CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – As the Chattanooga volleyball season approaches, Head Coach Travis Filar has just one last position to preview before the Mocs hit the road for the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta, Ga., on Sept. 30. While considered two different positions, Filar and his staff combine the two to create “two attackers running first-tempo sets” – right-side hitters and middle blockers.
“We really want to make sure that when we have three attackers, we are running the middles and right sides as one,” Filar said. “Both of those attackers are running first-tempo sets, so we kind of lump those two positions together.”
Upon his arrival in Chattanooga, Filar installed the system and put Assistant Coach Taylor Wittmer in charge of the team’s attackers.
“We train those positions together,” Filar said. “Taylor Wittmer has done a really good job with those four student athletes.”
Chattanooga returns three attackers to the court with junior Kasey Talley (Boiling Springs, S.C.), and sophomores Sarah Batterton (Colbert, Wash.) and Lauren Gainer (Boca Raton, Fla.) along with freshman Kendall Sexton (Orlando, Fla.).
“We have great experience coming back at that position,” Filar stated. “We’ve only added one newcomer to that position so our returners all played a significant role last season. Their experience from the year before and having an entire spring with those three helps out tremendously.”
Talley returns after playing only a handful of sets in 2012, out part of the season with an injury, but has returned to the gym strong for the Mocs. In the 45 sets played last season, the junior recorded 79 kills – averaging 1.76 per set – and totaled 26 blocks. Her blocking total ranked sixth on the team despite her time away from the court.
Batterton and Gainer enter their second seasons in Chattanooga after successful freshmen campaigns. Batterton finished second behind Christina Teter with 259 kills in 2012 and stood tall at the net with 61 blocks, ranking third. Gainer totaled 158 kills while registering 70 blocks to finish second in the ranks.
“Kasey already had one spring in our gym, and getting Sarah and Lauren time in the gym in the spring so they could fine-tune things from an attacking and blocking perspective was very important. Those three have really set the tone for us.”
The Mocs round out the depth chart with Sexton joining Chattanooga in 2013. The incoming freshman was a 2012 Central Florida First Team selection and named the Bright House Sports Network’s #12 player in Central Florida during her senior year at William R. Boone High School
“We have great depth already, and then you add Kendall Sexton to the chart. She is catching up to the speed of the college game and is making that transition very nicely. I think she is starting to really understand that and know how fast she has to be in the college game.”
The Mocs take to the court Aug. 30 in Atlanta, Ga., to take on the College of Charleston in its season opener at the Georgia Tech Invitational.