“The season has been going much better lately,” said Dunwoody head coach Nikki Hawkins, who enters her second season as the head coach of the Wildcats. “We have a young team that’s taking time to gain knowledge on the court. The growth will come and the players will learn what to do at the right times.”
The varsity roster for Dunwoody may be one of the youngest in the state, with only one senior, setter/outside hitter Addie Cleary, who is second on the team in assists, alongside two freshman and six sophomores.
The Wildcats are led offensively by two juniors, setter Paige McKnight and outside hitter Megan Rothberg. “Megan has been one of our most consistent players and brings strong spirit to the court,” Hawkins said. Freshman Madison McKnight is third on the team in kills and sophomore Lisa Gardner has set the pace on defense, leading Dunwoody in digs.
During a four-match winning streak earlier in the season, Dunwoody earned wins over Class AAAAAA foes Archer, Dacula and Grayson. The Wildcats also defeated in-town rival Chamblee, 2-0, on Aug. 20.
“I can see the improvements in the team especially with court awareness,” Hawkins said. “We’re getting better heading into our area matches.”
The Wildcats began area matches on Sept. 3 against Miller Grove and Arabia Mountain. “We’re going to be one of the top teams in our area along with Tucker and Lakeside,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins was raised in Stone Mountain and graduated from Chamblee. She has coached club volleyball for five years.
“The overall talent level in Georgia has gotten better and the sport itself has grown even though volleyball isn’t considered a bit sport in the South,” she said.
The Wildcats will return to action at a tournament in Lovett Friday.