Lady Wolves building with youth
The Timberland Lady Wolves volleyball team, the two-time defending Region 7-AA champ, is starting over.
Not from scratch, but Coach Joy Elizondo has to replace five seniors from her 2012 team, including North/South All-Stars Jordan Smith and Destinee Wells. Starting over with a young team is something Elizondo has done before.
With a team fielding three seasoned seniors, Timberland will once again find themselves in the thick of a race for the Region 7-AA crown. These Lady Wolves have “three-peat” on their minds.
Seniors Allysisa Prioleau, Harley Dennis and Jessica Elizondo don’t plan on relinquishing any region titles in their final year on the court. They want one more trophy.
“We’re in a unique position that we will be able to contend in the region with a really young team,” Elizondo said. “While we may not have a team with a great deal of volleyball experience, we are a team of athletes, and you can’t keep good athletes down.”
Along with Prioleau, Dennis and Elizondo, juniors Taylor Ravenell and Tamarra Robinson have helped Timberland claim the last two regional championships. They know how to win.
“These are some of the most dedicated players I've coached at Timberland,” Elizondo said. “They come out every night ready to play.”
Junior Katie Shackelford will take over the setting duties and “has worked hard this summer to get ready,” Elizondo said. “Our goal every year is to advance higher in the playoff bracket. We've got to make adjustments and take what we learned lasted season and use it.”
The Lady Wolves will face some stiff competition in Region 7-AA play. Elizondo sees Lake Marion as one of the region favorites to contend returning all six starters on what she calls “a very athletic team.”
“I look for Andrews to return a strong team under Kathy Stewart as well,” she added.
There will be two coaching changes in the region for Lake City and Kingstree. The Lady Jaguars lost athletic director and volleyball and basketball coach Sonya Burgess in a car accident on Feb. 18 prior to Kingstree’s basketball playoff game with Lake City. Elizondo considered Burgess more than just a colleague, but a close friend.
“It will be difficult this season not talking with Sonya at the pregame meetings where we always shared good laughs,” she said. “She will be missed by everyone.”
THS will kick its season off in August with the Berkeley County Jamboree.