Chambers Academy’s volleyball team preparing for new season

Published 1:12 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

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Chambers Academy’s volleyball season is rapidly approaching. The Rebels will be back on the court this Saturday when they travel to play Macon East Academy in a jamboree. 

Head Coach Jessica Patterson is going into her second season with Chambers Academy. The preseason has already been much different than last year. 

“The biggest thing for me this year is I got to come in preseason,” Patterson said. “I didn’t come in, like last year, four days before we played.” 

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Going into her second season as the head coach, Patterson is looking to see improvement this season. 

“I think for us the skill is there,” Patterson said. “The team chemistry has got to get there. That’s kind of how we gear practices this year around team chemistry and that kind of stuff.” 

Chambers Academy will only have four seniors on this year’s team. As seniors, Kelsea Harmon, Lizzie McManus, Mackenzie Gilliland and Morgan Newman will be expected to provide leadership for Patterson. 

“I’m looking at my entire senior class,” Patterson said. “I want them to lead the group. It’s not just about you, and it’s really not just about your class. It’s about what kind of footprints you want to leave behind.”

The jamboree on Saturday will not count towards the Rebels’ overall record, but it does give the coaching staff a good chance to see which areas need improvement. 

“I think that we’re going to need to work on a faster paced game,” Patterson said. “I feel like that’s going to be the struggle we see this weekend. We got to get up with the pace of the game.” 

The Rebels will play in 3A in the AISA this season. Being in that classification puts Chambers Academy against some of the toughest teams in the AISA. 

To open the regular season, Chambers Academy will face Glenwood. Glenwood’s volleyball team has won three straight state championships. Later on in the season, Chambers Academy will face Edgewood Academy. Edgewood Academy has won four straight state championships. Patterson knows that those two matchups will serve as a measuring stick for her team. 

“It shows a lot,” Patterson said. “Those are really big schools. We’re not that size. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them. That’s why we want to be in tournaments with them.” 

Last season, Chambers Academy had more girls on the team. This season, the team will have less players, but there will not be a dropoff in play from one girl to the next. 

“I told David [Howard] we have less kids this year, but everybody on here contributes,” Patterson said. “I can pull from my bench, and they’re going to go right in there and do the job I need them to do.” 

Patterson sets high expectations for herself as well as her team. During tryouts, the coaches scored the girls based on their performance. One goal for the players is to have those scores go up by the end of the season. 

The overall goal Patterson has for the team is to learn how to block out all the outside noise that they encounter during the school year. 

“I want them to learn how to take all of that and leave it, and let that court be their safe place,” Patterson said. “The place that they can come and not have to worry about any of that.” 

Chambers Academy has more games on their schedule than any other team in this area. Due to how tough 3A is in the AISA, Patterson feels like it is important to have more games on their schedule. 

“We feel like it’s important for them to see as many games as they can,” Patterson said. 

The Rebels are going to play four straight road games to start the season. The players will have to push themselves hard to get through that stretch, but Patterson believes there are benefits to playing on the road. 

“Honestly, the road games are easier,” Patterson said. 

Patterson said that road games can be less distracting than home games due to less familiar faces being in the crowd.