FORT MILL --
Both the Fort Mill and Nation Ford high school volleyball squads are back on their respective courts ready to serve up another season of action at the net.
Fort Mill returns three starters and looks to get back to the playoffs and into the third round, which has eluded them for years. The Lady Jackets lost four players to graduation and two more from last year’s squad who moved out of the district.
Head coach Melanie Jaehnen said moving back up to 4A made her a little apprehensive at first – until she saw her team work.
“I was nervous moving back to 4A, but I am looking forward to being competitive,” she said.
Jaehnen said the team’s height should carry them this year. A lot of that height comes from seniors Caroline Lewis and Hannah Kate Christopher.
“I think we can make the playoffs,” she said. “I think you are going to see a lot of teams splitting games this year.”
Fort Mill will be in a tougher region this season now that they are back in 4A going against region teams like Clover, who are much improved, as well as Rock Hill, Northwestern and Nation Ford.
Nation Ford went far
The Lady Falcons of Nation Ford finished third in the state last year and should have another strong team this season.
Nation Ford is returning three starters as well, but could be without a key component in Caylee Antilley, who tore her ACL during club season.
“We have got a great group of girls,” said Lady Falcons’ head coach Carrie Christian.
Hoping to step up for Nation Ford in the spot of Antilley are junior Amy Snyder and seniors Mandy Mitchell and Gaby LaCorata.
Christian said her squad should be able to compete again for the region title and are building to make another deep run in the playoffs.
Both Fort Mill and Nation Ford start the season next week as the Falcons start against Weddington and Central Cabarrus Aug. 29 on the road. Nation Ford will have its first home match against Lancaster.
Fort Mill will open its season at Clover Sept. 4 and will host its first home match against Rock Hill Sept. 11.