The Lady Arrows have clear goals entering the 2016-2017 season, and simply making it to the first round of MHSAA 6A Playoffs is not it. First year head coach Melissa Denson has teamed up with first year assistants Ross Watters and Pollyann Watters to pool their experience and knowledge to guide the Lady Arrows in the quest for a championship.
“We’re trying to be realistic with our goals,” Denson said, “but we’re on a mission to get past the first round of playoffs. We have not made it past the first round in several years, but this team has the talent to do just that.”
The work the Lady Arrows have put in over the summer makes Denson feel her team has a solid chance to make waves in 6A Volleyball. “All of our teams played in the summer leagues this summer—junior high all the way through varsity—and they did pretty well,” Denson said.
“The Varsity team won every game except against Jackson Academy, one of the toughest opponents in the state,” Denson said. “JV went undefeated this summer, and the junior high team only lost to JA.”
Led by senior All-Star Madison Roberts, Denson feels her team has the talent to put up a fight this season. “Madison Roberts plays middle for us and will be starting her fourth season on the varsity team,” Denson said. Roberts will represent Clinton at the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Volleyball game on July 20 at Millsaps College.
Other seniors playing key roles for the Lady Arrows are Madison Bradley, Morgan Dubose, Angel Hughes and Aniya Wren-Daniel.
“Our younger class is really strong,” Denson said. “We have a large group of sophomores coming in who played for club teams in the off season. They’re very consistent and will play key roles in both JV and Varsity.”
Juniors include Morgan Goins, Kaitlan Lambert, Brandi Macon, Madelyn Misita and Kiara Vance also bring experience to the team.
Sophomores include Annelise Adams, Makayla Cole, Mary Claire Ford, Krystal Hulsey, Nicole Ingram, Logan Parker and Kaylei Peterson.
Freshmen include Abigail Farr, Lecia Grimmett, Avia Hathorn, Janai Mason, Morgan Ray and Averi Wall.
Caitlyn Arender will be in charge of coaching the CJHS Lady Arrows. Arender also enters her first year as coach for the Lady Arrows.
Rounding out summer workouts, the University of West Florida’s volleyball team will travel to CHS to work with the Lady Arrows. “West Florida will be coming to us July 28 and 29,” Denson said. “They’re a highly ranked Division II team, and they’ll be giving us some training in our own gym.”
The Lady Arrows will begin their season at home on August 6 against St. Andrew’s. “The Lady Saints went to the 3A (Class 1) State Championship after winning South State last year,” Denson said. “So we’re starting this season off with a bang this year.” The Classic match will begin at 1 P.M. in the CHS gymnasium.
The Lady Arrows will play their first three District games on the road. The first District match will be August 18 at Warren Central. Other District away matches will be Sept. 1 at Callaway and Sept. 8 at Greenville-Wesson. The Lady Arrows will have the home-court advantage in their final three District games, hosting Warren Central on Sept. 13, Callaway on Sept. 15 and Greenville-Wesson on Sept. 29.