COUNTER-CULTURE: Terror volleyball still full of potential thanks to a change of regime | Local sports
While Glynn Academy volleyball has enjoyed quite a bit of success on the court in recent years, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the program has yet a higher level than it can yet reach.
Despite four coaching changes in the past four years, the Terrors managed to win a regional title and at least one playoff game each season during the period. Glynn Academy will be looking to make it five for five after signing a new head coach in Brooke Thomas ahead of the next campaign.
Assistant to the team a year ago, as well as a former Terror herself, Thomas has first-hand knowledge of areas where the program can improve and a plan to accomplish its mission.
“The first goal as a head coach was to somehow change the culture of general volleyball,” said Thomas. “In the past we’ve had a lot of negativity, or just types of players who are down or not as positive. My first objective is therefore to change our gym culture and make our team more positive; just have better sportsmanship with us.
In doing so, Thomas spoke to team captains Lilly Wood and Claire Carillo to discuss his expectations of the players, noting that once those in leadership positions adjust to the new system, the rest of the team lines up.
She took great consideration when choosing the players to fill the roster; recognize that high-character student-athletes are just as important to a program as talented students. Fortunately, Thomas was able to add players who checked both boxes.
“We have three freshmen in college right now who are great players but also have great personalities,” said Thomas. “They bring a lot of youth and positivity to the team.”
Libero Daytona Padgett-Loper, passer Sophie Baldwin and outside hitter Amelia Sullivan have carved out roles for themselves on the varsity team in their freshman year – Sullivan in particular, whom Thomas referred to as “one the most consistent players “she has ever met with the ability to play all six spots in the rotation.
But, freshmen can struggle to earn consistent playing time on a team that still has a number of talented players.
Aside from Wood and Carillo, Glynn fires senior midfielder Montana Jackson, who has already signed to play for Emory next season, and 6-foot-4 junior midfielder Riley Mansfield, a Division I rookie.
The Terrors also added a talented transfer that could be the final key to unlocking the team’s full potential.
“In July, a girl from Atlanta moved in here and she played for one of the biggest volleyball clubs in the country; his club team actually won the national championships, ”said Thomas. “Her name is Abby Taylor, and she will be our starting setter this year. He’s just a great leader. She really came and changed the direction our team was heading and gave our team a whole new life.
So far, everything has been going well for Glynn Academy, which managed Appling County 25-8, 25-18 in its opener Tuesday at Glass Palace. The Terrors starters dominated the first set before the reserves entered the game and provided the sweep in the second set.
“It was just a great way to start the season and a really fun time,” said Thomas. “It really gives me confidence in our team this year. “