If there is one good thing about the recent past for the Jefferson Davis Community College Lady Warhawks volleyball program, it is the past is in the past. ?We?re playing for the present and our future,? said JDCC coach Misti Nims. ?Our four sophomores don?t talk about it much. They want to forget about last year and move on to next year. Our eight freshmen weren?t a part of what we went through last season. They?re aware of it, but they also want to do whatever it takes to make sure we improve this year,? said Nims.
The Lady Warhawks skipper plans to utilize a five-one offensive rotation. Kathy Phillips, a 5-6 sophomore from Baker, Fla., has an upper hand to handle the one setter spot in that formation. ?Kathy flip-flopped with Megan Petrie last season in the lineup last year. I felt she held back a little bit last season, but so far in practice she has done a good job of connecting with our hitters,? said Nims. Kirby Johnson, a 5-3 freshman from Milton, Fla., is also trying to work her way into the setter rotation. ?We?re looking at playing Kirby opposite of Kathy on defense. She has improved a lot on both offense and defense,? said Nims.
Last season Amanda Pullen, a 5-6 sophomore from Chattahoochee, Fla., played all across the front row. This season Nims plans to utilize her as a left side hitter. ?We?re really trying to limit Amanda to one position up front and that should help her. She has really stepped up her game and has a chance to play all the way trough the rotation,? said Nims. Jasmine Jackson, a 5-7 freshman from Gray, La., is also expected to play on the left side. ?Jasmine has experience in the middle and could see time there, but she hits the ball a lot better from the left side. Jasmine also as a good jump serve,? said Nims. Jessica Johnson, a 5-10 freshman from Jay, Fla., and Brittney Rogers, a 5-10 freshman from Schriever, La., are the leading candidates to fill the middle. Former W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagle Jamica Thomas, a 5-8 freshman, could also see some time in the middle. ?Jessica played all over the floor in high school although we want her to focus on the middle and possibly the left side. She hits well from either hand and can also set the ball if necessary. Jessica also has a strong serve. Brittney is a strong blocker and she can hit off any set. Brittney has a good jump serve and could play all the way through the rotation,? said Nims. ?Jamica hasn?t played competitive volleyball for a couple of years, but she is improving every day. She is doing a lot of blocking and her hitting is getting better.? Emily Doty, a 5-8 sophomore from Prattville, is a returning front row player and is expected to play the right side hitter spot. ?Like a lot of our hitters, we had to play Emily in several spots last year. We want to limit her to the right side opposite the setter,? said Nims.
Jaclyn Seay, a 5-4. sophomore from Pace, Fla., is penciled in as a libero and Tamara Lewis, a 5-5 freshman from Jay, is the team?s defensive specialist. ?Jaclyn does a good job of getting where she needs to be on the floor. She has stepped up here play. She is a lefthanded server, which gives the defense a little different look,? said Nims. ?Like Jessica, Tamara played just about everywhere last year at Jay. She has improved her passing and has a nice serve.?
Nims said it is critical for her team to enjoy at least some success in the early going. ?I think it?s especially important for our sophomores to get some early wins. We have a lot of home games early in the year and that should help,? said Nims. ?The concern is there of what could happen if we get off to a tough start. I think we?ve got a pretty good attitude and this is a group that gets along well together.? JDCC opens play Aug. 24 at the Gadsden State Tournament.
This article originally appeared in the August 12, 2007 edition of The Brewton Standard.