7-AAA POWER POLL
1. Riverdale: Deep roster includes plenty of seasoned experience, led by Abby Shaw.
2. Siegel: Reliant on underclassmen with just two seniors on roster.
3. Blackman: Enough experience returning to compete for a region spot.
4. Oakland: Supporting cast must evolve around middle hitter Katie Arnette.
5. Smyrna: Several question marks with new coach Christy Plecha.
6. La Vergne: Building depth, but must pick up experience on the fly.
10 PLAYERS TO WATCH
* Santana Alejandro, Blackman Sr.: Alejandro is a powerful hitter and is a talented server for the Lady Blaze.
* Katie Arnette, Oakland, Sr.: Arnette, a four-year starter, had 608 kills and 181 blocks last season for the Lady Patriots.
* Kenia Azor, Riverdale, Sr.: Returns to the right side for a deep Lady Warriors squad.
* Arden Fox, Smyrna, Sr.: Defensive whiz, one of best defensive specialists in the county.
* Tia Freeman, La Vergne, Sr.: Freeman picks up new role, moving to right side hitter and setter in the Lady Wolverines’ 6-2 offense.
* Carlton Gay, Siegel, Jr.: Gay enters as the Lady Stars’ top hitter returning from 2011.
* Stephanie Gurzi, Blackman, Sr.: Gurzi, a right side hitter, returns with experience for the Lady Blaze, which must replace the offense from the graduated Casey Mense.
* Abby Shaw, Riverdale, Sr.: Shaw is one of the top hitters returning. She had 422 kills with 87 blocks last season.
* Tori Simmons, Siegel, So.: Versatile player can play on the outside and in the middle for the Lady Stars.
* Ashley Tidwell, Eagleville, Jr.: Tidwell, an outside hitter, is the returning District 9-A MVP and is one of five starters returning.
NEW FACES IN 7-AAA
Both Siegel and Smyrna have new coaches this season.
Former Tennessee Tech player Laura Pierce replaces Ann Mullins at Siegel. Mullins led the Lady Stars to the TSSAA state tournnament in each of her three seasons, including top-four finishes the past two seasons.
This is Pierce’s high school head coaching position.
Christy Plecha replaced Brett Young at Smyrna. Young led the Lady Bulldogs to their lone state tournament appearance.
DOUBLE IN SIZE
La Vergne second-year coach Shawn Robinson hit the hallways and picked up the interest for the Lady Wolverines’ volleyball program.
Two years ago the program had just 12 players. This season, the program has 27.
That includes a strong athletic group of freshmen.
BIG UP FRONT
Blackman may provide one of the biggest pressences in the middle this season with a pair of 6-foot sophomores.
Blackman’s Danielle Ged and Alex Johnson will play middle for the Lady Blaze this season. Johnson is best known as a basketball player, where she started as a freshman.
Eagleville is likely the most veteran team in Rutherford County, returning five starters from a year ago.
The Lady Eagles are led by District 9-A MVP Ashley Tidwell.
But also have Theresa Posada (libero), Danielle Driver (setter), Heather LaFever and Mary Laidig (middle hitter) back from 2011.