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August 4, 2017 4:16 p.m.

Eastside volleyball ready to pursue another playoff run

Tyler Williams | The Covington News/

An Eastside volleyball player goes up for a spike during the Lady Eagles' recent practice ahead of Saturday's opener.

COVINGTON, Ga. — Much like all of the fall sports teams across the county, the Eastside Volleyball team is gearing up to take on a new season with full momentum after a pretty strong showing in 2016. 

After a 2016 campaign that saw the Lady Eagles post a 23-16 overall record, a 6-3 mark in Region 4-AAAA — good for second place — and a playoff berth in which Eastside hosted for the first time in school history, second year head coach Maggie Johnston is looking to improve on one key aspect of the game in particular.

“We’re definitely looking to improve team unity,” Johnston said. “Last year we focused on communication and being relentless, and they seem to grasp that going after every ball, but this year we’re really trying to work on the overall cohesion between the girls on and off the court.”

Although there are a lot of new faces on the 2017 version, Johnston will expect returning players like Chasity Smith and junior outside hitter Lillian Fowler to lead the team.

And Fowler believes her experience gives her the opportunity to help push the young up-and-comers along. 

“I think I have a very good understanding of the game and a good work ethic that allows me to lead by example,” said Fowler. “My goal for the season is to improve in all aspects of the game.”

Fowler also echoed her coach’s team goal of unity and working together.

“The team goal for the season is to work well together and win,” she said. “We practice almost every day and have done team bonding activities.”

Johnston believes that these practices and activities are necessary and beneficial for the team to promote a strong alliance between her and her players.

As the first game approaches against Alcovy on Saturday morning at 8:30, Johnston believes they will be ready, but has certain things she is looking for in the first few games.

With a lot of young talent and potential, coupled with motivation to improve on a successful 2016 season, the Volleyball Eagles could potentially take their region, and be a dark horse to make a playoff run.

But, first thing’s first. 

“At the beginning of the year, we are mainly just trying to make sure the girls understand their rotations, that way we’re not confused,” she said. “On Saturday, we’re just going to throw a bunch of lineups out there to figure out what’s going to work best for the rest of the season.”

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