Ashley Ridge volleyball coach Chi-Chi Hurley expects her team to be in the mix this year.
As always, the Swamp Foxes’ first goal is to win Region 8-AAAA, something they have come close to doing but never accomplished. Last season, Bluffton won the region and Ashley Ridge and Fort Dorchester tied for second place.
“This year represents one of our best chances of accomplishing that,” Hurley said. “I have a lot of talent coming back from last year. We have a great front row as well as some great defensive players.”
Juniors Chynna Hunt and Abi Dunlap return to anchor the front. Senior Olivia Boykin also returns to provide experience both in the middle and as an outside hitter.
Providing depth as hitters are Katie Jordan and Evan Atkinson.
“I expect to have the toughest middle I’ve ever had,” Hurley said. “Chynna played club ball this year and has really improved. When she is on, you aren’t going to stop her. Abi is very powerful on the outside and a good blocker.”
Senior Sabrina Spencer returns as a captain and the team’s primary setter, a position she has held since her sophomore season.
Libero Caitlyn Fecko, also a senior, will be in charge on the back row. Megan Carter and Morgan Bowers also bring experience to the back. Joining them this season is Allison Von Osdol, a transfer who saw playing time in Indiana last season.
“Sabrina has helped carry this team,” Hurley said. “She plays year round and is just a great volleyball player. She knows what to do on the court and is a great leader. Fecko is the boss in the back and Megan and Morgan are solid back row players.”
Heather Sammons, Katelyn Shindler, Mariah Jurow and Mollie Smith have been brought up from the Swamp Fox JV team so AR has good depth.
“We have a lot of talent but they have to pull together and play as a team,” Hurley said. “I can’t think of a position where we will be week this year. Of course it’s one thing to say that and another for them to realize that.”
The coach believes once the team begins to jell, it will be tough.
“This group has been playing together long enough to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and I think you will see that on the court,” she said. “They should be able to pick each other up. I see what the do at practice so I can’t wait to see what they do this season.