The world of high school volleyball has long disregarded Pulaski County High School, unfortunately with good reason if you look at the win/loss records. With a little luck and a whole lot of hard work, the newest batch of Lady Cougars are hoping to turn that around.
“This is a very talented, motivated and hard working group of young ladies,” said new head coach Allison Sutphin. “Their strong character alone will serve them well this season. I couldn’t be more proud of the progress they’ve made thus far.”
The new coach is still getting her feet underneath her, but she’s not exactly a new face. The Pulaski alum played for the Lady Cougars from 2006 to 2009. She also played club volleyball with the NRV and Southwest Juniors. As a student at Virginia Tech, she played on the Hokie club team.
“Along the way I had some awesome teammates and some of the best times,” said Coach Sutphin. I’m from Pulaski County, so being the coach of this team is personal to me. Volleyball is a true passion, not simply a hobby. I know my players feel the same way.”
As with most ventures, it’s always good to set some goals.
“I don’t want to reveal specifics about our team goals for the season, but I will say that they do include an improved record, restored pride, and gaining respect among our competitors,” said Sutphin. “Of course we also want our program to set the standard for academic excellence and that they are excellent ambassadors of our school and community.”
A strong summer program, along with players taking part in travel ball and camps have given Coach Sutphin a positive outlook on the future.
“We had strong attendance, especially after our camp in June,” said Sutphin. “We averaged between 20-25 girls at each session, and we would meet at least every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These girls take a lot of pride in being successful. It’s not about looking good or having a higher social status. They are serious. Most of the girls are now playing club ball, so they are certainly more invested in the sport. Most importantly, they want to make their friends, families and Pulaski County proud. We have taken major steps in the right direction. We know we have a long way to go. I explained to the girls earlier today that every match will be a challenge. No win will be guaranteed, but for every Goliath there is a stone.”
The Lady Cougars will get their first test of the season in a home scrimmage with Fort Chiswell Aug. 19. The season opener will be Aug. 26 in a home match with Galax. JV action will get underway at 5:30, with the varsity match starting at 7 p.m.