Hulsey and Patriots eager to start

Published 7:58 pm Monday, August 20, 2018

The Pike Liberal Arts volleyball team will have a familiar face play the role of head coach when the season gets started on Thursday afternoon.

Last year’s assistant coach Madison Hulsey takes over for former head coach Hayden Wilson, who called Hulsey just a few days before practice began and informed her of the possibility of her taking over.

“I was really excited,” Hulsey said. “I am kind of going to school for that anyways and I have always had a love for volleyball even when I was younger. I was really excited too whenever I got to be an assistant coach. Whenever she told me that I might be able to be a head coach it was really exciting.”

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Hulsey will graduate from Troy University in December with a minor in coaching.

Hulsey will have the opportunity to join a program in which she is already familiar with most of the players, a luxury that previous coaches didn’t have.

“Last year, even when I was new, the girls were extremely welcoming,” Hulsey said. “They are kind of used to having a welcoming attitude to whoever comes. I think they were excited to have somebody that stayed for more than one year. I feel like it helps them a lot. I think it has worked a lot better for the girls.”

Hulsey had the opportunity to work with the players a year ago and, in some instances, run some drills that she thought were beneficial. Now, as the head coach, she gets the opportunity to do it on a full-time basis.

“I actually got to coach a lot last year and not just be a helper,” Hulsey said. “This year has been more fun because I can take charge of everything. I can show them drills that I thought they needed to work on. I have seen them improve more now that I have taken over and challenged them.”

The Patriots start the season on Thursday against Crenshaw Christian.

“I am really excited,” Hulsey said. “I think they are going to do great. The girls, to me, have improved immensely from last year and from the start of the summer. I am really excited.”

One area that Hulsey would like to see her team improve in is guarding against spikes and how to react to them.

“A lot of their problem was whenever the opposing team would spike the ball to them they wouldn’t move quick enough,” Hulsey said. “I tell them to get on their toes and be ready for the ball. A lot of times they are on their heels and can’t get under the ball quick enough. We have been running a lot of drills to make their coordination quicker.”

The junior varsity match will begin at 4 p.m. with the varsity match to follow shortly after.