FORT MILL TOWNSHIP --
The Nation Ford High volleyball team is under new leadership and is hoping for improved results as the girls enter the 2009 season.
Guided by new head coach Carrie Christian, the Falcons lost four players last season to graduation and have three returning starters.
Although in her first year with the team, Christian isn't new to the sport. She played in high school and college at UNC-Asheville, as well as coached Charlotte Country Day for the past seven years.
“I feel like I fit in better at a public school,” she said. “”I like the pressure. I knew it would be a good challenge.”
Christian is happy with what she sees and knows a lot of the girls from being one of the directors at Carolina Junior volleyball club team.
“We had a lot of them come through,” she said. “We look strong. We have a lot of what to do, but it's a good group of girls. They work hard and wanted to be pushed. They are very intense.”
Last year, Nation Ford made it to the state playoffs, but fell in five sets to then Region III-AAAA rival Rock Hill. Christian has set her sights high for this year's team, which is favored to win the region.
“I want to make to the state title,” she said. “It is all or nothing. You might as well set your goals high.”
This year's squad is fairly experienced with three seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and a freshman on the varsity. One of the teams they are going to have to go through to make the playoffs and win the region title is Fort Mill.
“Fort Mill is always strong,” Christian said. “They are going to be one of our tougher matches this year. It's going to be tough.”
Nation Ford opens the season this week on the road at Weddington. They will play Fort Mill Oct. 6 at Fort Mill and then will close out the season against the Jackets at Nation Ford Oct. 22.