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Volleyball team set to spike
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Samantha Jennings should be an intimidating presence at the net for the Lady Pioneer volleyball team. She is shown delivering a hard hit Thursday morning in practice.
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Emily Davis makes a dig during Thursday’s practice. She is expected to be a strong front-row player for the freshman and JV teams.

The Warren County High School volleyball team is looking to turn attention to a different type of spike.

With COVID cases rising throughout Middle Tennessee, the Lady Pioneers are focusing on serving, setting and spiking a volleyball.

Erin Blalock enters her first year as head coach of the team after serving for four years as an assistant on the staff of Katie Rogers. The TSSAA has given volleyball a thumbs-up as a sport where competition can take place, even with social distancing concerns.

“We have a preseason playday this coming Thursday in Coffee County and it’s still on as planned,” said Blalock. “We’re excited to be practicing and look forward to our season, which is scheduled to start Aug. 17.”

The Lady Pioneers will be led by the senior leadership of Samantha Jennings and Sadie Simmons, two longtime volleyball players.

Blalock describes Jennings as “all-around solid” and says she can be a big hitter on the front row and also very important in the back. Simmons has been the varsity setter for years and will be returning to that role this season.

“As the setter, she plays a big part in how our whole team runs,” said Blalock. “She places the ball at the net nicely.”

The setter is usually the person who gets the second hit on the ball and is responsible for putting it in the right spot so a teammate has a strong opportunity to deliver a kill.

Blalock said Danica Reno and Mea Starkey are two others who should have a strong front-row presence for the Lady Pioneers. Mia Hobbs is a spunky sophomore who has been progressing nicely in practice, the coach said.

“I’m familiar with most of these girls because I was an assistant coach for four years so this has been a smooth transition,” said Blalock. “We’ve been concentrating on playing as a team and doing the things on and off the court we need to do to be good.”

Thanks to a large number of girls trying out, Blalock has created a true freshman team with 10 players. 

She says the Lady Pioneers will play freshman, JV and varsity games this year.

“We have 10 freshmen and 10 sophomores, juniors and seniors for a total of 20 girls,” said Blalock.