Insider’s Preseason Glimpse: Volleyball & The Quest for 100 Straight District Wins

By Jaclyn Batchelor

Going into the season, the Lady Cougars are tied in the regions preseason ranking for first with the Greenwood Gators. This is the first time the team has been ranked this highly in the history of the program.  In a scrimmage, they have already beaten the two time region champs, South Warren, their biggest rivals. This season may also mark the record-breaking 100 consecutive district wins for the Lady Cougars. They will begin the season with 96, and if all goes well, the team will reach 100 on September 13th at home for the “Clash of the Cats” against the Russellville Panthers.

As a senior and varsity starter, I cannot wait to get the season started. We have high expectations for the team even before season begins. I can see the potential for this team to go far in region and hopefully, with hard work and a little luck, we can make it to state. This is my last season and I want to make the best of it with these girls that I have grown to love.

We interviewed one of the coaches, Rob Imlay, and several other varsity players to get an early look on how the season is looking for the Lady Cougars. Junior and Right side hitter, Shelby Hardison, says, “I expect this season to really showcase what the volleyball program is all about: team and hard work. I expect us to hopefully go to state and prove to everyone that we deserve more recognition.”

Senior and outside hitter Miranda Wright believes that “This season is going to go very well because of the special bond that our team has.”

“I gave the team an A rating on their first scrimmage which is something a rarely do,” says Imlay. “I think this team has the chemistry and potential to do great things. We just need to build on what we have and push ourselves continuing to improve every day.”

Overall, I think all volleyball players and supporters have high hopes for the season. We must always have confidence in our abilities, but never to the point where it goes to our heads and becomes cockiness. We all have weaknesses, but the team fills in the individual shortcomings to help us play as a team. As Coach Imlay always says, “You’re never as good as you think you are, but you’re never as bad as you think you are either.”  On a more personal note, Imlay advises his players to “Seize the day” because these moments do not last long, and this time representing the school and their families are “very special.”

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