WINNSBORO — Consistency is the theme of the 2013 Fairfield Central volleyball team. The consistent times will start with a new head coach, Gwen Wilcher.
With more than 20 years of coaching experience, Wilcher has been an assistant at Benedict College and most recently spent seven seasons at W.J. Keenan High School. With that time spent at Keenan, she is familiar with region opponents and knows the competition will be tough.
Wilcher hopes her team will buy into the new program and points toward consistency as the key to success.
“Because so many things are new we will have to be consistent by executing the small things to make us better overall,” she said.
Wilcher will emphasize play at the middle school level and club programs to build a foundation. She is a director of a program called Columbia Starlings for girls and boys ages 5-18, which will play from January through July.
Wilcher believes the extra dedication that comes from participating in additional programs like the Starlings, will provide scholarship opportunities for her players.
The Lady Griffins are young this year, and the roster is full of juniors and underclassmen.
“Most of these girls are new to varsity and we’re just going to have to feel our way through the season,” Wilcher stated. “As we get deeper into the season some players will have to adjust to playing different positions.”
One player returning from last year’s varsity squad is Jessica Douglas.
As a junior, Douglas will make the transition from an all-around hitter to setter. Douglas will be this season’s captain, and last season played mostly as an outside hitter. Although it is a big transition, Wilcher believes Douglas is up to the challenge and will be able to control the floor.
The Lady Griffins will also rely on the valuable experience of Dejai Robertson, who returns at the middle hitter position.
Alecia Thompson will serve as a back-up setter, but Wilcher likes Thompson’s ability to work the back row receiving serves and kills. She not only has faith in Thompson’s defensive role, but also in her ability to fill a leadership role because of her communication on the floor.
Tyshauna Cohen will make the jump from last year’s junior varsity team and also split time as a back up setter.
According to Wilcher, Timaya Forman would provide strength to the defensive side as a middle blocker.
Last season the Lady Griffins finished fifth in the region out of six teams, and did not make the playoffs. The last time Fairfield Central made the playoffs was in 2009 as a 3A team, where they were swept in the first round by number one seeded Riverside.
Wilcher said expectations this season include getting through the learning curve, being competitive and gaining experience as the season progresses.
“Our goal is to be better than last season and improve our overall general knowledge of the game,” she stated.