COVINGTON - With seven returning varsity players on Newton's volleyball team, head coach Shandelyn Carter has high hopes of achieving all their goals.
Besides making it to state, the Lady Rams are also wanting to improve on last year's overall 14-18 record and their Area 2-AAAAA record of 5-5.
If Newton is to make it to the Class AAAAA state tournament, it will have to get past some pretty good competition.
Carter feels that the teams standing in their way are Greenbriar, Houston County and Union Grove.
All three teams, including Luella, made it to the state tournament but none were able to make it past the first round.
"Our goal is to improve our record," Carter said. "We hope to finish within the top four with a chance to play in the state tournament. Our team is practicing harder and longer than in previous years."
Returning from last season are Tiffany Falana, Kelsey Upton, Kayla Bunch, Lynae Bogues, Joy Pollock, Raven Prather and Carla McCollom.
The biggest surprise from last season is the improvement of Pollock. According to Carter, she "has improved her hitting and blocking ability."
Other players which Carter is expecting big things from include Prather, a sophomore, and Bunch, a senior.
New to the team this season is junior Alethea Faggett.
While the team has experience and strong hitters, one thing the Lady Rams do not have yet is good communication and team unity.
"Our weakness is playing together as a team," Carter said. "We'll make sure to run offenses that get the ball to those hitters. Hopefully with team-building activities, our weakness will never show during matches."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.