Southeastern football, volleyball programs meet the press
by By Zach Maxwell Sports Reporter
Southeastern rolled out the blue and gold carpet for the media this Sunday, providing a preview of football and volleyball programs which will be in action in a matter of days.
Two seniors and two juniors joined football Coach Ray Richards in the Blue & Gold Suite at Bloomer Sullivan Arena. Also taking questions were wide receivers Keelen Green and Anthony Foster, defensive end Coby Ragsdale, and linebacker Logan Russell.
The group addressed the new members of the Savage Storm coaching staff, including Defensive Coordinator Bo Atterberry and Quarterbacks Coach Scott Highsmith.
“Coach Atterberry earned our respect right off the bat,” said Ragsdale. He said the Storm defense has set a standard goal of forcing three turnovers per game on opponents.
“There’s not a day where we don’t work on some type of drill involving turnovers,” said Russell.
Foster said fans can expect the team to “throw the ball a lot more this year” and said the strong defense “will make for a better offense.”
“Our focus is Sept. 5 and we want to create a snowball effect,” said Green. “We want to win every game, one game at a time and build off each one.”
As for the Storm being picked sixth in a relatively loaded Great American Conference, Richards said the assessment was fair but he expects this team to surprise many across the region. Southeastern will jump right into the first of 10 conference games on Sept. 5, with only one non-conference game (Homecoming) on Oct. 5 and no “bye” week.
“There’s a lot of parity in our league,” he said. “I like our schedule. Going 11 straight is a matter of staying healthy. Offensively, we could be a real force in this conference.”
Russell addressed the loss of team captain Jercolby Bradley and high-flying safety Izzy Eziakor to suspensions, but warned opponents thinking the team was on its heels from the roster shake-up.
“I’m sure a lot of people, a lot of teams out there, are counting us out because they did see us lose our starting quarterback and our starting safety,” he said. “But they should probably know that’s the wrong decision to make.”
On the volleyball side, Coach Jenn King was joined by senior Taylor Benner, juniors Emily Gentle and Madelynne Cera and sophomore Megan Kunkel.
Savage Storm volleyball has made two straight post-season appearances and looking for more. Courtney Miller will return to the lineup as a key component of the Storm’s outside game.
“Our chemistry is really good,” Cera said, commenting on the intensity of the newcomers on the roster. “I’ve already picked out my favorite freshman.”
Southeastern will host a “Blue vs. Gold” scrimmage at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29 to offer a sneak peek at the 2013 squad. They will also participate in co-hosting a tournament with ECU, with eight games in Durant on Sept. 13-14.
All of it is part of the volleyball program’s effort to involve the local community in this hard-hitting, fast-paced sport. That effort will include some local volleyball clinics this fall, King said.
“We try to get the girls involved in the community as student athletes,” she said. “Once people get into the gym, they can see how exciting this sport is. It’s very competitive, these girls are very athletic and they hit the ball hard.”
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