By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
The strengths of the Addison volleyball team change from season to season.
Some years, the Bulldogs blow away the competiton with powerful play at the net. Others, they smoke squads with a spectacular service game. Just last season, their thing was experience and chemistry.
Those are indeed all different talents, but as coach Pam Wilkins has learned during Addison’s lengthy reign as a small-school power, they don’t necessarily translate into different results.
After cruising past St. Bernard and Meek at home last Thursday to win the Class 1A, Area 11 title, the top-ranked Bulldogs are in prime position to contend for their sixth state championship in the last 10 years. The path to reaching that ultimate goal will continue in Huntsville on Friday and Saturday at the inaugural North Super Regional Tournament.
Holly Pond, Cold Springs, Fairview and Good Hope will also make the trip to the Von Braun Center. The Broncos and Eagles advanced as winners of their respective area tourneys, while the Aggies and Raiders moved on as area runners-up.
With four key seniors lost to graduation for the second year in a row, Wilkins had only two upperclassmen — Stora Gilliland and transfer Chelsea Posey — to build around in 2012. What Addison has lacked in experience, though, its more than made up for in athleticism.
“Being young is always a factor, but being athletic all the way around from top to bottom is something you don’t usually see,” Wilkins said. “Even our subs going in are athletic. To be young is one thing, but when you’re athletic like they are, that helps a lot, and we do have a lot of athletes.”
From Gilliland and Posey, all the way down to youngsters like Holly Posey, Jessica Robinson, Jessy Taylor, Summer Hinton and others, the coach isn’t bluffing when she claims her roster is chocked full of athletes. Nearly each and every Bulldog contributed in some fashion during Thursday’s area tournament, making it practically impossible to notice even the slightest of dropoffs when the second-string swapped out with the starters.
Five of those girls played a part in Addison’s phenomenal serving effort during last week’s action, combining for a colossal 29 aces between the two area matches.
Holly Posey was the top dog with nine. At one point during a 10-0 run versus Meek, she had four aces in a row and six in seven points.
Hinton pulled off her own streak of four straight aces against the county-rival Tigers, joing Gilliland with seven aces on the night. Chelsea Posey and Robinson each had three.
“See those heavy jump ropes back there?” Wilkins asked, pointing toward the back of Addison’s gym. “We use those quite often. I try to focus them so they get get in a game and freeze up. We really, really spend a lot of time on serving, more than I ever have.”
Class 3A Good Hope will be the first local team to hit the court on Friday, taking on No. 9 Ashville in a first-round matchup at 9 a.m, followed by 1A Addison versus Tharptown at 10:15 a.m. Holly Pond (3A) will get things going against Mars Hill Bible at 12:45 p.m., while 2A Cold Springs will face off with No. 4 Hatton at 4:15 p.m. Fairview (4A) will have its hands full with No. 1 Madison County at 5:30 p.m.
The single-elimination tournament will continue Saturday morning and conclude with championship matches that night. The region’s champion, runner-up, consolation winner and consolation runner-up will earn spots at next week’s state tourney in Birmingham.
‰ Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.