HHCA volleyball team expects to contend for state title
By David Shelton
Hilton Head – Fifth-year coach Steve DeSimone makes no secret about his expectations for the 2014 volleyball team at Hilton Head Christian Academy.
The Eagles have been reclassified to class AA of the SCISA ranks and DeSimone fully expects his team to be a serious state title contender. In fact, the coach feels his team should win the SCISA AA title.
“I will be very disappointed if we don’t win the state championship,” the coach said. “I’m not sure of AA and what teams are out there but I know my team. I think we have the experience and the talent to win it, if we play to our potential. We start four seniors and if we’re ever going to do it, this is the team to do it with.”
Hilton Head Christian is off to a 3-0 start in region play and should not be challenged in league play. The Eagles are 12-6 overall as DeSimone has tried to play a tough schedule, which included games at AAA state contenders Ashley Hall and First Baptist.
“I was disappointed that we got moved down to AA because the competition in AAA was so good and it really made us a better team,” the coach said. “Being AAA for so long, I have to do some research and find out what’s out there in AA. But for now, I am trying to focus on making this team the best it can be.”
Anchoring this year’s team is senior outside hitter Stevie DeSimone, one of the top senior players in SCISA. The 5-11 athlete has more than 250 kills this season. Last weekend, in matches against Ashley Hall and First Baptist, DeSimone had 60 kills. She also is closing in on 200 digs.
Junior Logan Cherry has proven to be a force in the middle, along with sophomore Andi Jacobs. Together the pair has more than 100 blocks at the net.
Senior setter Hannah Reynolds is nearing 300 assists for the season while senior libero Andy Anderson has more than 200 digs. The other seniors are outside hitter Kerry Davis and defensive specialist Alyssa White.
Juniors Mia Joyner, Lily Strickland and Jacie Miller provide solid depth and consistent play as well.
While pleased with his team’s play overall this season, DeSimone says the biggest concern he has for his team is mental toughness.
“When this group is 100 percent into what they are doing, that are very hard to beat,” he said. “Physically, we have what it takes. But we have to become mentally tough. We have to learn to bring 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time. That will be the difference between winning and losing once we get to the playoffs.”