripley, the lone senior on the team, will serve as a team captain.

The squad also includes juniors Michaela Hosey, Katelyn Bierley and Lauren Henton, sophomores Shelby Hurt and Holly Dunn and freshmen Hope Myrick, Hannah Heath, McKenzie Greene, Alyssa Holmes and Caroline Kerr.

“They’re all good leaders,” Sprayberry said.

Sprayberry said Dr. Katherine Casey and Kim Cairns will serve as assistant coaches during the Rebels’ inaugural season.

Sprayberry said the group is ready for the season opener. The Rebels will start of the season with its biggest regular-season match, a battle at rival Cornerstone Christian School on Aug. 25 in Columbiana.

“It’s a good thing for the girls,” Sprayberry said. “I think it’s wonderful.”

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2011 Volleyball Preview

OAK MOUNTAIN

AHSAA CLASS 6A, AREA 10

COACH: Janelle Billings

ROSTER: Felicia Bailey, Hannah Beach, Abbi Bourque, Emily Cosgrove, Sara Goodwin, Molly Maddox, Amanda Marks, Madison Pierce, Marisa Reese, Amy Ritenour, Ashton Slawinski, Melanie Sloeneker and Rosemary Wendel

OUTLOOK: The Eagles, who reached the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A championship match a year ago, will look for leadership from two returning starters in senior outside hitter Sara Goodwin and junior middle blocker Emily Cosgrove. Sophomore setter Hannah Beach will see her role increase in her first season setting the plate for the Eagles.

PELHAM

AHSAA CLASS 6A, AREA 10

COACH: Haven O’Quinn

ROSTER: Dana Allen, Sydney Days, Alison El-Feraly, Katie Gustafson, Autumn Hyatt, Ashley Kate Kepler, Courtney Rawden, Bradleigh Smith, Caitland Smith, Porsha Tolbert, Haeden Tucker and Alexis Veal

OUTLOOK: A trio of team captains return for the Panthers in senior outside hitter Porsha Tolbert, senior outside hitter Dana Allen and senior setter Sydney Days. Junior defensive specialists Alexis Veal and Haeden Tucker will also play key roles. Pelham is thirsty for success after missing the playoffs last season.

SPAIN PARK

AHSAA CLASS 6A, AREA 12

COACH: Paula Dill

ROSTER: Madison Bearden, Kylie Beaubien, Michelle Cocke, Casey Craig, Ames Filippini, Brooklyn Hall, Chandler Horton, Emily Ingram, Kendall Jones, Kendall Klumpp, Bailey Pereira, Morgan Scott and Alexis Smith

OUTLOOK: The Jaguars suffered heavy losses to graduation in the offseason. Senior outside hitter Brooklyn Hall, senior defensive specialist Michelle Cocke and junior middle blocker Kylie Beaubien saw extensive court time last year and will be counted on as team leaders during the season.

THOMPSON

AHSAA CLASS 6A, AREA 10

COACH: Kellyanne Turnbow

ROSTER: Sonia Acosta, Sarah Allen, Kory Claiborne, Emily Cofer, Jade Douglas, Katie Guiser, Kasie Holcomb, Abby Kreuser, Keiana Miller, Melissa Montoya, Lauren Richardson, Kristen Runyan and Hailey Schatz

OUTLOOK: The Warriors have several experienced players returning, including a group of seven seniors. Senior setter Sonia Acosta, senior middle blocker Jade Douglas, senior outside hitter Hailey Schatz and senior defensive specialist Kasie Holcomb all saw extensive playing time last season. Junior middle blocker Katie Guiser will also play a big role this year.

BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN

AHSAA CLASS 5A, AREA 7

COACH: Tien Le

ROSTER: Lizzie Baumbach, Claire Carter, Madison Chambers, Carly Cline, Kayla Crumpler, Hope Donohue, Georgia Muir-Taylor, Logan Nasworthy, Lauren Palmer, Adeline Reiser and Christie Robertson

OUTLOOK: The Lions will remain in the hunt for the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A championship with veterans Logan Nasworthy and Carly Cline, both seniors, leading the way. Junior setter Adeline Reiser, along with junior outside hitters Lizzie Baumbach and Claire Carter, are also back after playing important roles a year ago.

