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Fresh faces for Lady Hawks

Danville volleyball coach Spencer Cole is in a new position coming into the fall of 2011.

He’s having to replace five starters that helped the Lady Hawks advance to the AHSAA Class 3A State Tournament.

“We usually don’t have this much turnover each year,” Cole said. “This is a new experience for us. That means we’re going to need some players to step up and provide leadership for the team.”

Gone are UAB signee Lindsay Simmons, Lacey Evans, Ashley Nance, Kaitlin Wallace and Morgan Doherty. Danville must now turn to a number of seniors and underclassmen who saw action as role players last season.

Jada Callahan is probably the most experienced player the Hawks have returning. She has been a three-year player at the net for Danville.

Then freshman Sydni Shelton returns as the leading blocker from last year’s team as an eighth grader.

Also, Cole is asking Haley Garnett to move from the back row to one of the setter positions.

As for the other three starting positions, Cole said those are up for grabs.

“We’re going to play a lot of different lineups the first three or four weeks of the season, just trying to see who will step up,” Cole said. “Then later in the season, we’ll probably know what is the best line-up for us.”

Cole said he has 13 players on this year’s team, which is a lot larger than his normal squads of nine to 10 players. However, that’s allowed him the opportunity to see good competition throughout their fall camp.

“There’s been a lot of good competition throughout our practices,” Cole said. “Right now, we’re just looking to see who’s going to step up and lead our team.”

Cole said he coaches his team with the mindset of playing their best at the end of the season. Because of that, Danville plays an aggressive schedule that includes top teams in 5A and 6A to prepare them for the area, regional and state tournaments.

The area includes West Morgan, Clements and Elkmont.

“Everything we do in the regular season is to be ready for October,” Cole said. “We’ve built that tradition around here. It’s not all about the wins and losses in the regular season. It’s about where you are when the tournaments begin and we want to be playing our best at the end.”

Danville will begin its regular season today at Catholic in Madison. Other teams in action today include Hartselle at Addison and Brewer at Decatur. Danville and Brewer will compete in the Brewer/Pepsi Invitational Saturday while Hartselle will compete at Hewitt-Trussville.

The Lady Hawks first home match will be on Aug. 25 when they host Addison and Brewer.

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