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Alma Volleyball Ready for a New Season 8/17/21

Alma volleyball ready for a new season

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

Alma volleyball coach Kimberly Weaver officially begins her second season as the school’s head coach. 

Though, to be honest, it feels like the first. 

Weaver treaded through the great unknown of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no team camps in the summer of 2020.

This time figures to be a little different. 

"In some regards, I feel like I'm going into my first season," Weaver said. "There's a lot of things even on an administrative level that are different. We didn't run a tournament last year; there are so many firsts.”

The Lady Airedales will host Springdale and Huntsville on Thursday as part of a three-team benefit match.

Weaver and Co. are ready. 

"As chaotic as the summer has been, with kids in and out, it's still better than no summer," Weaver said. "I don't necessarily feel as great as I thought I would feel at this point, but I also understand it's a process."

The process begins with consistent plays from the younger players, including those currently in intermediate school. 

Since 2017, the Lady Airedales are just 15-45. 

"As far as managing a program, it's focusing on the process and not necessarily being so married to the outcome. You have to find those wins within the wins. If we trust our process, good things are going to happen. 

"Patience is a big thing."

After graduating 11 seniors from the 2020 team, the Lady Airedales had a normal spring off-season, culminating with summer team camps. 

It’s a start. 

"We got work in," Weaver said. "The kids have been together. We went to Harding (Team Camp) and that was huge for our teams to go. We got Arkansas Tech and Southside ... we had way more opportunities before seeing our opponents."

Senior Rebekah McIntosh and junior Rachel James are among Weaver’s top returning players. But she hopes to count on others, too, like Jenna Williams, Kylie Chau, and Makenzie Erwin. 

"I want to be able to count on a lot of kids," Weaver said. "Rachel James, obviously, is part of the daily conversation in how we can best use her and her skillset. Rebekah McIntosh is picking up where she left off last season; she has a very strong arm and a high level of knowledge for the game."

McIntosh and James are the two top returning players who saw consistent play at the varsity level in 2020. 

"We're going to have a lot of new faces," Weaver said. "I think that's something that is exciting. Mackenzie Erwin, I see her making us better. It’s going to be interesting to see.”

McIntosh, Kristen Lindley, and CJ Floyd are the team’s lone seniors. "There's not going to be quite the turnover we saw our first year when we graduated 11," Weaver said. 

The Lady Airedales open the season Monday against Charleston. The team begins 5A-West play on Sept. 7 against Vilonia. 

Meanwhile, as the second wave of COVID hit Arkansas this month, there are again concerns. 

"There are so many things you have to deal with as a coach, and obviously COVID highlighted that," Weaver said. "There are things we can't control. We have to focus on what we can control. 

"We need to be really good at a few things, and we need to be OK at a few things."