“The players have a better attitude this year,” seventh-year head coach Rikki-Lynn Baxter said. “They’re trying to work harder in order to have a better season.”
Several seniors have returned to the Cougars’ starting lineup, including Morgan Blackley along with middles Jada Burns and Taylor Woods who both play in the middle position.
“It helps having seniors because each of them holds a leadership role and bring something to the team,” Baxter said.
The upperclassmen understand their responsibilities leading the Alexander program. “I bring a positive attitude and don’t want to put down other players,” Burns said. “We should help the younger girls get better.”
Each player also has worked hard individually to assist the Cougars.
“I practiced over the summer and become more aggressive on the court,” Woods said. “I’m going after every ball and doing whatever I have to do to get it over the net.”
Despite the adversity of this season, Alexander’s volleyball program has still experienced growth internally.
“We held camps throughout the summer and had 36 girls try out for our freshman team,” Baxter said.
Alexander also has been adjusting to a new classification as the program moved up to Class 5A and a larger area grouping with 12 other teams, including Lithia Springs, Chapel Hill and Hiram, each of whom made the state playoffs last season.
As the Cougars enter the middle portion of their schedule, the coaching staff still sees potential improvements for the squad.
“We’ll have to communicate, maintain a positive attitude and teamwork for the rest of the season,” Baxter said.
Alexander returns to action Thursday at Villa Rica.