Lady Gators counting on senior leadership
Goose Creek volleyball coach Jay Watterworth said the Lady Gators are seeking to build upon the last three years when the season dawns later this month.
“They were some of the most successful in the volleyball program’s history,” Watterworth said. “We lost two very strong players to graduation, one of whom is now playing for Claflin University.
“It will take a collective effort to replace them.”
A year ago, the Lady Gators were 23-15-1 and placed second in Region 7-AAAA with a 6-2 mark. They advanced to the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
This year’s squad brings back a trio of three-year senior starters in middle hitter Bailey Craven, setter Diemend Richardson and outside hitter KK Wilson.
“We will rely heavily on their leadership, especially at the beginning of the season,” Watterworth said.
Craven had 196 kills in 2012, while Wilson recorded 60 aces. Richardson is within striking distance of 2,000 career assists. She needs 515 more to reach the mark, which seems likely given that she had 757 in 2012.
The Lady Gators will participate in the Berkeley County volleyball jamboree at Cane Bay High School this Saturday.
“Our assistant athletic trainer at Goose Creek (Kelly Stratoti) has done a fantastic job getting our girls in shape and it should help us throughout the season,” Watterworth said. “We will be pretty young this season. We could possibly start two sophomores and two freshmen alongside (Craven, Wilson and Richardson)… we have a long way to go to get where we want to be.”
The team will be in three tournaments this fall, including a season-opening event in Colleton County. The region slate should also be tough.
“Wando perhaps has the best team they have had in 10 years and West Ashley is not losing anyone off last year’s team,” Watterworth said. “We will continue to work hard to maintain our position within the region.”
Watterworth is three wins from a coaching milestone this fall. His third will be his 100th overall.
“I value the athletes in our program over the last six years who have helped me on this journey,” Watterworth said.