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With 8 seniors, Bulldogs banking on experience

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By Larry Goffinet

CANNELTON—With eight seniors and 16 players on the roster, Cannelton’s volleyball team has its most experience and depth in several years.

Third-year coach Heather Garrison thinks defense is the Bulldogs’ strongest suit but thinks they are stronger in most areas than the last two years.

But she said one of their biggest obstacles may be “overcoming our past,” as they seem to lack confidence that they can win after going 2-18 last year and not winning more than three matches in any of the last five years.

The Bulldogs return five starters from last year. Senior Shy May returns as the setter in their 5-1 offense and is “very consistent,” said Garrison.

Though the Bulldogs still don’t have any player taller than 5-foot-8 1/2, Garrison said their spiking is “better overall.” She listed senior Hannah Baur and sophomore Sarah Powers as the top spikers.

Those two will join May and seniors Whitney Nugent, Tora Walls and Jaci Garrett in the starting lineup. Nakaa Myers will back up May at setter.

Garrison rated the team’s blocking as “weak” because “we just don’t have a lot of vertical” jumping ability. But she said Garrett “is one of the more consistent ones” amd Baur and Powers are the best leapers.

Garrison said back-row passing “is one of our major practice concerns. We practice it a lot.” She said sophomore Sammie James is probably the top back-row player.

Garrison thinks the Bulldogs’ serving will be “good. It’s more accurate than last year and the hardness is about the same.”

She expects Perry Central and Tecumseh to be two of the stronger teams the Bulldogs will play.

Tecumseh is also in Cannelton’s Class A sectional and is the defending champion. Asked if she thinks Cannelton can contend for the sectional title this year, Garrison said, “I’m not sure yet.”

She thinks the keys to doing so include “playing as a team and making minimal errors all the way around. Communication is going to be a key for us—and the right mind set.

“With eight seniors, if we’re going to win, this is going to be the year for us to do it.”