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Volleyball family coming together at PBHS

News editor

Players and positions change, but a constant thread coach Sheena Gann has woven into Peabody-Burns volleyball doesn’t depend on spikes or digs or blocks. It focuses on relationships.

Gann enters her third year as head coach with the same emphasis she’s had since being an assistant: creating a tight-knit family with players who learn to depend and trust each other is essential to growing a winning program.

“We’re really becoming like a family, and that’s what we’ve been building on,” Gann said. “We don’t have any power struggles, we don’t have any drama. We do silly team exercises every day just to get us giggling.”

One place that has paid dividends is in numbers.

“We’ve got some fresh faces,” Gann said. “I’m looking at 17 girls. That’s one of my bigger numbers. I’m excited, not only for this season, but seasons to come.”

Success has been difficult to measure in wins, but Gann

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hopes this team has what it takes to turn games that were close losses last year into wins this one.

“Last year we lost several games 21-25, 19-25,” she said. “I think we’ve got what it takes to carry us across the line. Finishing games is a big goal.”

Three players Gann expects to help make that happen are juniors Tori Pickens, Sydney Hodges, and Breanna Lett.

The trio made it to all but three summer workout sessions, Gann said.

“They’ve made it a priority and that’s what’s so exciting about our team,” she said. “They’re so committed, and they have fun.”

While Hodges will be sidelined with an injury to start the season, she and Pickens as hitters, along with sophomore Adriana Newman, should give the Lady Warriors some scoring punch, Gann said.

Lett is moving into a setting position vacated by the graduation of Mallory Harris.

“Last season she said she wanted to try setting this year,” Gann said. “She’s an all-around player. She will get to the ball as a passer, but she can also hit.”

Sophomores Lindsey Frye and transfer Aubrey Craig also show promise, Gann said. If they come through, the Lady Warriors will have three players who can do more than set the ball.

“Your setters are your hard workers,” Gann said. “They’re gritty, they just don’t have quit in them. Not that we don’t have great hitters or other people that contribute, but setters are the hardest working girls on the team.”

Gann said the work ethic displayed in practices made impossible to single out any one or two players as team leaders. While some may step up during the course of the season, family chemistry is still the bottom line.

Gann also is driven by a desire for her team to be respected on par with the football team.

“I grew up here, I graduated here, I was Lady Warrior,” she said. “We’ve kind of been known as a football school for a long time. I am very much an ‘If boys can do it, so can girls’ coach, so I’ve been trying to empower them. We are just important, and we are a force to be reckoned with. Just watch us. Our team theme is ‘Game On,’ and it’s definitely game on.”

Fans won’t have to wait long to see the Lady Warriors in action. Peabody-Burns will open the season at 9 a.m. Saturday with a home tournament at Brown Gymnasium.

Last modified Aug. 31, 2017

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