Harnett names 3 new volleyball coaches

By DONNELL COLEY
Sports Editor
Posted 8/9/22

Harnett County sees three of its four high schools boasting new coaches to lead their respective volleyball programs.

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Harnett names 3 new volleyball coaches

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Harnett County sees three of its four high schools boasting new coaches to lead their respective volleyball programs.

Triton, Western Harnett and Overhills each changed leadership recently, with the regular-season opener just a week away.

Sarah Haney, Triton

Following the gigantic footsteps left behind by Lady Hawks legend Wendy Simmons, Haney looks to make her own imprint.   

“As a former player and assistant coach for Coach Simmons, I have learned a lot,” said Haney, who has been a part of Triton’s staff the past four seasons.

“She showed me how to not only lead the girls on the court, but also in life. The discipline you learn in volleyball can carry over into your everyday life.”

Haney is in charge of a young squad with just one senior, fresh off an 11-14 finish last year. The group closed the season with five wins in its final eight contests to qualify for the state playoffs.

A return postseason trip will require more than just offense, according to the first-year coach.

“This year, we are going to work towards being a defensive-minded team with communication and serve receive being our main focuses at practice,” said Haney.

“We know what these girls can do offensively, but that can’t be done if we can’t pass. I am excited to see what this season holds for the girls.”

Triton plays host to Lee County on Tuesday, Aug. 16 for its season debut.

Matthew Smith, Western Harnett

Another veteran within the county, Smith heads the Lady Eagles for the first time this fall after serving as an assistant the past five years under Hallie Hales.

“We lost one of the most dominant players in recent years with (Makenyia) ‘Lil Mac’ (Mackey) graduating,” Smith said. “We will be more of a defensive team with Madison Smith anchoring the back row.”

Coach Smith, who also led the junior varsity squad for three seasons and heads the girls basketball team, is emboldened by a large senior class fresh off a 5-18 campaign.      

“It’s a different type of volleyball that myself and my assistant coaches have installed,” he said. “It will definitely be a fun year.”

Western opens the 2022 season at home on Aug. 16, welcoming Union Pines.    

Megan Clark, Overhills

Another first-year head coach, Clark looks to grow alongside a youthful Lady Jags bunch.

“This season we are going to focus on team play, establishing that each player has their role on the team,” said Clark, who takes over for Ashton Weaver.

She also mentioned trust amongst themselves and the coaching staff’s decisions as being vital to overall success this year.

Overhills is looking to rebound from a 3-13 season, losing four seniors to graduation including Sandhills Community College signee NyAsia McKinnon.

“We also are going to use the tempo of the game to our advantage and manipulate the tempo for big plays,” added Clark.

The Lady Jags begin their new slate Aug. 16, hosting non-league opponent Southern Lee. 

Donnell Coley can be reached atdcoley@mydailyrecord.com or 910-230-2040.

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