Photo by Brian Paglia
Eagle’s Landing Christian volleyball coach Jim Barlow says “this is the fun part of our schedule” — the part where the Chargers take on the strongest teams in Georgia and see where they stand.
No one could ever accuse Eagle’s Landing Christian volleyball coach Jim Barlow of playing a non-area cupcake schedule.
Just about all of the Chargers’ out-of-area opponents are ranked and in a higher classification.
Matches today and Saturday will definitely test the Chargers.
“This is the fun part of our schedule,” Barlow said Wednesday evening. “We get to face some top teams in our classification and in larger classes. This gives us a pretty good gauge of where we are at as a team.”
The Chargers will host Marist and Holy Innocents’ this evening. Marist comes into the 5 p.m. match ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA. The private Catholic school in DeKalb County brings a 3-4 record into the contest after losses to Blessed Trinity, ranked No. 1 in AA/A and Walton, which is ranked No. 2 in AAAAA, the state’s highest classification.
ELCA will take on second-ranked Holy Innocents’ at 7 p.m.
There will be no break in the Chargers’ schedule this weekend. On Saturday, they travel to Wesleyan in Norcross to participate in the annual Top Ten Play Date tournament. The daylong tournament will feature the Top 10 teams in AA/A.
Teams will compete against opponents that are not on their regular schedule.
Barlow says it give you a sneak peak at the competition.
“We will know where we stand after this weekend,” Barlow said. “The good thing about this tournament is that you get to see all the top teams at one location. You will either play against them, or you can see them against another top team. On the back side, they also get to see you.”
Barlow was greeted with some good news at practice Wednesday when standout setter Mara Green returned to the team after an ankle injury. She played in the first match of the season before sustaining the injury.
During her absence, the Chargers were able to develop some much-need depth. Sophomore Marrisa Randolph stepped up to solidify a middle hitter position.
“That is a big deal for us,” Barlow said. “I think Marrisa will do well for us.”
Barlow was also encouraged by the play of freshmen Alayna Carrondi and Bre Laney. He expects both to battle for a starting position.
“They just need to get more sets,” he said. “We hated to lose Mara, but it worked out in developing some younger players. One of our freshmen will need to step up.”