CHELSEA

AHSAA CLASS 5A, AREA 7

COACH: Jamie Gill

ROSTER: Courtney Campbell, Samantha Colyer, Emma Cotney, Kacie Craft, Alyson Long, Holly Marbut, Brooklyn Smitherman, Rachel Stefkovich, Chelsea Tyson, Jesse Vohler and Sabrina Williams

OUTLOOK: The Hornets will rely heavily on senior setter Jesse Vohler, who sets the table for the offensive attack. Fellow senior Samantha Colyer returns as the team’s top outside hitter. Chelsea will need a few other players to step up in search of its second consecutive postseason appearance.

SHELBY COUNTY

AHSAA CLASS 5A, AREA 7

COACH: Jamie Creekmore

ROSTER: Jasmyn Buie, Tempest Cantrell, Kayle Cardwell, Heather Childers, Devin Davis, Anna Folmar, Keyanna Gayden, Makiaya Jones, Randalyn Jones, Jordan McKoy, Brittani Morris, Kaitlyn Paschall, Jessica Rasco, Courtney Shields, Brittany Shuster, Alisha White and Hollie Whitner

OUTLOOK: The Wildcats will rely heavily on senior middle blocker Courtney Shields and junior outside hitter Jasmyn Buie this season. Senior defensive specialists Brittani Morris and Jessica Rasco will also play key roles on an improving squad. Shelby County will have plenty of depth on its roster.

CALERA

AHSAA CLASS 4A, AREA 6

COACH: Amanda Lewis

ROSTER: Hollie Brown, Kayla Brown, Chassyte Fletcher, A’Kia Harris, Amber Jackson, Kellie Rasmussen, Elizabeth Rhinehart, Bethany Rogers, Caitlin Ryan, Amber Sherman and Maia White

OUTLOOK: The Eagles will be led by senior setter Kellie Rasmussen and sophomore middle blocker A’Kia Harris, who have each played a key role the past two seasons. Calera will benefit from a nice mix of upperclassmen, including three seniors.

INDIAN SPRINGS

AHSAA CLASS 3A, AREA 8

COACH: Christina Tetzlaff

ROSTER: Evelyn Baxley, Lizzie Choy, Ambria Hardy, Jessica Hook, Virginia Killebrew, Paris Kissel, Haley Payton, Lauren Plouff and Yuka Sanui

OUTLOOK: Indian Springs will look for leadership from senior setter Lauren Plouff and junior middle blocker Ambria Hardy. Junior defensive specialist Yuka Sanui will also play a key role this season. Indian Springs, which reached the Class 3A playoffs a year ago, will add a few more players to the roster following a tryout session this week.

MONTEVALLO

AHSAA CLASS 3A, AREA 7

COACH: Tena Niven

ROSTER: Brittany Anderson, Mallory Anderson, McKenna Anderson, Megan Draper, Elizabeth Frederick, Alisha Glover, Sarah Hyde, Keshantis King, Maryann Lee, Francesca Luca, Kerrington Maddox, Josie Martires, Sabrina Neighbors and Kathryn Ray

OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs are in good shape to make a deep postseason run with six seniors with plenty of experience returning, including all-around athlete Mallory Anderson and setter Kathryn Ray. Montevallo is loaded with upperclassmen with an additional five juniors on the squad.

VINCENT

AHSAA CLASS 2A, AREA 10

COACH: Stephanie Ledlow

ROSTER: Michele Brasher, Kaylin Dawson, Briana DiGiorgio, Joleen George, Courtney Holston, Destanie Howard, Jessie Kimbrel, Bernadette Stamps, Joi Stamps and Reagan Whitfield

OUTLOOK: The Yellow Jackets will rely heavily on a pair of seniors in outside hitter Michele Brasher and defensive specialist Courtney Holston. Fellow senior Joleen George will see her role increase this season. Vincent is searching for a spot in the postseason after being eliminated in the area tournament semifinals last year.

