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May 8, 2021

High school volleyball: Salisbury

Head coach: Andrea Davis (4th year, 22-41)

2019: 5-15 overall, 3-15 2A Central Carolina Conference (9th)

Playoffs: No

Standouts: Senior setter Ellen Yang, senior middle blocker Alli Tuck

New faces: Madelyn Lawrence, Riley Peltz, Ella Trainor, Grace Blackwell, Brooke Cunningham

Opening game: Lost 3-1 to West Davidson

Outlook

SALISBURY — Davis, a family law attorney, will guide the Salisbury varsity volleyball team.

“We’re super-excited to finally get our season started,” Davis said. “I’m really proud of all the girls for continuing to show up and adjust as new requirements hit almost weekly from the NCHSAA.”

Davis in her fourth season with the Hornets. She coached a winning team in 2016 and returned to the helm in 2018. She also coached volleyball at Salisbury Academy for many years.

Davis expects the Hornets to be led by seniors Yang, a setter and right side hitter, who had 16 digs and 13 assists in Salisbury’s opener, and Tuck, who will operate in the middle. Tuck had six  blocks and four kills on opening night.

“Alli will be a strong presence on the front row,” Davis said.

There’s some reasons for optimism because the jayvees fielded a strong team in 2019.

“We have lots of solid juniors and one sophomore coming up from a dominant jayvee team to play varsity,” Davis said.

Lawrence made 33 digs in the first game. Peltz, Trainor, Blackwell and Cunningham had their moments.

Sophomore libero Kendall Colwell is a jayvee player with a bright future.

Led by two-time CCC Player of the Year Juliana Anderson, Salisbury won the CCC regular season and tournament championships in 2014 and tied for second in 2015. Then the Hornets managed to put together a winning season in 2016 even after Anderson graduated.

But the league made a dramatic transformation in 2017 when Oak Grove was added and South Rowan, Ledford, Central Davidson and North Davidson moved down to 2A. Throw in an almost always strong West Davidson program, and this has become a volleyball league that has gotten deeper and stronger. Three CCC teams won first-round games in 2018 and 2019 and South Rowan reached the fourth round.

Salisbury’s last playoff appearance came in 2016. Salisbury’s last playoff victory — one of the three in program history — came in 2014.

The Hornets usually compete without the benefit of the sort of  travel and tournament volleyball players who stock the teams at West Rowan, Carson, East Rowan and South Rowan, so it’s a challenge.

This will be a very different sort of season. Volleyball is normally a long grind with CCC teams playing 18 league games home-and-home. They’ll only play each other once this time.

The Hornets hope to make the most of the season they have.

“Our game plan is to play smart and execute strong fundamentals,” Davis said. “We’re hoping to bring in a few more wins this year.”

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