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Colonials Settling in
By DAVID BREIDENBACH, Correspondent
Aug 31, 2012, 16:53

COLONIAL HEIGHTS – Two seniors headline the 2012 edition of the Colonial Heights High School girls volleyball team.

Krista Williams, known for her blocking ability at the net, and Destiny Taft, who could be the Central District’s top libero, come into their fourth season on the team having never failed to win a regular season championship.

This year, they hope to extend the streak, and coach Toni Martin thinks that goal is within reach. Given the success that they are accustomed to, the senior duo knows what needs to happen on the court and in practice.

“I think we can take it again,” Martin said. “It’s going to require some pieces to step up a little bit, and it’s going to require doing what we can do on a nightly basis. If we play like we can play, we should be just fine.”

Last season, the Colonials finished on top in the regular season but fell to a rejuvenated Matoaca team that found a key player in Jaelyn Jackson late in the season. Jackson, who has moved around the area a bit over the past few months, has settled back in at Matoaca and will anchor a team that managed to win the district tournament with little difficulty.

How she plays this season – and whether Willams, Taft and Kayla Boyd can counter her effectiveness – will likely determine how the season will go.

Another district challenge will come out of Dinwiddie, which features Madison Westmoreland. Like Jackson, Westmoreland is the kind of player who can take control of a volleyball match.

But Martin is confident that her squad will be able to withstand the challenges levied by the talented group of up-and-comers.

“I have a solid core that’s back,” Martin said. “Matoaca is going to be tough. They have Jaelyn – it would be much easier if she wasn’t back – but she’s here. And then there’s Madison in Dinwiddie; she’ll be pretty tough. Prince George will be young again and Thomas Dale will be young.
“So one nice thing I have is two returning seniors who are four-year players and three of my five returning juniors started as freshmen, too.”

Martin said the team lost a number of players from last season, but none who could not be replaced. With Williams at the net, they have one of the better blockers in the district. She was very consistent up front last year and is expected to be tough again this year.
 
Boyd, who came through as a big hitter for the team last season, has improved over the summer. She has worked on hitting and her height will be a benefit on the line.

Martin said neither Boyd nor Williams will come off the court, and she has arranged her lineup to ensure one or the other is at the forefront at all times.

Rounding out the front line are Nicole Blankenship, who will see some time on the line, and Nicosha Torres, a junior who has never played volleyball before.

Torres will likely be subbed with another player, but she has shown promise and will see game action.

“She has never played before, but as a blocker you just stick your arms up and keep the ball from going over the net,” Martin said. “And when you can stand flatfooted and your hands are already over the net, I’ll take it. I can’t teach that.”

While the front line is going to be formidable, Martin said, the back line is a work in progress.

Along with Taft, the Colonials have Mia Heydet and Savannah Couch. Williams, Boyd, Heydet and Couch will likely never come out of games, she said. The other two positions will rotate between two juniors and Taft at libero.

“Destiny worked a lot this summer.” Martin said. “She’s gotten a lot quicker, and she was quick before. She can cover that line really well. The thing that some of the players don’t understand is that Krista and Destiny have never lost.

“They have been on the team for three years – this is their fourth – and they have never lost one [district championship], so they are not about to start now. They are pushing the other players.”

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