CORNERSTONE CHRISTIAN

AISA CLASS 1A REGION 1

COACH: Cyndi Sims

ROSTER: Audrey Davis, Emily Dorough, Laura Beth Franklin, Lindsey Greer, Tamera Kirksey, Jaclyn Largin, Grace Perry, Alyssa Schreiber, Lindsey Sims, Zoe Thomas and Nicki Waldrop

OUTLOOK: The Chargers made a lot of improvement last season and will look to move a step closer to an Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A region title this year. Senior setter Jaclyn Largin, the most experienced player returning, will need to provide leadership on a roster full of youth.

COOSA VALLEY ACADEMY

AISA CLASS 1A, REGION 1

COACH: Jean Ann Sprayberry

ROSTER: Katelyn Bierley, Holly Dunn, Hannah Heath, Lauren Henton, Alyssa Holmes, Michaela Hosey, Shelby Hurt, McKenzie Greene, Caroline Kerr, Hope Myrick and Amelia Ripley

OUTLOOK: The Rebels, who are fielding a volleyball squad for the first time in school history, will feature a roster full of youthful players. Sprayberry said the players have been working hard on conditioning and are excited about taking the court for the inaugural season. Many of the players on the squad also play softball and girls’ basketball at the school.

KINGWOOD CHRISTIAN

AISA CLASS 3A, REGION 2

COACH: John Jones

ROSTER: Karley Chamblee, Lindsay Cofer, Katie Allen Etheridge, McKenzie Greer, Blair Holsombeck, Allie Hulon, Katie McElroy, Madelyn Pearce, Sloane Pickett, Brooklyn Roper, Hannah Spinks, Emily Tremble and Casey Whitmer

OUTLOOK: The Lions are always a favorite in Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 3A play. This year shouldn’t be any different with senior setter Karley Chamblee and junior middle blocker Casey Whitmer returning to lead the team. Senior libero Katie McElroy and junior defensive specialist Blair Holsombeck will also play key roles.

EVANGEL CHRISTIAN

ALABAMA CHRISTIAN SPORTS CONFERENCE

COACH: Caprice Lawrence

ROSTER: Anna Byers, Kate Foster, Caroline Joiner, Emily Johnson, Bethany Letson, Kierson McGriff, Erin Morris, Elizabeth Ragland, Kate Ragland, Madison Thames, Erica Williams and Ali Wren

OUTLOOK: The two-time defending Alabama Christian Sports Conference champions will need to rebuild with only one senior, setter Kate Foster, on the roster. However, the Lightning shouldn’t be underestimated with a talented junior class. The group of juniors includes last season’s ACSC tournament most valuable player Elizabeth Ragland, who is a versatile athlete at middle blocker and outside hitter.

HOPE CHRISTIAN

ALABAMA CHRISTIAN SPORTS CONFERENCE

COACH: Steve Howe

ROSTER: Audrey Best, Teenie Donlin, Erin Douglas, Haley Holmes, Rachel Holmes, Hannah Lane, Brooke Machen and Lindy Walker

OUTLOOK: Outside hitter Teenie Donlin leads an experienced group of six seniors on the Eagles’ squad. Fellow seniors Brooke Machen, an outside hitter, and Hannah Lane, a middle blocker, will each play a key role. Senior setter Audrey Best will be in charge of getting the offense started. The Eagles may add a few more players to the squad before the season begins.

UNIVERSITY OF MONTEVALLO

PEACH BELT CONFERENCE

COACH: Kate O’Brien

ROSTER: Manyi Ati, Katie Best, Michelle Carle, Kady Curl, Anna Garrison, Jessica Guidry, Brianna Guzinski, Kaleigh Harvey, Lucy Perez, Jewell Sherrer, Jordan Spinks, Betsy Stevenson, Michelle Walker and Rachel Wotitzky

OUTLOOK: The Falcons are coming off the best season in school history after picking up the program’s first ever win in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Senior setter Anna Garrison will set the table for the Falcons. Sophomore middle blocker Manyi Ati will also play a key role this season. Montevallo returns a total of three starters from last season’s team.