|2007 COVINGTON LADY BUCCS...
The more things change the more they stay the same as the Covington Lady Buccs have high expectations in spite of some off-season changes to the program.
The Covington Lady Buccs Volleyball Team enters the 2007 season with new faces in new places.
Gone is one of the better senior classes to come through Covington in recent years and both high school coaches from a year ago, Stephanie Robinson and Bridgit Anthony.
But, new head coach Jim Smith sees plenty of talent to make a run at a CCC Championship and reach newer heights in tournament play in 2007.
"I really like what I've seen in the girls so far," said Smith, who previously coached Middletown Christian to the District Title in two straight years and was the men's volleyball coach at Northmont prior to accepting the Covington job. "I'm impressed with the skill level and the athletic ability we have on this team."
For Covington to challenge for a conference championship, it will have to go through Arcanum and the two-time defending champs, Twin Valley South.
"Since I haven't been here very long I don't really know much about the other CCC teams except from what I've heard," Smith said. "I know Arcanum has some really nice players back and that South is always pretty strong. But I still like what I see here (at Covington)."
In spite of all of the losses from a year ago, Covington does have two returning starters and five other girls who have varsity experience.
The two starters are junior Holly Tobias and sophomore Alyssa Angle, both powerful hitters. Tobias will once again be a force at the net, while Angle offers soft hands as a setter to go along with her powerful swing.
Seniors Erin Christian, Amanda Sprankle, Kailey Tobias and Jessica Snipes all have varsity experience as does junior Krissi Tobias. This will help in the transition to a new system as new leaders emerge.
"We are looking for leadership from the upperclassman," Smith explained. "It's been a process for the girls to feel comfortable with me, so they were quiet in the beginning. I'm starting to see a couple of the girls become leaders on the floor, which is what we need."
The Lady Buccs have a lot of talent in the underclassman as well, which gets Smith excited when looking toward the future.
"I see a lot of talent in the freshman and sophomore classes," he said. "Also, with the talent I see at the junior high level, I'm very encouraging about the future."
One thing Covington doesn't have is a lot of height. But the Lady Buccs make up for it with quickness and athleticism.
"No, we don't have a lot of height, but we plan to use the strengths we do have," Smith explained. "We plan to be aggressive defensively and mix it up offensively - use our quickness to keep the game going at a fast pace. We have to play at a consistent level to be successful."
As it is every year, expectations are high once again. The Lady Buccs expect to be in the running for a conference title.
"Our first goal is to win the CCC," Smith concluded. "Then we'll look toward the district tournament. I think we have what it takes to accomplish those goals. Of course, we'll have to continue to improve throughout the season, but I'm confident we can do that."