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Seniors’ talent and leadership key to a successful season

The Johnson County High School, varsity volleyball team, enjoys the team photo opportunity ahead of the 2019-2020, fall season. The program led by coaches, Michelle Cooke, and Sarah Swift is set to serve up a solid competitive season.                                      Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

The JCHS volleyball team will have a mixture of talent, grit, determination, and expertise that will prove to be a whole package as they step on the court for the first time this season.
Speculation has abounded how Coach Michelle Cooke can best utilize the team of athletic players to make what many hope to be one of the most successful seasons Johnson County has seen in quite some time.
Cooke agreed that senior leadership will be the key to success for this year’s team.
With seven seniors returning and have proven themselves throughout their high school volleyball career, there is plenty of reason to be hopeful for the upcoming fall season.
With an arsenal fully loaded of gifted players, the importance then goes where to place the right player in the correct position. The senior net players have both height and experience to get the job done.
Sydney Souder knows this position well; her height, experience, and strength will make her unstoppable at the net and on the service line. Souder’s serves are powerful and hard to return, while Olivia Dixon and Emily Garr also demonstrate power for both hitting and blocking.
The unexpected hitter is 5’4 senior Abby Cornett, who hits right into the set and puts the ball over the net with a powerful, downward spiral, leaving her unsuspecting opponents baffled.
Adaptable and strong, Hannah Brooks will be one of the setters for this year’s squad.  Cooke also refers to Brooks as a defensive specialist who can provide positive leadership for the team. Izzy Furches is returning to volleyball after a two-year absence; she will be a solid back-row player for the team. Rounding out this year’s team of seniors is Taylor Cox. Cox is an athletic powerhouse demonstrating both flexibility and versatility. Cooke states, “Taylor is quick; she is a good hitter and setter, we will be taking advantage of that unique combination.” Cox is also a threat at the service line, with both power and placement.
The competition will be fierce for this year’s volleyball team, but the seniors have been here before. The Lady Horns waited for the opportunity to control the outcome of the game and understand it is now on them to prove that Johnson County is capable and ready to go all the way.
According to Cooke, the key for the seasoned seniors is to stay positive and motivated. “We can’t get discouraged amid adversity,” she said. “We have to stay positive if we want to be successful,” Cooke emphasized.  Staying positive in the face of adversity is a difficult task for this team, but with the passion of the Souder, the calming leadership of Brooks, and the cheerful motivation of Cox it can be done.