Akron transforms into tourney team
Wed. October 31, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
When Akron volleyball coach David West sought to replace six seniors from last year’s team, he was surprised to see 40 girls trying out.
West found some raw talent, including cheerleaders and some who couldn’t hit the ball overhand.
He said he went back to work to become a better teacher of fundamentals and built the team around veterans LovPrincess Harris and Zabrina Small. The Lady Rams went to Montgomery for the South Super Regional and qualified as the No. 4 seed. Akron faces Addison today at 11 a.m. in the AHSAA Class 1A Tournament.
"I just wanted us to be successful," West said. "I really believe in discipline, determination and dedication, all those qualities that make a great player. I’m grateful that they understand that how you act in the classroom is how you’ll act on the court. We have some honor-roll students on this team. The support we’ve received from the administration, the faculty and staff and the student body is overwhelming. It’s great to have that kind of push and support.
"I really believe that proper preparation prevents poor performance. We just needed to work harder than any other team. I told them that I can show you how to win, but I can’t cause you to win because you have to play the game. We started off the year with doubt, but that was transformed into desire when the girls started believing and started learning that, ‘If I can work hard I can do it.’ Desire turned into determination. We had some girls who couldn’t pass, and some who couldn’t spike the ball. Determination turned into delight that we’re in the state tournament."
In Montgomery, Akron started by beating Shades Mountain Christian in five games. The Lady Rams swept Winterboro in three games before losing to Sacred Heart in a three-game match. Akron lost to Jefferson Christian in four games in the consolation final.
Harris, a senior captain, fills the roles of outside hitter, middle hitter and middle blocker. Small, a junior, is an outside hitter, middle blocker and setter.
Freshman Dequandra Lyles, a first-year player with the varsity, is an outside hitter and middle blocker. Jasmine White, a junior setter, is a first-year player who was a cheerleader.
West said White will probably have to undergo knee surgery after the season.
"Her drive to succeed surpasses the pain she feels when it comes to her knee," West said.
Senior Sherekia Taylor is an outside hitter and setter. Faith Bryant is a sophomore defensive specialist.
Other members of the team include freshman defensive specialist Rakeila Anderson; freshman libero Laurietta Smally; junior middle blocker and outside hitter Rakeena Anderson; senior defensive specialist Eboney Terry; senior outside hitter and middle blocker Rachel Anderson; senior libero Keliyah Lee, junior back-row player Donrietta Anderson; sophomore middle blocker and outside hitter Tierra Taylor; seventh-grade back-row player DonShalai Anderson; and junior back-row player and setter Cornesia Bryant.
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.