The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 3, 2012

Bobcats have talent, still learning game

Brewer confident Summers County volleyball will improve

BECKLEY — Kelsey Brewer can afford to be patient.

You see, she knows what’s around the corner for her young Summers County volleyball team.

“I think we’re going to do great, eventually,” Brewer said. “They’re making big steps right now.”

Brewer is in her second year at the Bobcats’ helm after replacing Kelly and Kenny Brogan, who retired after leading Summers to the 2010 Class AA state championship.

The 2008 Summers graduate and former volleyball and basketball standout inherited a squad featuring all-stater Candace Brown and a number of freshmen and sophomores.

“We had senior leadership in Candace, and she did a good job,” Brewer said. “Beyond that was a lot of JV players and freshmen.”

They took their lumps then, and while wins are still hard to come by, Brewer thinks the 5-17 Bobcats are beginning to find themselves on the court.

“We’re very talented. That’s something I’ve never questioned,” she said. “We’re learning the game, making big steps and working hard.”

Anyone who sees the Bobcats will come away impressed with middle blocker Avery Pivont, a 5-foot-10 sophomore who glides effortlessly around the net and can jump out of the gym.

In the offseason, Pivont grew an inch and a half and gained 10 pounds of muscle.

“Avery is quick and big, which is what you want out of a middle blocker,” Brewer said. “She isn’t frail-looking anymore.

“Her skill sets are a lot better and she’s more aggressive, which comes with playing volleyball.

“The sky is the limit for her, as far as I’m concerned.”

Two seniors, Haley Shrewsbury and Brooke Cole, are providing much needed leadership.

Shrewsbury, in her third year with the team, joins Pivont in the middle. At 5-6, she’s small for the position.

“Haley is technically an outside hitter, but I had to have another middle,” Brewer said. “She’s playing out of position, but she does a great job at it.

“She doesn’t make the impact Avery does, but she makes her presence known. She’s very active, and probably the biggest leader on the team.”

Cole is an outside hitter capable of many kills.

“Brooke makes quite a contact with the ball,” Brewer said. “She’s just now figuring out her role and she’s doing it nicely. She’s another senior leader.”

The other outside hitter is Taylor Garcia, a 5-3 junior who is very good at finding the holes on the other side.

Sophomore Abby Taylor is in her second year of volleyball and second year starting at setter.

“Every play goes through her,” Brewer said. “I depend on her a lot.”

Maria Dalida, a first-year junior, is a very active libero who gets her hands on most balls that come across the net. Sophomore Sydney Jordan joins her in the back and is second on the team in digs.

Taylor Scott, a junior serving specialist, and versatile sophomore Shelby Smith, the backup setter, complete the rotation.

“I’m surprised when Taylor’s serves don’t go over. She’s our best back row attacker,” Brewer said. “Shelby can attack from anywhere. It’s her first year playing and I expect great things out of her.”

The Bobcats beat Oak Hill Saturday at the Independence Quad, and gave good battles to Class AA power Independence and a much taller James Monroe team.

“We’ve taken a lot of big steps lately as a team,” Brewer said. “The players have taken an active role — it’s not just me leading them. They’ve stepped up and are leading, which is what you want as a coach.

“We are a freshman- and sophomore-dominated team, and that’s good. I expect great things to come.”

Summers County returns to action in a 6 p.m. tri-match today with James Monroe at PikeView.

— E-mail: dstillwell@register-herald.com

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