St. Al volleyball prepares to take a step forward in second season

Published 4:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

The difference between year one and year two for St. Aloysius’ fledgling volleyball program is simple, according to coach Allison McSherry.

“Last year we were learning. This year we want to compete,” McSherry said.

The Lady Flashes have certainly built their offseason regimen with that in mind. They’re going to camps, playing some of the state’s top teams just for the experience, and beefing up the schedule.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

St. Al only played six varsity matches in 2023. This season it’ll play nearly 20, beginning Aug. 8 against Warren Central.
It’s quite the challenge, but McSherry believes the team is ready for it. All of the players from her inaugural team are returning which should allow them to move forward rather than starting all over.

In addition to practices, the Lady Flashes have attended several mini-tournaments at Madison-Ridgeland Academy simply to face better competition. Trips to a camp at Ole Miss and a preseason tournament at Hartfield Academy in July are scheduled with the same intention.

“The skill sets are now going to be working on those fundamentals that we’ve got the base of. Last year was learning the whole thing,” McSherry said. “I’m excited. It’s been fun with the practices, to see that we don’t have to go back to how to stand and receive a ball. They know how to do that now. It’s tweaking what we’ve already learned.”

McSherry added that she’s excited about the way volleyball is starting to take root at St. Al, and in the MAIS as a whole. Several schools besides hers have started programs over the past couple of years.

She’s also tried to start building interest and a feeder program at lower levels. Her players hosted about a half-dozen children in grades 1-7 at their youth camp this week.

“We’re still trying to get it to the younger levels. I was hoping the camp would really utilize that to get some youth involved and excited about it,” McSherry said. “Once we get some wins under us that’ll boost our confidence, but also show people, ‘They’re serious about volleyball.’”

While competing is the next step in the program’s evolution, winning would also be nice. St. Al’s junior varsity team won several matches last season but the varsity lost all six.

The offseason plan has McSherry confident that the seal will be broken.

“If we work hard, I don’t doubt that they’ll win something this year,” she said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest