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Marlee Stewart is one of six graduates that Tallassee is replacing for the 2023 season
Photo by Kyle Thornton

Volleyball team starts season

By Michael Butler

In Jill Manning's first year as head volleyball coach last season, she had six seniors. The team before that graduated seven girls. This year, Manning has just one - A'keelah "Ke Ke" Hutchinson.

"This is my first year," said Hutchinson. "It's a little hard."

Coach Manning coaxed Hutchinson into giving volleyball a shot.

"She plays softball," said Manning. "She's an athlete. She's naturally athletic. She's seen volleyball. She kept saying she was going to try out. We had tryouts and she looked really good.

"She has a special place in my heart because I taught Ke Ke in first grade. I love her to death. She was in my first class."

The team dropped its opener in a tri-match at St. James on Thursday. It opens the home slate vs. Beauregard on Tuesday at 4:30 with varsity and junior varsity matches.

"(Last year's) group was a big one to replace," Manning noted. "We have some big shoes to fill. So far this team looks really good. They get along together. There's a lot of talent in our small town."

One of Manning's veteran players is Regan Easterwood, a junior who has been playing since the seventh grade. Easterwood also plays softball.

"(Volleyball) is a lot faster pace," she said. "You have to have different skill sets for each. Softball has my heart. I've played it since I was three. Volleyball is something I picked up and enjoy."

Tallassee will compete against Elmore County, Holtville and Marbury in area play.

"It's tough but doable," Manning added. "We have the potential. We have athletes. They are disciplined. They know what the expectation is."

2023 Schedule