CLARKSTON – Clarkston High had an impressive campaign in 2017, notching their first-ever state playoff appearance in school history, however, focus for 2018 has begun.
The Lady Angoras will be without two key players as Ku Htaw (80 service aces, 39 digs) and Christie Hayes (53 kills, 29 service aces, 28 blocks) have graduated. Htaw will head to the University of Georgia.
Head coach Joie Bullock says that her returning players will likely be the starters for 2018.
“Their stats do not match up to most of the powerhouse teams in the county,” Bullock said. “However, I don’t care and neither do they. We just want to play and improve our game.”
Returning players for the Lady Angoras include junior Sharon Inno-Dike, sophomore Sojourner Thompson, senior Nel Cing, senior Paw Thaw, junior Kyla Mullins and junior Anna Said.
Inno-Dike is a middle hitter for the Lady Angoras and is expected to be the lead captain this season.
“Sharon is leading this year’s team to take on a positive outlook,” Bullock said. “I’m confident in her ability to lead this team to greatness.”
Thompson is another middle-hitter for the Lady Angoras but is just shy of one-year playing volleyball. Bullock says that Thompson is one of the agilest middle-hitters she’s seen play.
Cing has four years under her belt and is a setter for the program.
“Nel is projecting a confidence in her ability that has been developing over the past years,” Bullock said. “Her sets are better, her serves are harder, and her hits are killer.”
Thaw is another senior on the squad and has developed over the past four seasons and is an outside hitter for the program, Mullins pulls up the right side as a hitter and has also been playing for under a year.
“Kyla was originally slated to play junior varsity only last year,” Bullock said. “However, she came to summer conditioning every day and put in lots of hard work and moved up to the varsity team. Kyla has been making great leaps and strides in this sport ever since.”
The final outside hitter for the program is Said. According to Bullock, Said never played formal volleyball before 2017.
Clarkston enters the 2018 season with growth as an expectation.
“I want to win more games than we won last year (7-28). This is what I consider success,” Bullock said. “However, I do want a little more. I want to beat teams that beat us last year. I want to breed a mental mindset of champions. We went to the volleyball state playoffs for the first time in our school’s history. I want to do that again and forever more.”
With less than a year from their first state playoff appearance, Clarkston will face a little pressure to get back to state. Clarkston was the fifth team in their region to go but a rule change allows only the top four programs to go.
Bullock says that the team is implementing a belief that if something is dream-able it is doable. The Lady Angoras’ season opens with the fifth annual DeKalb County Spikefest Volleyball tournament Aug. 10 at 5p.m.