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Chattahoochee volleyball sets high standards for 2013
by Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
August 21, 2013 01:49 PM | 2233 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray<br>Chattahoochee High School varsity player Claudia Coco.
Staff / Erin Gray
Chattahoochee High School varsity player Claudia Coco.
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Prior to the 2012 campaign, expectations were muted for the Chattahoochee volleyball team since the Cougars were without a senior and lost a significant amount of talent from a 2011 squad that won 43 games and made it to the semifinals of the state playoffs. Chattahoochee finished last year with 25 wins but made a strong run in the postseason, defeating both North Gwinnett and Newman before stumbling to Walton in the quarterfinals.

“Last season was a learning experience for us and the players learned more about each other,” said Jennie Blevins, who enters her fifth year as the head coach of the Cougars.

For 2013, expectations are higher as Chattahoochee returns six seniors, including All-State performers Claudia Coco and Haley Templeton, back to the fold and progresses into the early portion of the season as one of the top teams in Georgia.

“This team has what it takes to make a championship run,” said Blevins. “The girls have been conditioning, working on defense, hitting and doing all of the things it takes to be a great volleyball team. I’m excited to show people what we have here and they’re going to be surprised.”

Templeton, the setter who will be attending the University of Miami next fall, and Coco, a libero matriculating at the University of Tennessee next season, lead a unit that averaged nearly 40 wins the past three seasons, including a school-record 51 victories in 2010 and an appearance in the state title game.

Seniors, including defensive specialist Deja Duncan, outside Kristen Henninger, setter Reina Terry and middle Amber Evans will provide leadership along with junior outside Paige Harrelson and sophomore middle Lexi Kingree.

The Cougars started this season with four matches at a Marist play date on Aug. 17. After dropping the first contest to Walton, Chattahoochee reeled off three consecutive wins over Columbus, St. Pius X and McIntosh, dropping only one set in those victories.

The emergence of Chattahoochee as a championship contender coincides with north Fulton’s volleyball scene growing stronger each year. “The level of play here among the high schools and club teams is amazing,” said Blevins. “Young women are having the opportunity to have their schooling paid for and attend colleges around the county. It’s been great that college programs have come here and found great players in Georgia.”

The Cougars will return to action Thursday in home contests against Marist and McIntosh.
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