Volleyball Preview 2022: White County
The Lady Warriors weren’t concerned last year with wins and losses. Shannon Smith was vocal about the tough non-region schedule that would prepare the team for better things by the end. She guided White County to a respectable 16-16, and the team was ranked #8 in the state during the season and made the playoffs. Smith moves on, and Yarixa Oakes takes over as head coach.
Head Coach: Yarixa Oakes, 1st Season
2021 Record: 16-16; State Rnd 1; #8 State Ranking
A tough region 7-AAA will be just as stingy this year, but the girls are hoping for more than a first round appearance. Smith has guided the program to an Elite 8 and a Sweet 16 run and four total state playoff trips, and has 80 career wins to her credit. With Lumpkin and Dawson still in the mix in the region, it won’t be easy at all – but White County is just as formidable as the rest of the pack.
Key Departures: Abbie Rankl, Camryn Dorsey, Savannah Martin, Kendra Dye
Rankl and Dorsey both might be the best of the talent that rolled off the roster, but this trio provided leadership in more than just talent.
Key Returning Players: Lindsey Burke, Mar Martinez
Burke headlines the group of talent coming back. The junior setter had 539 assists and 161 digs last year, eclipsing 1,000 career assists in just two years. She also was excellent at the serve position with 67 aces, and showed the ability to generate kills with 41, and provide cover at the net (10 blocks). Mar Mar (Marilyn Martinez) will be back as a senior, and was really solid last year.
Strength & Area of Focus
Strength: Returning player experience. Only three players come off the roster from last year. That means everyone naturally should be one year better and more seasoned. The cohesiveness, familiarity, and togetherness might translate in more wins in and of itself.
Focus: Winning the close ones. NINE of White County’s match losses last season came in the third and decisive set. THREE times aside from that they won in a third set. If the girls can turn just half of those nine losses into wins, you might have seen the Lady Warriors grab and better seed out of 7-AAA, and thus a better playoff map.