Lady Warriors out to prove new roster can win

By CAMAL PETRO,

The Oak Grove volleyball program graduated just about everybody – nine in total – who helped lead the way to the Class III State Championship game, but with ll of the players left and the new players, first-time ever high school head coach Sherry Wallace wants to make one thing clear.

This is not a rebuilding year.

“I asked the girls their goals before I really knew them, and almost everybody wrote, ‘To prove everybody wrong.’ I asked them what they meant by that, and they said, ‘This is not a rebuilding year,’” Wallace recalled.

Wallace comes to Oak Grove by way of Mobile, where she played high school and college volleyball before entering the coaching world as a junior in college. She played at Murphy High School, then went to play at the University of Mobile. During her last two years there, she became a student assistant.

After she graduated in May, a friend in the coaching world contacted her about the Oak Grove job, and she had no idea how huge the sport was at the school.

“I honestly knew nothing about Oak Grove,” Wallace said. “I didn’t know how awesome it was, the facilities, the school district, no idea. I came over here for my interview and I was just in awe. This is a coach’s dream, it really is.”

While at the University of Mobile, she also was the junior varsity coach at Saraland High School, where the only paperwork she filled out was roster sheets for games and tournaments.

Wallace inherited a program that had a trip to the Class III State Championship last season, but the varsity roster will look completely different. The players back for this season are determined to prove they can get a team to a state championship, too.

However, there are steps along the way Wallace wants her team to complete first.

“Our success isn’t measured in winning or losing, our success is measured by achieving our goals and working hard to achieve them,” Wallace said. “I try to tell them that, and we set goals that are reachable. We’ll start with one goal and work our way back up to state.”

Junior outside hitter Emma Roberts is one of the only players back on the varsity roster, and Wallace likes her attack, arm swing and defense. She added Roberts is “one of those all-around players.” Senior Lekera Hughes is also back as an outside hitter, and she’s brings a calming presence to the floor.

Junior Alden Parsons and senior Ansley Brent were in a battle for the libero position during the preseason, as Parsons wore the different colored jersey Tuesday night against Our Lake Academy.

At setter, junior Millen Ford has earned the starting spot this summer after not play much on varsity last season.

“And we still haven’t really figured the rest out,” Wallace said. “They’re throwing me for a loop here.”