South’s Super Seven Seniors Back To State
South Super Seven seniors achieved their pre-season goal of defending their 4th region championship from last season and returning to state tournament representing the 4th region. The Lady Spartans not only achieved their goal, but dominated, not losing a single post-season game. The Lady Spartans finished their regular season with a 33-6 overall record, going 20-1 in region play and a perfect 13-0 in district.
Friday night the Lady Spartans take on the Lady Cougars of Letcher County Central (29-7)
Coach Griffin’s squad this year had a target on their back and experience paid dividends for the Lady Spartans throughout the season. “We knew that everyone would be coming for us, but I think we have a pretty confident group with experience that carried us during the season” said Griffin.
That experience that coach Griffin refers to comes from prior and current seniors who have laid the foundation to build a tradition within the volleyball program at South. “These girls bring intensity and they are very competitive. They are also excellent leaders. They have come a long way from freshman to where are program is today I couldn’t be more proud of them” said Griffin.
South Warren’s seven seniors (Cecilia Allen, Madeline Allen, Kirsten Black, Megan Gilliam, Madison Jenkins, Sarah Pemberton and Sydney Pemberton) are very comfortable with their roles and understand that they are the team with the target on its back.
Earlier this season the Super Seven talked about the team and their expectations.
Cecilia Allen (passer) “I want to continue this season like we finished last year winning district, region and hopefully going further in state then we did last year”
There is not any question about the bond that these girls have developed over the years which defensive specialist Madeline Allen believes is a big asset for the team “I like the sense of community that we have developed because we have played together for so many years. We have gotten to know each other; it’s just like a big family”
Defensive specialist Kirsten Black echoes the team togetherness but also elaborates “We gel together really well. Everyone knows who is getting what and where to be on the court. It’s our senior year and we want to make it count”
Middle hitter Megan Gilliam has been playing with most of her team since the 4th grade. “I love these girls we are very close so I am really excited for this season to get started”. Megan recalls her freshman year on the team “Freshman year no one was at our games, we would go to Bowling Green, Greenwood or other schools they would have huge student sections, laughed Gilliam. But it’s really cool now because we have a great fan base. The whole feeling around volleyball is amazing”
Outside hitter Madison Jenkins answers the question about pressure going into this season. “It is fun being on a team and knowing that we have worked so hard to get here. Having the success we did last season, I know we are all going to have to focus and press forward. All of us seniors are ready to make this season count”
Sarah Pemberton (libero) and Sister Sydney Pemberton (OH,DS) talk about their journey at South Warren and being part of putting the program on the map. “When the program started we had losing records but over time with more practice and playing together we have come a long way. We have gone from getting knocked out in the first round of district tournament to winning it all. We just hope to continue growing and go further” said Sarah.
Sydney acknowledges that there are pressures this season “Yes I feel that there is and our coach has told us because of how far we have come. We are not going to let that stop us. We have a lot of goals as a team this season.
Once a player and team have experienced a state tournament the motivation is that much greater to return. “We definitely want to return to state, but it was our first time going to state which was a lot of fun, but a different experience playing better competition” said Sarah.
Coach Griffin picked up his second consecutive 4th Region Coach of the Year Award, while senior setter Lydia Jackson picked up her second consecutive 4th Region Player of the Year Award. More post-season awards will be handed out later this month.