KFHS girls look to continue volleyball success

Published 9:38 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

The King’s Fork High School girls’ volleyball team has lost six players from last year’s squad, but has a mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores this year that coach Sarah Porter anticipates will keep the Lady Bulldogs in a strong position.

In 2013, KF was the runner-up to Nansemond River High School in the Ironclad Conference for the regular season and the tournament and made it to the regional playoffs, losing to Churchland High School to finish at 11-12 overall.

King's Fork High School rising senior outside hitter Taylor Harrell is expected to be one of the team's leaders this year, along with fellow rising senior libero Tiffany Cox.

King’s Fork High School rising senior outside hitter Taylor Harrell is expected to be one of the team’s leaders this year, along with fellow rising senior libero Tiffany Cox.

Like last year, the Lady Bulldogs’ season schedule will start with old Southeastern District opponents from Chesapeake.

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“We always compete with them, and they’re always a little more stacked than we are,” Porter said, noting they have rosters with many more year-around players. “I expect to win some just like we have in the past.”

With regard to the conference, Porter expects a continuing high-stakes battle with the Lady Warriors.

“I’m really looking forward to competing with them for first place in the conference this year,” she said.

Four 2013 King’s Fork players are gone due to graduation and two other rising seniors chose not to play this year. Among the graduates were some key contributors, including setter Erin Banks, libero Roneka Spady and defender Katina Robinson.

Five girls are returning, including rising seniors Taylor Harrell and Tiffany Cox.

Of those two, Porter said, “I really expect them to be leaders this year on and off the court.”

Harrell has been with the King’s Fork program since eighth grade, and this will be her third year on varsity. Porter said the outside hitter position is Harrell’s “bread and butter,” but in addition to that role, this year “she’ll play all the way around.”

Cox transferred in from Florida last year and contributed as an outside hitter, but this year she will shift to libero.

“That’ll be a big move for her, but I expect that it’ll be something that benefits us,” Porter said.

The coach praised Cox’s work ethic.

“She’s come a long way from last year to this year.”

Porter said she was concerned about this season after losing Banks, but rising sophomore Cydney Nichols has stepped up in the setter position.

“Last year, since we had Erin, she didn’t get to set as much, but she’s a good setter, and she’s also quick to get to the ball,” the coach said.

Rising sophomore Drew Phillips is a good defender who can also hit, if needed, and rising sophomore Nia Nickerson will contribute her approximately 5-foot-10-inch height to the middle.

“She’s long, she’s got long arms, and she’ll be a big presence at the net as far as the block goes,” Porter said of Nickerson.

Nickerson gives depth for KF in the middle, which can also feature rising juniors Jazlyn Dunn and Latonia Thomas, though Thomas will probably play more outside.

Porter said the young players catching on to how the varsity team works will be key to 2014 success.

The Lady Bulldogs will open the season by hosting Deep Creek High School on Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.