By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
If quality volleyball action is the way you want to fill your weekend, go no further than Whitley County High School this weekend.
The inaugural Lady Colonel First Priority Volleyball Classic, which boasts a host of local teams, will get underway today with pool play and run through Saturday until a champion is crowned.
Whitley County head coach David Halcomb said he is more than excited about the event and said when you look at the teams playing, the field is wide open.
“We’re really happy to be able to get this tournament started and we want this to be an annual event for years to come,” he said. “We did something similar when I coached softball and it was something that the kids really enjoyed hosting, so hopefully it has the same impact.
“It’s kind of unique in the fact it’s sponsored by First Priority, which is a Christian club at the schools and a lot of the teams in the tournament have those clubs at their school,” he added.
In addition to the competition, Halcomb said the teams will be treated to an ice cream social after their first match of the evening on Friday as well as a character devotion time. Halcomb also said that each match will have two players of the game, which are chosen in a unique way.
“What we do is let the girls on each team select a player of the game from the other team,” he said. “The thing about that is it allows us to have two players of the game for each match, which means kids who may not always get recognized can have a chance to get some attention.
“When you do it that way, I think it really creates a sense of togetherness as the kids decide as a group who that player of the game is,” he added.
As for local teams in the tournament, in addition to the host Lady Colonels, Corbin, Jellico, Tenn., North Laurel, South Laurel and Knox Central will take part in the fun.
Corbin coach Liberty Roberts said she is looking forward to the action and said her team is going in with high expectations.
“We are excited to be able to play some teams we wouldn’t be able to play otherwise and just get some more action under our belts,” Roberts said. “It also gives us a chance to improve in some areas that we know we need to get better and to do it against some really strong competition is a bonus.”
“We are going in with high expectations because we’ve played well against a few of the teams that are in the tournament, but we know we still have to play well to be able to win it,” she added.
North Laurel coach Ali Ray echoed Roberts’ sentiments when it comes to the level of competition and the ability to start preparing for postseason play.
“As the season is starting to wind down, you can’t use the excuse that it’s early anymore, so you have to start getting better,” she said. “Tournaments like this against quality teams are a great way to improve and just get more time on the floor for your kids.
“We’ve been able to use a lot of kids due to illnesses and such, so hopefully we get a good rotation established and start improving,” she added. “This is a going to be a solid tournament and the competition is going to be exciting for everyone.”
South Laurel coach Fawn Greer said her team is treating the tournament like a region tournament preview with a few other teams in the mix. She agreed with the other local coaches that the teams are very evenly matched and said that it’s anyone’s tournament to win.
“We’re glad to be able to compete in the tournament and I think it should be a very competitive field,” Greer said. “Each of the teams in the field, I think are very close in comparison, which should make for an exciting weekend.
“We’ve worked a lot on running plays and things like that, so we’ll use this to try and improve on that,” she added. “It’s time to start preparing for the postseason and this is a good way to get started.”
Play is set to get underway today at 5 p.m. at Whitley County High School.
Local teams highlight First Priority Volleyball Classic field
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
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