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2020 Volleyball Season Is Underway- Dig It !

MADISON- Just like all school fall sports programs in the State of Alabama, volleyball has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but the season will go on with numerous modifications to assist in teams to help decrease potential exposure to COVID-19. Both Bob Jones and James Clemens have made the modifications and are off and running with the 2020 season.

Bob Jones and second-year head coach, Cassie Mullinax hopes to continue the tradition of success as the Patriots finished the season at the State Tournament last year losing in the semi-finals to McGill-Toolen. Gone from that squad are five seniors, including four starters, but Mullinax feels she has plenty of depth on this year’s squad to overshadow the losses.

“We have depth and two returning starting seniors of the four on our roster and with six juniors, one of which was a starter a season ago, we have positive energy on both on the court and bench,” said Mullinax. “We have selfless players and want the team to succeed. Our squad will be a physical team and want to compete.”

As for the long-standing tradition of winning, Mullinax added, “It will depend on how hard we work and how much focus we have. We need the right mindset against any opponent we face.”

At James Clemens, the self-proclaimed “Mighty Minis” don’t have a player taller than 5-foot-9 and with just one senior on the roster, the Jets look to have a ton of energy from the underclassmen to make things jell this season.

“You’ll have to beat us as you just can’t walk in and take victory from us,” said Amanda Wood, head coach of the Jets in her ninth season at her position. “We have most of our team returning this year, but I will use my lone senior, Emily Drinkard (5-5, S, OPP), as an example for the rest of the team. You never have to direct her as she is a traffic director for this squad and that is refreshing to see her take charge and lead this team.”

Wood is looking to some of the underclassmen to make the necessary steps to mature quickly to make this team a winner.

Anna Jupin (5-9, MB-OH, Jr.) is expected to become a great player by the time she completes her stay at James Clemens next season. She recently scored an impressive 25 digs and 15 kills in a recent pre-season tournament. Catherine Gwin (5-4, L, Jr.) posted four aces and 11 digs in recent competition and has recently made up her mind to pursue playing volleyball in college. Briana Smith (5-9, S, OPP, MB, So.) is one of two sophomores on the roster and is a player, according to Wood, “One to watch as she’s a setter, but she’ll be moving around on the floor at all times.”

Both teams have suffered some early-season injuries which will have to take time to heal, but moving forward will be a chore for each squad as the season progresses.

The Patriots’ best player looks to be Joy Robinson (5-9, OH) who plays outside hitter. Mullinax is looking to her to hit and dig and be a team leader. Also gaining a positive reputation on the court is Adaline Barnes (5-9, S) as the junior setter will be a strong suit for the 2020 squad.

“I’m very comfortable here in my second season and I love Bob Jones as the entire school has been very supportive and I’m looking forward to each year,” added Mullinax, whose squad begins the season ranked No. 4 in Class 7-A.

Wood was missing from the sidelines of the Jets last season as she was on maternity leave. She praised the work of Anna Claire Johnson who stepped in and took over the duties of head coach in Wood’s absence.

Both Bob Jones and James Clemens compete in Class 7-A, Area 8 along with Austin and Florence.

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