With six seniors back from a 15-win team that advanced to the Region 4D Semifinals a year ago, Carroll County’s volleyball team appears set to make another playoff run in 2018.
Leading the way will be seniors Adrienne Harris and Taylor Spangler, both second-team All-Region 4D selections a year ago. Chasity Tompkins, Erin Hash, Emily Harmon and Allyson Bemis also return to form an extremely talented senior class for the Lady Cavaliers.
“They have worked really hard this year, not just them, but everybody,” Carroll County head coach Cindy Edwards said. “We have done summer league and we have done three camps. If we can learn to control the chaotic aspect of it, I think we will be okay.”
While Edwards loves this senior class, there is one obvious missing piece. First-Team All-Region 4D outside hitter Jolee Sloss would also have been in this senior group, but left when her father, former Carroll County head football coach Eddie Sloss, left to take the same position at his alma mater, Blacksburg High School. Sloss led the Cavs in kills (256) and hitting percentage (84.1 percent) a year ago and was among the team leader in digs, aces and service points.
“It is a loss, but they had to do what was best for their family and we support that 100 percent,” Edwards said. “You have to keep your family together.”
Adrienne Harris was selected Three Rivers District Libero of the Year in 2017 after leading Carroll County in digs (406), aces (36), setting percentage (97.5 percent) and service points (325). To help make up for the loss of Sloss, Harris will move to an outside hitter. A tremendous athlete, Harris should be able to make the transition well as she had a hitting percentage of 94.3 percent (182-of-193) with 32 kills a year ago.
“Adrienne is athletic enough to make the move and she had a good summer. We played her out there all summer and during camp. Again, you take that athleticism and move it from one spot to another,” Edwards said. “We are going to take Chasity Tompkins and she will move into the libero spot. She has worked her behind off. She definitely deserves the opportunity back there. She has just really worked really hard and done everything we have asked. Also Haley Spangler can play at libero. We played her there against Blacksburg when we scrimmaged them and she did a pretty good job. We also have Brooklyn Vaughan we can play at libero.”
Vaughan and Haley and Hannah Spangler join Lexi Goad, Hannah Dalton, Skylar Petty, Cassidy Lawson and Alexis Snavely as the junior class. Sophomore Hannah Farmer is another talented underclassman.
“Our seniors, they were sophomores when we brought them up to varsity and we took a bit of a pounding that year because we were so young. I do feel good with them combined with that junior group and Hannah,” Edwards said. “We kind of combined two classes because they have all worked so hard. Their athleticism together, just combining those two classes, they are coming together.”
Still, Edwards said more production is needed out of the team’s hitters. There are a lot of options with Petty, Snavely, Dalton, Farmer, Lawson and Bemis. Farmer can play any of the hitter positions and she brings a lot of talent with a lot of upside, Edwards said.
With so many options up front and a pair of talented setters in Taylor Spangler and Hannah Spangler, Edwards said Carroll is moving to a 6-2 look this season. Taylor Spangler earned second-team all-region honors last year after setting school records for assists in a season (646) and in a game (44).
“Taylor and Hannah, both of them give us something. Hannah has worked her behind off and is very gifted,” Edwards said. “This year with more hitters and two setters that can do the job, we are moving to a 6-2.”
Emily Harmon and Lexi Goad both will be able to help Carroll as defensive specialists with their passing and defense. The Cavaliers have tested their limits in the preseason with scrimmages against some of the area’s most talented teams in Blacksburg, Abingdon and Marion.
“We were pleased with the scores. Those are some pretty good teams to scrimmage because we want to be pushed early in the season,” Edwards said. “We were right there with them. Even against Blacksburg, they are so tall, so quick and athletic. After the first game, we adjusted and I was pleased with the things we did against them.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN