Adam Watts saw his Alexander volleyball team make a big jump last season.
The Cougars went 26-21 and finished as area runner-up in addition to winning the first county championship in program history.
With the return of four starters, including three-time county player of the year Reese Blackley, the Cougars expect an other success run towards the postseason.
“We got to work a lot harder but I feel we got some natural talent and learn very fast,” Alexander junior defensive specialist Emily Frost said. “I feel we can have a successful season.”
In addition to Frost and Blackley, the Cougars return seniors Makenzie Tanner and Mattie Wisner to the line-up.
Alexander coach Adam Watts said that he has some players from the JV that can help on this season’s varsity. The Cougars open the season on Thursday by hosting Callaway and Bremen at home.
Unlike last season, Adams didn’t stack the non-region schedule as he host to groom the team a little more before its area schedule start.
“I feel we got a good group of players,” Watts said. “We got some pieces that I think we fall into place.”
Blackley has already committed to Div. II power Wingate of North Carolina. She said she is ready to enjoy her final season in a Cougars’ uniform.
“I tried not to make it that hard on myself by going ahead and committing to a school,” Blackley said. “There want be as much pressure. I’m ready to jump into this season.”
Besides being one of the top players, Blackley is expected to provide some key leadership.
“I’ve got to help encourage the team,” she said. “I have to set a good example for everybody. We just have to play as a team, and I think we will be all right.”
“Reese can be a little more relaxed and have some fun her senior season,” he said. “She definitely adds a lot to this team. In the past seasons, Reese has taken a back burner to the upperclassmen as far as leadership. With this being her senior year, we want her to take on a more vocal responsibility. I’ve seen her grow from her freshman year to now.”