Lady Mavs look for a return to state tournament
Jayme Smith will soon begin her 14th season as Anderson County High School’s volleyball coach.
This year, as always, Smith has high expectations for her program.
The Lady Mavericks are no strangers to deep postseason runs.
They’re coming off a season where they reached the Class AA State Tournament semifinals in Murfreesboro in 2021.
“We don’t shy away from (high expectations),” said Smith. “We made it back to the Final Four last year. Your goal is always to get to the state and then your next goal is to get to the Final Four.
“If you get to the Final Four, anything can happen. If you make one play or if something goes your way, you can win.”
The long offseason will soon come to a close, and the new season brings with it excitement for Smith and the Lady Mavericicks.
“We’re excited but I’m also anxious,”Smith said. “I’m anxious to see how they do.
“We definitely aren’t where we want to be in October, but I think that’s good for us. This is a different group of girls, but they’re all over the floor and they hustle and they battle.”
This year’s ACHS team will look to improve as the season progresses.
“We have girls that have been in the shadows of other good players, and now they’ll be asked to step up and play different and bigger roles,” Smith said.
“They’ve seen some playing time on varsity, but they’ve been in the shadows.”
While Smith and the Lady Mavericks want to end the 2022 campaign on the grand stage in the Midstate, the coach said she understands that the early legs of the voyage may have a few pitfalls.
“We’re going to take some hits early because some of those (Class) AAA schools are going to be good and they’re going to be tough,” Smith said. “But I think we can give them a run for their money.”
If the Lady Mavericks are going to enjoy the success that they hope for, they have some work to do.
“We have a lot of things that we need to work on,” Smith said. “We don’t have that one power hitter, so we’ll have to rely on our defense and make the other teams make some mistakes.
“We have to work on our passing, and we’ll have to learn what balls to set and what balls not to set. We’ll have to learn to see who’s hot and who’s not. We’ll have to learn how to see and how to know what the other team’s defense is doing.”
The Lady Mavericks have just one senior returning from last season as Anna Kay Smith, a left side player and defensive specialist is back for her final season at Anderson County.
Other key returners include: Jaylynn Bullock (junior, setter); Kyra Danewood (junior, middle blocker); Shelby Kelly (sophomore, middle blocker); Alyssa Meier (sophomore, left side) and Eberle Mayes (junior, defensive specialist).
Anderson County has a pair of varsity newcomers looking to make a quick impact as defensive specialists, as juniors Faith Graham and Gracie Hayes join the fray for the Lady Mavericks.