NEW PARIS — The National Trail volleyball team is back under the control of head coach Joy Yeazel as the Blazers are expected to make a run toward the top of the Cross County Conference standings.
Yeazel said every year National Trail has high expectations entering their volleyball season and she expects her team to place in the top three of the league and battle through a tough sectional and regional tournament.
Leading the way for the Blazers will be seniors Alexus Acton, Kaitlyn Morgan and Courtney Rae, a group Yeazel describes as “athletic and talented but lacking in volleyball experience.”
Yeazel believes Rae is the only player who has played all four years of volleyball, so despite having strong seniors the team will still be a young team in terms of volleyball.
She said this group of seniors, despite the lack of experience, will bring a strong work ethic to the program. “They are very dedicated and work really hard to do well. They don’t have a lot of volleyball experience — so what they lack in experience they make up for in determination and dedication to the team.”
Junior Shania Jordan will also be counted on heavily by Yeazel, who believes she has the chance to have a very good season for the Blazers.
The lack of experience concerns Yeazel for her team’s ability to play at the net; she fears the lack of experience will prevent the team from being able to anticipate fast enough to challenge teams at the net.
Every season teams mark their calendars for rivalry games which seem to matter a bit more. For National Trail, beating local rivals are important to the program.
“I know for these girls, any time we play a county team it’s a rivalry. Some play other sports against each other and know each other off the court, so that’s always fun for them. As a coach I think all our league matches are important.”
Yeazel said she also continues to drill the team on serves and serve receivers. Yeazel said in order to win games “you have to be able to make a pass on the serve,” something her teams works hard on every day.
The season got off to a slow start on Saturday, Aug. 22, when the team traveled to Preble Shawnee for a meet with the Arrows and Valley View.
National Trail lost both matches, losing to Preble Shawnee, 15-25 and 22-25. Valley View controlled most of their match and went on to win 16-25, 18-25.
Yeazel said she can never be happy with two losses, but she was happy to see the team continue to make progression in getting better.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062