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New sport on campus: Volleyball comes to JCHS

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    Volleyball takes the court on Aug. 11 at JCHS with an away match at Baldwin. The first home match is Aug. 25. BRAD HARRISON/Contributed
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    Head coach Ladonna Olivieri gives instructions during a recent practice. BRAD HARRISON/Contributed
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    Enthusiasm has not been a problem with the start of the volleyball program with more than 120 initially showing interest. BRAD HARRISON/Contributed
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    Lady Greyhounds get set to receive an opposing serve during a recent practice. BRAD HARRISON/Contributed

With support throughout the community behind it, a new sport is set to begin at Jones County High School. The Lady Greyhounds will carry the banner of Jones County High School this fall in the sport of volleyball.

JCHS takes the court for its first match next Tuesday, Aug. 11, at Baldwin and will do so for the time in its home gym on Aug. 25 against Howard and Westside. All matches are set for a 5 p.m. start, and most of them include both varsity and junior varsity matches.

Jones County did not exactly have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to cobble up enough players to field two teams. An excess of 120-plus student-athletes expressed an interest in being part of the team last school year. Since then, Lady Greyhounds head coach Ladonna Olivieri and her assistant Amanda Paulk have culled down the roster to 12 varsity slots and 14 on junior varsity.

“The interest was tremendous. This is something that is new to the school and the community,” Olivieri said. “We’ve gotten so much support from the school and the community.”

There is a high degree of newness for the Lady Greyhounds. Not only are a majority of the players new to the sport, but it’s also both coaches’ first time coaching the sport, as well.

But what this group lacks in experience, it has an overflowing amount of enthusiasm to not only learn a new sport but also the pride that comes with representing their community in competition.

“It’s easy when the girls are excited and want to do things, when you have enthusiasm and positivity, it makes it easier,” Paulk said.

The roster itself holds a mixture of experience. The Lady Greyhounds varsity roster consists of five seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.

Having a fair amount of seasoned student-athletes should help Jones County with a number of players on the roster having experience within basketball and cheerleading. The basketball background should especially aid the Lady Greyhounds along the front line.

“Several have come to us from cheerleading and a lot from basketball,” Olivieri said. “That gives us a lot of height and we can condition them and turn them over to basketball and help keep them conditioned.”

Going into the season, those pinpointed as leaders include sophomore Paige Pietrick, freshman Kameron Hardwick, seniors Skye Gorman and Harley Bryant as well as sophomore Zariah Greene.

On some teams, having a roster with as many underclassmen getting a hard look for playing time may cause some friction. That does not appear to be the case for this team, something that speaks to the type of players that are in the program, the coach said.

“They already have that ability to cheer each other on and support each other,” Olivieri said. “It’s a great feeling to have that.”

JCHS Volleyball Varsity Roster

Avy Batchelor

Bianca Flores

Harley Bryant

Jasmine Downing

Jordenn Jones

Josie Dobson

Kaitlyn Pauldo

Kameron Hardwick

Kimmya Epps

Paige Pietrick

Skye Gorman

Zariah Green

Mattison Graham, manager

JCHS Junior Varsity Roster

Alyssa Woods

Anna Barnett

Jade Hipps

Kailey Goodrich

Katelyn Savage

Kennedy Chambers

Madison Maxwell

Nya Warren

Paris Adams

Pressley Vinson

Shamesia Duehart

Sierra Handlos

Tori Land

Tymia Harris

Tykeria Lamar, manager