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Mt. Zion prepares for volleyball season

By Jeffery Armstrong

When volleyball was introduced as a sanctioned high school sport in Clayton County a few years ago, several female athletes had to get used to playing a new sport.

Now, county volleyball players will have to adjust to a new facet of the game: rally scoring. Rally scoring is a concept where basically every mistake by one team counts as a point for the other team, regardless of which team served the ball.

Volleyball matches will now consist of three-out-of-five games to determine a winner, with the game scores ending at 25 instead of 15. If the match is tied at two games apiece, the fifth and deciding game will go to 15.

"Rally scoring is on par with collegiate-level volleyball," said Mt. Zion head volleyball coach Mike Slotnick. "Now in high school volleyball, every serve will really be crucial."

Slotnick said he's excited about the 2003 season n not only for the new rules, but for the potential of his Lady Bulldogs. He said he has some good returning players from a team that finished 14-14 in 2002 and some of his freshman players show promise.

Two players Slotnick hopes will do well are junior outside hitters Salina Woodyard and Dee Dee Pearce, athletic players who also play on the girls basketball team. Both girls cite basketball as their favorite sport, but they like volleyball quite a bit.

"Volleyball is fun; it is a sport where you'll get a good sweat, especially in our hot gym," said Woodyard.

"Volleyball keeps you active," said Pearce. "It's something fun to do in the fall instead of sitting around, eating and getting fat."

Woodyard believes that Mt. Zion can improve on their season from last year, especially if the juniors on the team step up.

"I have to be mentally focused this year and not get too down on myself," Woodyard said. "I also need to communicate better with my teammates and not yell at them as much."

Pearce said she wants to hustle more than ever on the court.

"I'm also going to be more dedicated to being a better volleyball player," said Pearce.

Slotnick said an aggressive offensive attack and great play from Pearce, Woodyard, senior outside hitter Ali Pair and sophomore setter Brianna Deas should help the Lady Bulldogs have a great season.