Danville has high hopes for '05
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Danville finished 2004 with a 44-21 record, a 22-win improvement over the Hawks' finish in 2003. It might be too much to ask for another improvement of 22 wins this season after losing a large senior class, but coach Holly Little still has high expectations for this year's team.
"We had six seniors last year and they worked a lot in the off season, so I wasn't surprised at the amount of success we had (in 2004)," Little said. "We only have one senior this year, but there's a lot of younger players who are really anxious to step up.
"I'm looking for a lot of improvement from those younger players, especially on defense."
Danville came very close to making the state tournament in 2004, falling in the region tournament and finishing third behind West Limestone and eventual state champion Madison Academy.
The Hawks hope to make it back to the regional tournament, and they have set their schedule for 2005 in order to reach that goal.
"We're going to play a strong schedule this year," Little said. "We're going to play some bigger schools and participate in a lot more tournaments. There's probably only a few weekends where we won't play at all.
"Hopefully this tough schedule will help us later down the road."
Leading Danville's team will be libero Haley Hensley, the only senior on this year's Hawks. Younger players that Little is looking to help this season are middle hitter Lauren Simmons, middle hitter Alaina Fitzgerald, setter Bethany Evans and defensive specialist Kassie Coward.
Little is already impressed with the strides her young team has made in practice.
"Our passing is really improved," she said. "Our hitting was pretty good last year, but now our passing is much better.
"We want to win, want to make it to region and state like all the other teams. But what we're most interested in is getting better and getting used to playing better teams.
"This is a great group of kids; they're really easy to coach and have a good attitude. That's probably the best thing about this team."