DANDRIDGE — The Jefferson County Lady Patriots’ volleyball team is healthy after injuries to key players last year and hungry to send their five seniors out on a good note.
This year will be the final go-round for seniors Cami Mincey, Makayla Alvey, Anne Elizabeth Huffaker, Kristin Mutterspaugh and Harley Shumaker, and Lady Pats head coach Torey Yocom said the fourth-year players have earned the right to have a successful season.
“They have played together for so long and they deserve to have a big year and I think this will be that big year,” she said.
Five returning senior starters with two years of experience under their belt will make the Lady Patriots one of the favorites to win the district this year.
“This has been my starting team the past two seasons so this is now their third year,” Yocom stated. “They were starting as sophomores and during the last two years, they were gaining that experience. A lot of the other teams in the IMAC are fairly young.”
Injuries were a problem for Jefferson County in 2018 but now, it has a healed-up squad who is ready to make a run toward the top of the IMAC standings.
“We are healthy this year. We missed out on Abby Blankenship last year with a shoulder injury and Harley with a torn ACL. Having them back and healthy is vital to our team,” Yocom said.
As the season opener approaches, Yocom said she has been pleased with what she has seen from her team in both practice as well as scrimmages. “I have seen a lot of determination and hard work, this team has been working hard and it’s really showing. We still have a few things we need to fine tune but overall, we are looking at a much more aggressive style of play.”
There are some things Jefferson County will need to work on according to their head coach. One of the biggest is a tendency toward timidity and Yocom stressed that going full throttle will be the key to success in 2019.
“We still like to play safe instead of playing aggressive so we go back to that tendency sometimes. So we are trying to keep an aggressive style of play throughout the entire game, not just when we are ahead or early in the game. Even when it gets close, we still have to play aggressive,” she said.
Yocom said she sees her team as one of the favorites to win the conference due to the senior leadership the Lady Patriots will enjoy this season.
“I think we can fit towards the top because I think we are going to have a really good year. With all the leadership we have, we are expecting to have a good year,” Yocom said.