By: Joe Parker North Fulton Herald
ALPHARETTA, Ga. Alpharetta volleyball is enjoying a near-perfect season as the team enters the final two weeks of regular play. The Raiders (29-1, 4-0) have four more matches against region opponents in that span.
Under head coach Grace Fossier, the Raiders are ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AAAAAA by ScoreATL and No. 4 overall in the state according to MaxPreps.
Not only is the Raiders’ record impressive, the quality of the teams they have beaten to earn that record speaks volumes. The Raiders have defeated some of the best teams in the state, including Woodstock, Lambert, Etowah, South Forsyth and Dunwoody. Their only loss came to Columbus, last season’s Class AAAAA state champions.
Last week, the Raiders downed South Forsyth and Lambert, two top teams in Class 7A.
“We have played some great teams,” said Fossier. “We have squeaked by a few tough teams but we’ve gotten the win.”
Fossier said the catalyst behind the team’s success is its competitiveness and ability to function with a team mentality.
“All of our girls make this team better when we compete against one another in practice,” she said. “It’s hard to be competitive against one another and still be a teammate and pull for each other, but they do that. They work really well together and care about each other.”
Senior Destiny Stewart leads the team in kills with 336 and is averaging 5.3 kills per set. Fossier has high praise for the transfer from Florida.
“She is just a phenomenal athlete, powerful and a great competitor,” Fossier said. “She also brings a great cohesion to the team.”
Junior Amara Anderson has been the Raiders’ go-to player for setting, compiling 693 of the team’s 713 assists so far this season, and Fossier said she keeps getting “better and better” as the season progresses.
Anderson is also the leading server for the Raiders, having compiled 307 serves with 45 aces and a 97.7 serving percentage so far this season. She has also compiled 69 kills, 30 blocks and 209 digs.
In the backcourt, senior Halle Wong has compiled 397 digs on the season, followed by Stewart and sophomore Jenna Seides. Wong has stepped up in her role as she has already surpassed her number of digs from last season having played 30 sets less so far this season.
Leading the team in blocks is freshman Nina Williams, followed by Cat Podsiadlo, Anderson and junior Maya Rodgers.
Fossier said the team’s production is not only coming from the top players, though. “It’s been an effort on everyone’s part,” she said.
Beginning this week, Alpharetta enters its final seven games of the season, including a crucial region game against Johns Creek, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, according to some polls.
“We are going to focus on the details on the court and the little things that make for a big point in the game,” said Fossier. “We’re finding all of our aspects on offense and defense and we’re working. We’re not there yet so we will continue to work to improve.”