The Elkin volleyball program — buoyed by more players trying out, more height, and returning experience — is still young and is still in the tough Mountain Valley Athletic Conference.
“We are a young team,” Elkin Coach Jerry Ann Brown said. “We’re building this year.
“We had one senior last year. We have three seniors this year.”
Although they are young, the situation is improving. A lot of players should be back next year; the year after; and the year after.
“When I first took over the program, I didn’t have a whole lot of players,” Brown said. “This year, 13 freshmen tried out. I couldn’t keep all of them.
“The first year I had to take whoever walked in the gym.”
There are other factors at work that influence the number of athletes who come out for volleyball, golf, cross country and other sports.
“What hurts is we are a small school,” she said. “Coaches are competing for the female athletes.”
The Buckin’ Elks, Brown said, have a lot going for them in 2014.
“They have camaraderie,” Smith said. “They are vocal. I have height this year. I haven’t had a lot of height in the past.”
As her team matures, Brown also should reap the benefit of the experience they are beginning to get year-round.
“We’re just now getting into traveling,” Brown said. “They are starting to get interested. They are playing outside the season.
“Starmount travels. Alleghany travels. Any kid who plays year-round is going to have better skills than those who play for three months.”
Thursday’s practice ended with a spirited set between the varsity and the junior varsity. The varsity held on to win, 25-21.
“I’m just glad my kids are starting to show more interest,” Brown said. “It will make us stronger players.”
The Buckin’ Elks open with a home scrimmage today with East Surry. The first set begins at 4:30.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-258-4052 or Twitter @elkinareasports.