CIRCLEVILLE — Prior to the start of the season, the Lady Tigers of Circleville prepped for a competitive volleyball season after a year of COVID-19 plagued the sports world in Ohio.
According to head coach Danielle Perkins, the Lady Tigers prepared for the season scrimmaging bigger schools in the area in hopes that the team would hit the ground running once the season opened.
“We played a couple of [Division I] schools,” Perkins told The Circleville Herald. “It’s kind of expose some of our weaknesses… and our strengths as well.”
Compared to other schools, Circleville is on the lower end when it comes to their size, however, the scrappiness of its members is something Perkins’ sees as a vital asset.
“We have a defensive driven team,” Perkins said.
Five of her players are coming back this season, two of which have been getting minutes on the court since they were freshmen — This marks Perkins’ third year as a varsity head coach, eighth year in Circleville.
Going into the season, Perkins hoped first and foremost that her team has fun, because that what it’s all about. Last year, the team was able to obtain a Mid-State League Title which puts a target on their back.
“I expect us to go in and compete,” Perkins commented. “We did lose a couple big players but that doesn’t mean we are going to roll over and die.”
Last year, the monster that no one likes to talk about made it difficult to play organized contest given the public health climate. Yes, COVID-19, also made playing games quite desolate as most team’s just played in front of close family instead of a bustling crowd.
“I think we feed off the fans and the excitement and we lacked that last year,” Perkins described. “They really missed out on their student section… I think that is huge.”
In terms of who to keep an eye out for this season, Perkins immediately named Morgan Blakeman as a name to look out for. A junior and a third year varsity player, she also accompanied by Cara Cooper who is also a third year varsity player who moved from libero to outside hitter.
Cooper had an ACL, MCL and meniscus injury last season and is touted to be coming back “stronger than ever.”
Chandler Hayes, Circleville’s libero, was described by the head coach as scrappy and was named with Gabbie McConnell as another Lady Tiger to keep a lookout for this season.
“Those are the players I’d keep an eye on this season,” Perkins said.