Elks look to con­tinue im­prov­ing in 2016 sea­son

Cecil Whig - - & - By KYLE RUS­SELL

Spe­cial to the Whig

The Elk­ton High School vol­ley­ball team took a step for­ward in 2015, the pro­gram’s first year back in the Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion, post­ing a 4-10 di­vi­sion record (4-12 over­all). Sec­ond-year coach Amy Sex­ton hopes to build on that foun­da­tion, and con­tinue to im­prove in 2016.

“The girls know that my phi­los­o­phy com­ing in last year was to work hard, and build­ing the pro­gram from the bot­tom up,” Sex­ton said. “We started last year with that, and I am look­ing for us to have a win­ning sea­son this year — that’s my main goal.”

Se­nior Emily Waldridge is the key re­turner for the Golden Elks af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated to the All-County honor­able men­tion team last sea­son. The out­side hit­ter should be the driv­ing force in the Elk­ton of­fense.

A pair of ju­niors also re­turn from last year’s start­ing lineup— mid­dle hit­ter Jay­cie Coates and de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Erica Vin­cent. Se­nior Jayanna Redden will also see an ex­panded role at the out­side hit­ter po­si­tion.

“Ev­ery­body has come back with great at­ti­tudes, came back in good shape, and have just been work­ing re­ally hard,” Sex­ton said. “We still have a lot to work on to get ready for our first of­fi­cial match, but with their ded­i­ca­tion and their out­look on ev­ery­thing, we are look­ing to have a good sea­son.”

Sopho­more Court­ney Hardy has been the most im­pres­sive younger player for Sex­ton’s squad, and she should see plenty of time as both a set­ter and out­side hit­ter this sea­son. Fresh­man Jes­sica Baldino has also shown prom­ise, though she will likely split her time be­tween the ju­nior var­sity and var­sity this year.

With just two se­niors on the team, Sex­ton knows that the ben­e­fits of the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences the team ac­cu­mu­lates this year will be seen be­yond just this sea­son.

“Know­ing the teams that we have in this county, it pushes the girls to be bet­ter,” she said. “I think a lot of them played a lot of club ball, and this sum­mer they were play­ing too — I think they want that win­ning feel­ing. They want to play against bet­ter com­pe­ti­tion be­cause that will only make us bet­ter. I keep telling them ‘It’s not only about win­ning, it’s about im­prov­ing ev­ery time that we play.”

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

The Elk­ton vol­ley­ball team will open the 2016 sea­son with in­creased ex­pec­ta­tions.

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