Highlands Middle School volleyball team scrimmages Summit

Highlands Middle School girls volleyball team travelled to Summit last week to play one of four scrimmages planned for this season.

Due to COVID-19, Jackson County Schools aren’t holding official middle school sports seasons, so Highlands and Summit scheduled scrimmages to get the athletes out on the court.

Scrimmaging gives players a chance to get on the court and improve their despite the official season being cancelled due to CIVD.

Coaches said both teams played well and scheduling these scrimmages gives players a chance to make improvements and keep their game sharp.

Summit Coach Jesse Lloyd said all his players did a great job scrimmaging against Highlands.

“The girls did an awesome job today,” said Highlands Coach Angela Swain. “They had some first game jitters, but once we worked those out they did really well!”

Highlands MS volleyball team travelled to Summit last week for a scrimmage.

Swain said Highlands did a great job setting up plays and were consistently encouraging each other. Official season or not, she said the girls genuinely love playing the game, which shows out on the court.

“We have great leadership on our team,” said Swain. “There are girls who have never played before out on the court and girls who have played for years. It is awesome to see them work together as a team. These girls are focused on the team’s improvement, not just individual improvement.”

Some players on Summit have been playing for years, others were stepping onto the court for the first time.

Both teams were not able to begin practicing as a group until early November, and for many players on the Summit team, it was their first time playing an official match.

Summit Coach Jesse Lloyd said it was a big step for a lot of them to get on the court in the first place.

“Since our program is still so new, it was awesome to see the girls make major improvements on playing as a team and landing multiple volleys with good passes and sets,” said Lloyd.

Highlands Coach Angela Swain said the girls did a great job setting up plays.

He added that Jazmin Barranco was in the zone and returned multiple hits from the back of the court to help Summit score and Emily Stiwinter really stepped it up when they needed her.

“Overall, it was a pretty cool chance to have a laid-back match and live working session with the Highlands program,” said Lloyd. “I’m glad we can keep this going over the next couple of weeks while we try to make the best of the little bit of practice time we have left.”

Summit Coach Jesse Lloyd said players are improving each day.

Players wore masks to adhere to NCHSAA’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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