The Wallace Community College Selma volleyball team comes together for a team huddle after successfully completing warmup drills. The Patriots begin their season with the Patriot Classic tournament at home Aug. 24, where Concordia College Selma, Lawson State and Southern Union will take part.--Daniel Evans
The Wallace Community College Selma volleyball team comes together for a team huddle after successfully completing warmup drills. The Patriots begin their season with the Patriot Classic tournament at home Aug. 24, where Concordia College Selma, Lawson State and Southern Union will take part.-- Daniel Evans

Wallace looks forward to volleyball season

Published 9:42pm Friday, August 16, 2013

With the start of their volleyball season only seven days away, the Wallace Community College Selma Patriots are hard at work.

Friday afternoon’s practice consisted of fast-paced defensive drills where the girls were forced to dig balls out from the under the net and accuracy drills where the team managed to successfully keep the ball alive for 200 consecutive volleys.

The Patriots will be a very young team in 2013, with only three sophomores back. Head coach April Harper said she has worked on instilling confidence in the team’s newcomers.

“They are coming from playing in high school and it is totally different playing at the junior college level,” Harper said. “[We are] building that confidence that they need to get over those humps that we may have during tough matches.”

Practices started Aug. 1 and two weeks in Harper said she can see where her team has grown tighter as the players begin to get to know one another.

“When they first got here, everybody was from all over,” Harper said. “We had girls from Atlanta and Birmingham and they had to get to know one another. The bonding has been the fastest growth and the defense.”

In the Patriots small amount of time practicing, Harper said her team has “done a lot in a short period of time.”

Entering her fourth season as the head coach at Wallace, Harper said the program has come a long way in that time span. Four players have moved onto four-year schools during her tenure.

“We have been very fortunate with that,” Harper said. “Our girls [also] made their first conference tournament two years ago, so I am very proud of what we have been able to do in such a short period of time.”

One area that continues to be a challenge is recruiting. Harper said she always likes to recruit Selma first, but beyond local areas she continues to work hard on spreading the word about what Wallace offers.

“Every year it is hard to recruit. In the state of Alabama, you have a lot of junior colleges and everybody, nine times out of 10, is looking at the same athlete,” Harper said. “It is always difficult to recruit the best athletes possible for your program.”

She said one thing that she feels can separate Wallace from other schools is that academics are always put first.

“We are academics first and then athletics. Volleyball doesn’t come before academics. A lot of these girls are extremely smart; they are going to receive scholarships,” Harper said. “They have extremely high grade point averages and that is more important than any sport we may coach.”

The Patriots open up their season with the Patriot Classic tournament Aug. 24, which will be held at Wallace Community College and will feature Concordia College Selma, Lawson State and Southern Union.

The tournament starts at 9 a.m., with the championship game scheduled to start at 3:45 p.m. that afternoon.

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