Lady Knight team focused for 2010
Hanging in the gymnasium at Tyler Consolidated High School is a large photograph of eleven smiling young women and two coaches. That would be the picture of the 2007 Class AA West Virginia State Volleyball Championship team, the only team in the history of the school to bring such a title home. In that photo are three young freshmen with stars in their eyes and pride in their hearts . . . Heather Suter, Lynsey Casteel and Alison Clegg, the same three who will lead the Lady Knight volleyball team this year, as seniors.
“Our three seniors were freshmen when we won states,” said Consolidated head coach, Richard Summers. “They’ve been on the ride, they know what can happen with hard work and determination. I’m not saying we’re going to win states again, but if anybody can lead us to it, it will be these three.”
All in all the Lady Knights return several letter winners to the roster including the three power hitting seniors. “These seniors have never known a year where they haven’t advanced past the Sectionals,” Summers said. “I know they want to do the same this year. They don’t want to fail.”
The Lady Knights fill a roster this year with three seniors, three juniors, seven sophomores and seven freshmen. The team lost two important seniors to the roster last year in Christy Jones and Katie Klages. Tracy Summers will again assist the head coach with coaching duties this season.
Fans of the team will realize right off the first bump of the season that the main strength of any Tyler Consolidated Volleyball team is the strong leadership provided by the upperclassmen. “Our seniors are excellent leaders, as are our juniors,” the coach said. “They lead by example and the younger players pay attention.”
Completing the roster for the Silver will be juniors: Sami Jones, Keri Suter, and Whitney Williams; sophomores: Abby Atkinson, Makayla Clegg, Torrye Cline, Haylea LeMasters, Logann Long, Allison Wable, and Shay Yonaley; and freshmen: Megan Carpenter, Hillary Casteel, Myah Charkawi, Carly Fletcher, Devinn Moore, Jasmine Moore, and Sydney Reed.
Also to be counted on as a strength of the team is depth at every position on the floor. “We’re extremely deep at every position,” Summers said. “We’re at least three deep at our skill positions. We have a very focused group. Baring injury and illness, we’ll be alright this season.”
As for weaknesses, the coach said the only blaring one he notices is the lack of extreme height. “Don’t get me wrong, we have size and great athletes,” he said. “We just don’t have extreme height.”
Though they can already count on four excellent servers, the coach would be happier with seven. “We’re working with some of the others, bringing them along, and we are pleasantly surprised by their consistency,” he said.
Seven young members of the team will see the majority of their playing time on the junior varsity squad this season, but always with a chance to move into the varsity line-up. “I’m impressed by our freshmen and sophomores,” Summers said. “They have benefited greatly by being active. They’ve put a lot of hours in on the floor, they’re extremely good already.”
Summer attributes the dedication to volleyball and the players excitement to the summer camp held every year at the school. This summer, more kids than ever turned out to participate. “It’s the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” said the coach. “It’s good to know that so many people are excited about volleyball here in Tyler County.”
Though they have size, good players and skills and excellent leadership both the coach and Lady Knight team members themselves know they have their work cut out for them if they are to see the kind of success that is expected of them this year. In order to get out of their Section, the Knights have to get past skilled teams from Oak Glen, Weir, and Magnolia. Should they be able to meet that goal, they will have to play the winner of Section II (Ravenswood, Roane County, Point Pleasant, and Ritchie County) in order to advance to the Regionals.
“Nobody knows better than us what we have to go through to get out of our section and Region,” Summers said. “Our Sectional and Regional are loaded.”
The Lady Knights will begin their season on Sept. 2 at home vs. Williamstown. On Sept. 4 the team will welcome Wheeling Central, Linsly and Valley to Tyler Consolidated. Game times are set for 6 p.m.