Claiborne hopes to take Vincent to new heights

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

VINCENT – There are only three teams in area 9 of class 2A volleyball, Vincent being one of them. Over the past few years, Vincent has had varying degrees of success in volleyball, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump in the area or the larger region. This year, new head coach Melinda Claiborne is doubling down on the effort to make the Lady Yellow Jackets a competitive volleyball team.

Claiborne, originally from California, came to Alabama originally to coach the UAB women’s volleyball team. She stepped away from college coaching in 2005, and came to Vincent in the fall of 2013. This is her first season as the head volleyball coach, and she brings a wealth of knowledge about the sport to the Vincent that the school has not had in the past.

“The main thing when I coach these girls here is showing them what’s important with their feet, and why,” Claiborne said in an Aug. 27 phone interview. “I’ve broken things down for them way more than they’ve had stuff broken down before. The level of detail is greater now. I wan them to understand why I’m telling them to do this stuff.”

There are two seniors Claiborne is relying on to lead the squad. Quenesa Crawford is the de facto leader on the court, according to Claiborne, and does what she is supposed to do as the leader of the team. The only other senior is Anna Marie Jackson, who is back after taking a year off from volleyball a season ago, and has the type of quickness that excited Claiborne.

Lauryn Hoagland is a junior who can play a number of positions and will be a versatile player for the Lady Yellow Jackets.

Vincent starts the season on Monday, Aug. 31, when it travels to Fayetteville before turning around the very next day and playing host to Shelby County.