Thomas Dale Girls Volleyball The Knights look to bounce back this season after finishing with a 12-12 record and losing to Clover Hill in...

Thomas Dale Girls Volleyball

The Knights look to bounce back this season after finishing with a 12-12 record and losing to Clover Hill in the first round of the conference tournament.

The loss of standout outside-hitter Sydney Frink was a big blow to the Lady Knights; she had the first team All-Conference honor and ended her career as one of the best players in Thomas Dale girls’ volleyball history.

First-year coach Kirk Jennings, a former Thomas Dale baseball standout, believes that this team can be just as good as last year’s team, if not better, with key players returning such as senior outside/right-side hitter Abby Nyquist and junior setter Devin Storey. Coach Jennings is also hoping for big things to come out of outside hitters junior Monay James and sophomore Samantha

Peel as well as defensive help from junior libero Maggie Bradford.

Jennings feels good about the talent and chemistry of his team.

“I have a very good group of girls who communicate and mesh together very well,” Jennings stated. “We hope to continue to improve as the season goes on to prepare us for the conference tournament and beyond.”

Already with great chemistry, the Knights believe that with hard work and dedication, they will be able to bounce back from last year and perform even better.

Thomas Dale Boys Volleyball

The Knights are coming off an 11-9 record last year, losing to Cosby in the conference semifinals in four games. Although having a difficult schedule last season, fifth-year coach Joshua Forbes was proud of the way his team fought throughout the season.

Losing key players such as setters Haseeb Hattar and Devin Headrick, outside-hitter Jacob Mayton, and libero Tyler Edmondson hurts, but with the addition of a few players returning, this team can stay on track. Mayton led the conference in kills en route to being named first team All-State while Edmondson received second team All-Conference honors. Edmondson, was a multi-year starter, and is the only player from the Richmond area in his class heading to a Division I or II school to play college volleyball.

Middle hitter Zach Joyner returns after being named first team All-Conference. So does one of the scrappiest players in the area, outside-hitter Tanner Davis, who was also honored with second team All-Conference. The anticipated return of Hunter Vay will also be in store for this season, as he took a year off from volleyball to pursue a Division I scholarship in baseball. Vay led the team in kills in his sophomore season, recording 186. He has committed to play baseball at VCU.

Having high hopes for next season, Forbes believes this group has the potential to be the best team he has had in his tenure.

“We hope to compete for the conference title and to be in the conversation as one of the best teams in the state,” Forbes remarked.

With solid leadership and a hard-working effort, Dale will aim “to compete with the best of them.”

Matoaca Boys Volleyball

The Warriors finished off an incredible season last year, finishing 17-3 after losing in the first round of the regional tournament. Despite losing key players due to graduation, the only two returning varsity members look to lead the new, younger squad to a better season.

First-year coach Tonya Tunnell knows it will not be an easy road to success, saying that this year they will be developing a whole new team. Losing key assets always hurts, but with the help of two returning varsity players and a strong group of hard-working guys, Tunnell believes the job can still be done.

While losing both outside-hitter Patrick Riles and second team All-Conference setter, who also led the conference in assists, and Lane Beach, the Warriors look for major contributions from their senior outside-hitter Nick Hagood and their versatile junior middle, Walter Spurlock.

“Our goal is to develop all of our individual talent into a cohesive and unified team quickly so we will be able to compete to our full potential,” Tunnell stated.

Trying to re-enact an extraordinary season from last year will be far from easy, but there is no reason to count these guys out, as they all have something to prove.

L.C. Bird Field Hockey

Though they only won three games last season, the pride of the Skyhawks has not been lost. After finally reaching the 5A South regional tournament for the first time since 2004, losing to top-seeded Deep Run, L.C. Bird is looking to improve immensely from last year.

The 11 seniors who graduated made sure they left their younger teammates with a sense of motivation. Seniors Mimi Tran and Allure Williams look to lead this team alongside goalie Asia Pollard, to an even better season in 2016.

First-year coach Courtney Lanham has high expectations for this season.

“The girls have been working extremely hard all summer and have a lot of heart,” Lanham stated.

Reflecting on last year’s performance, Bird field hockey will be looking to show that hard work pays off.