Volleyball Preview 2022: Dawson County
Despite a 20-win season and a regular season region title, Dawson County was held out of the state playoffs in 2021. The former #10-ranked team is brimming with talent, and haven’t forgotten what last year’s finish felt like. With excellent play returning and top-notch coaching in Tanya Porter, 2022 should mimic last year’s regular season married with 2019’s Elite 8 run.
Head Coach: Tanya Porter, 7th Season
2021 Record: 20-8; No Playoffs; #10 State Ranking
“We aren’t sure what to expect in this first year of our new region assignment,” says Porter. “Even though we lost two power house programs in North Hall and Cherokee Bluff, we picked up some major region contenders in Wesleyan and Pickens all while keeping giants like Lumpkin and White. We will definitely be a contender in region 7-AAA and thanks to a tough regular season schedule, we hope to be playing our best volleyball in October!”
Key Departures: Emma Pelfrey, Avery Herring
Key Returning Players: Abby Felkai, Abby Clouser, Kirklyn Porter (back after not playing in ’21), Meghan Roche, Jessie Mann, Hope Selzer, Emerald Sallee, Macie Arrington
The discussion of key returning players starts with Abby Felkai, who was a move-in from Canada last year and had a huge impact right away on the program. The setter has had a stellar summer tour, winning all over the place. She’s ready for a monster senior year. Emma Pelfrey (Reinhardt) will be missed greatly, but there are plenty of senior leaders ready to step up this year. And with the return of Kirklyn Porter (basketball standout who didn’t play volleyball last year), her athleticism is more than welcome in the Lady Tigers’ lineup.
“We have a big senior class that will prove to be helpful this season and give us some depth and experience,” says Porter. “Felkai will be instrumental in leading our team. We also return senior setters Clouser and Porter. We should remain strong at OH returning both Mann and Roche. Our back court got some depth in freshman Selzer and will be mentored by returning senior Sallee. Unfortunately, we graduated both senior middles Pelfrey and Herring who provided a great deal of team leadership for us last season. We have also lost a key incoming freshman, Macie Arrington, to a shoulder injury. We are hopeful that she may be able to see some action late in the season after rehab and recovery.”
Strength & Area of Focus
Strength: Numbers in the program; Depth
“As the program continues to grow, we are seeing more and more players who play the sport year around and continuously make improvements in their game,” adds Porter. “This gives us a great deal of experience at each position and allows us some flexibility in our lineup and rotations.”
“We will continue to emphasize the importance of ‘team’ culture and fostering a family climate in our program,” says Porter. “We genuinely believe that teams who play for each other and play to accomplish goals bigger than personal milestones are harder to beat.”