Kent netters to travel in 1A East

POCOMOKE — Kent County has been here before, the underdog in a region volleyball tournament.

It’s a role that veteran coach Michelle Phillips embraces.

“If they all have a positive mindset and focus and have the tenacity to go out and play hard, they’re going to shock some people,” Phillips said of her mostly underclassman team.

The Trojans travel to Pocomoke on Thursday, Nov. 2. for a quarterfinal match in the Class 1A East Region II tournament.

Kent and Pocomoke did not play one another during the regular season.

Kent’s schedule consisted of many larger Class 2A schools, including Easton, North Caroline, Kent Island and two-time defending Bayside Conference champion Queen Anne’s.

Despite its youth — Jaeda Hoxter, Emma Morris and Bre’Asia Jackson are the only seniors — the 2023 team is one of the best that Phillips has coached at alma mater KCHS.

She’s got a lot of confidence in junior libero Angel Cote, and a starting lineup of setters Isabelle “Izzy” Anderson and Hoxter, hitters Zoe Angenieux and Love Jackson, and Hallie Beattie and Aaliyah Dawson on the back line.

Outside hitter Angenieux, an exchange student from Germany, is a volleyball novice who has quickly picked up the nuances of the sport.

According to coach Phillips, Angenieux and middle hitter Jackson also have proven to be strong players at the net.

Rounding out the Trojans’ playoff squad are Olivia Johnson, Nikayah Jackon, Asia Wilson and junior varsity call-ups Kayleen Walters and Aaryona Wesley.

To prep for the tournament it has been a week of “back to basics” in practice, according to Phillips. She knows that if the Trojans “continue to make mistakes, then they’re going to get the same results.”

To play off the team’s strengths, Phillips has switched from a 5-1 offensive system with one setter to a 4-2 with two setters and four hitters.

The winner of the Kent-Pocomoke match will travel to Snow Hill on Monday.

In the lower half of the 1A East II bracket, North Dorchester awaits the winner of Mardela at Colonel Richardson.

The only quarterfinal match in the 1A East I bracket is Joppatowne at Bo Manor.

Patterson Mill, Havre de Grace and Perryville received byes into the semifinal round.

 

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