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Lady Tigers take to court Monday

New Demopolis High volleyball coach Blythe Martin spent the middle portion of the week putting her team through practice in preparation for Monday’s season opener against Linden.
Martin conducted tryouts Tuesday, examining the of abilities and potential of the 30 girls who attended. By Wednesday she had the list narrowed to 13 and was ready for the first full-team practice.
“I was real encouraged by how many girls came to tryouts,” Martin, who moved to Demopolis from De Funiak Springs, Fla., said. “I was not expecting 30-35 girls to come tryout for volleyball. That was real encouraging for the program and real encouraging for the school.”
Martin indicated she was able to comb through the would-be players more easily by utilizing an predetermined set of criteria.
“I was looking for consistency in passing, serving ability and overall athleticism,” she said. “I kind of divide up what I am looking for into those three categories.”
Since getting her team onto the floor for the first time, she has gained a better understanding of where the squad is headed.
“After practicing with them a couple of times now, I really feel like we are going to be able to have good team chemistry,” Martin said. “I think they are going to work well together.”
The Lady Tigers will play three matches before heading into their first area contest Sept. 9. Martin intends to improve on at least one glaring weakness by that time.
“Serving is a weakness we have,” she explained, before commenting on the lack of familiarity she and the players still have with one another at such an early stage. “Since we’ve only had two practices, it is kind of hard for me to gauge where I need to play people at. I’ll be thinking about that all weekend.”
Improving on the serve and developing team chemistry will be two keys if the Lady Tigers are to achieve the goals of the first-year head coach, who also leads the middle school program.
“I want to get to regionals. That’s my goal,” Martin said. “I think if we got to regionals, I would know what I really need to get to the next level here.”
For now, though, Martin and the Lady Tigers will set their focus squarely on the task at hand, Linden.
“I feel confident,” Martin said. “We’ll know better where we stand after that. I have no reason to doubt my girls can win against anyone we play.”
The 2010 Lady Tiger volleyball team consists of Janiya Davis, Kierra Carter, Victoria Bonds, Taylor Hunnicutt, Iesha France, Erica Barnett, Keona Branch, Amber Lucy, Corneisha Perkins, Shannon Pittman, Hayley Blair, Riley King and Sydney Andrews. Cailin Bamberg earned a spot on the squad, but will have to sit this season out, per AHSAA rules, after transferring in from Southern Academy.
Demopolis will host Linden Monday at 5 p.m. before traveling to Greensboro Thursday. The DHS docket also includes region games against Selma and Greenville as well as non-region contests with Sumter County and Sweet Water.
Monday’s game will be the first game in school history for Linden.