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Captains announced for JV/V Volleyball teams
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Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Captains named for 2017-18 season

Coach Whitten spends an enormous amount of time planning for her volleyball seasons.  This summer, she researched and found a way of “selecting” captains for both her JV and V teams.  The players were told they could apply for the position by creating a resume, and submitting it to Coach Whitten, describing their qualities/strengths/desires in being a captain.  Once the deadline had been met, Coach Whitten announced her Captain and Co-Captain for her 17-18 JV team and the 2 Captains for her Varsity.

Autumn Bragwell and Katie Dempsey have been with Coach Whitten since their debut to volleyball their 6th grade year at a “Mini Volleyball Camp” held by Whitten in the spring.  They both made the JV team for their 7th grade season and were moved up to finish out the Varsity season.  Autumn and Katie fell in love with volleyball right away and have experienced meeting and accomplishing goals each season.  Their 8th grade season, they got to experience the excitement of Belgreen winning its first ever set at the Super Regional Tournament in Huntsville.  The very next season, they set the goal to win the first match, and be a “Sweet Sixteen” team and accomplished both as freshmen.  Katie was chosen as “’s Volleyball Player of the Week” as a Freshman as well.  So they both know the anticipation that comes with the summer and beginning of each new season.  “We are excited to see how this year goes, mainly because this is the first year we have run a 5-1 offense.  A 5-1 offense only has one setter on the floor which is different from our 4-2 offense in the past.  There was a ton we had to learn, and are still learning, but we’re excited to see how things will work.”  Autumn is this year’s lone setter and Katie is returning as the team’s most efficient hitter.

Summer play dates are a tool used by teams to discover “where they are” in the preseason.  Autumn and Katie both reflected on their summer games.  “We played in 4 play dates this summer and it showed us that we have a chance of making it far this season, but also showed us where we need the most work.”  Facing tough teams like Muscle Shoals, Deshler, Wilson, and Russellville –which are much larger schools- gives the Lady Bulldogs a ton of confidence when they hold their own.  That confidence must have been evident to other coaches as well, seeing how the Lady Bulldogs are preseason ranked –for the first time- at #6 in 1A coming in the 2017-18 season.

Goals are a must for any team.  Setting desired accomplishments early in the season gives a team a focal point to work towards throughout regular season play.  Returning 3 starters from the “Sweet Sixteen” team of 2016 in Ansley Tate, Autumn, and Katie –all 3 Sophomores-, the captains expressed their excitement for the upcoming season, along with their expectations:  “we are excited for our future because the core of team is young.  We made it to the “Sweet Sixteen” last year, and we expect to make it even farther this year!  We are finally starting to realize that we can compete and make it far into the playoffs instead of it just being a wish we’ve had like in the past years!” 

The JV Captain and Co-Captain were selected in the same manner as the Varsity.  Bailey Oliver was selected as the Captain, being a 3rd year returning starter for the JV.  Bailey is one of the most efficient servers and hitters on the JV squad.  She is a freshman this season and is ready to take on the role of leading her team.  She realizes the good and the challenging that exists for the 17-18 JV team, “our team has been working hard to improve every day.  We have several new players on our team who have improved a lot and will help our team win games.  We have done a good job celebrating and building each other up during practices and I hope that continues in the regular season.”  JV spends most of their practice time matching up against the Varsity and Bailey recognizes the good that comes from that tough competition.  “We have had some very exciting times as a team during practice.  When we score against the Varsity, or someone makes a great play, we get fired up and are hard to beat!  We all love each other and work well together!” 

Bailey’s Co-Captain is Kelsey Wilson, a fellow freshman, but a newcomer to the game.  This is Kelsey’s first year playing volleyball but she has instantaneously become a “volleyball player.”  She is one of 2 setters on the court at all times and she has “team” as her focus.  “Our goal as a team is to communicate on and off the court.  We need to become closer as a team, realizing we are great as individuals but better as a team.”  Kelsey also reflects on the practices as the standard for how she sees their season unfolding, saying “in practice we focus on the 4 C’s…communicate, cover, celebrate, and confidence.  We must communicate to be better, cover to get to the ball, be confident to be strong and celebrate the good as a team!”

Help us in welcoming and congratulating our 2017-18 Varsity Volleyball Captains…Autumn Bragwell and Katie Dempsey and our JV Captain/Co-Captain…Bailey Oliver and Kelsey Wilson.  Let’s all plan to support our girls this season and “GO BULLDOGS!”

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