The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 5, 2012

Teaching Tigers how to win

Brellahan helping volleyball team live up to their potential

Adrienne Brellahan knows what it’s like to win a state volleyball championship.

Her senior year, she helped Shady Spring win the 2002-03 Class AA title, and that’s a big plus.

“One of the biggest things I can impart to the girls is what it takes to win — what it’s like, and how to experience it for themselves,” said Brellahan, who became an assistant coach at her alma mater last season and has moved into the head coaching spot.

The Tigers, a mix of veterans and underclassmen, are now 8-12 on the campaign after Thursday’s tri-match at Shady.

They fell 2-0 to Class AAA power Greenbrier East, but rebounded to take two games from fellow triple-A newcomer Oak Hill.

“Moving up to AAA is an experience that’s kind of intimidating, both for me and the players,” Brellahan said. “There are some programs out there that are great, and it’s going to take us stepping it up to get to where we need to be to win.”

Shady has played well at times, including a win over longtime rival Independence two weeks ago. They started the season strong, but hit a rough patch during a series of tournaments at East, Capital and Princeton.

“Like any team, we have our ups and downs,” Brellahan said. “But we usually stick together and pull through, and that’s a big thing — to stay together and communicate to each other.”

As a former middle hitter/blocker, she knows strong play up front can control the game.

She has two solid middles in senior Kaylee Dickenson, a six-footer, and athletic junior McKenzie Severt.

“Kaylee has height and a big heart. She’s a great blocker and real good server,” Brellahan said. “McKenzie has the ability to get up there and be tall. She’s a good hitter and her blocks are there this year.”

Dickenson likes having a former middle as her coach.

“She’s taught me where to tip it, usually the corners, and to hit it as hard as I can,” Dickenson said. “She knows what she’s talking about.”

The outside hitters are Kelsey Robertson, a team leader who jumps and blocks well, and sophomore Taylor Durham, a power hitter in the front row and a good passer in the back.

Brooke Walker, a junior lefty, is the opposite hitter.

The Tigers play a 6-2 offense with two setters, sophomores Alaina Wood and Alexis Coalson. Junior Rhae Eisenman has missed much of the season because of an injury.

“Alaina and Alexis both played JV last year. They’ve stepped up and improved their sets,” Brellahan said.

Libero Whitney Farruggia is the defensive standout, great at getting to hard-hit balls and getting off a good pass.

“This team has a lot of potential,” Brellahan said. “If we can get all our factors to come together at once, we can be unstoppable.”

— Shady Spring and Greenbrier East wore pink shirts Thursday night as part of the Side-Out Foundation’s “Dig Pink” promotion to raise awareness of Breast Cancer research.

Two dollars out of each paid admission will be donated to the Side-Out Foundation.

The Tigers will hold another Dig Pink Night Oct. 16 in a tri-match with Independence and Liberty.

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