Spain Park volleyball ready to make jump

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

A season ago, the 7A volleyball championship game was played between Mountain Brook and Hoover. Both teams from the Birmingham area, both teams that Kellye Bowen and her Spain Park Lady Jaguars are all too familiar with. The Lady Bucs compete in 7A Area 5, while Mountain Brook and Spain Park compete in 7A Area 6. The three schools see a great deal of each other, and Bowen, now in her second season as the head volleyball coach, is looking to get her squad on the same level as those elite programs.

Throughout the course of last season, Bowen said her girls “got better with each game and competed, that’s the one thing I asked of them was to compete.”

Now, a year later, the Lady Jaguars are hoping to take turn that competing into some more wins in a super competitive part of the state that includes Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia as well as the Lady Spartans and Lady Bucs.

“Our ultimate goal this season is to make it to the (Birmingham) Crossplex (state tournament),” Bowen said. “We have a tough schedule ahead of us but our girls are ready for the challenge.”

Leading the way for this particular team will be a battle tested group of seniors, who Bowen said will have to step up and lead, along with sophomore Marlee Johnson and junior setter Ellie Norton.

Bowen said that every game is important on the schedule and believes the most important game on the schedule is the next one, but the Sept. 29 showdown when the Lady Jaguars welcome in the defending 7A champion Lady Spartans of Mountain Brook has to be one that both Bowen and her players are looking forward to.

The Lady Jaguars start the season with a game at John Carroll Catholic on Aug. 27.