“Our 2021 season was such a blast,” Chatham said. “We were able to lean not only on the talent but also the experience of some really great players. This season, we are going to soak in the process of getting bigger and faster on the court. Our goal will be to get quicker and better every single match as our freshman adjust to the game at a higher level.”
“I expect to rely heavily on the experience of our four sophomores this season,” Chatham said. “I plan to keep them as anchors on the court as we add in our freshmen. The speed of the game is much faster than what incoming freshmen are used to playing in high school and club ball. Our sophomores will play a huge role in keeping calm in the chaos while our freshmen adapt to the new speed.”
Burdine played a reserve role as a freshman but looks to become an integral piece in 2022. She featured in 32 sets last season, tallying 44 kills, 29 digs and four assists. She also chipped in five block assists.
“Jasmine will step into the position of right side hitter this season,” Chatham said. “She has a super quick attack and we will rely on her to make good reads and great blocks. She has been working hard during preseason and is ready to be a dominant factor at the net in 2022.”
Burks will be relied upon as one of the leaders of the team as she comes back to the team for her third season due to added eligibility from COVID-19. Last season, the 5-foot-10 Burks tallied 58 kills, 45 digs and 18 assists.
“I am so happy to have Hannah back for her last season,” Chatham said. “She has definitely stepped into a leadership role and she is not taking that position lightly. With 13 freshmen, there is a huge need for team guidance and Hannah is doing a fine job at keeping it all straight. On the court, Hannah will continue to play outside hitter for us. Each season, she has gotten faster and smarter in her play. We will rely on her energy and her in-game experience this season.”
Carpenter will continue to be valuable as a defensive specialist for the Wildcats. In her freshman campaign, she collected 169 digs and 19 assists. She was lethal as a server, finishing the year with 53 service aces.
“Allison will be the glue that holds our defense together this year,” Chatham said. “She is confident and smart in the backcourt and we will look to her to keep balls in play over and over again.”
Overstreet was a do-it-all player for the Wildcats last season and will look to do it again this year. She finished the year with a whopping 521 assists, 263 digs and 151 kills. She was second on the team in service aces with 42. She also chipped in 19 block assists and two solo blocks.
“Julianah is one of the best setters in the circuit and we are so blessed to have her,” Chatham said. “She changes every game that she enters and is able to make plays that nobody else can make. I can’t wait to see her on the court this season.”
Despite the lack of veterans, Chatham’s group of freshmen are some of the most decorated student-athletes in the state and should quickly settle into the grove of being a college athlete.
“I am so pleased with our new players and with the work and the enthusiasm they put into our preseason camp,” she said. “We have a plethora of talented players, and I have no doubt they will settle in and be rock stars on the court this season.
Defensive specialists new to the roster this season are Hannah French
(Ocean Springs) and Lauren McLamore
(Brandon). French finished her 2021 senior season with 196 digs and 15 aces. McLamore helped lead her team to an MHSAA 6A State Championship, tallying 127 digs and 26 aces along the way.
(Oxford; Regents School of Oxford), Sara McKinney
(Delaware, Okla.; Oklahoma Union) and Addie McNeely
(Brandon; Hartfield Academy) will come in as opposite hitters. Across 92 sets played as a senior, Fondren had 140 kills, 122 digs, 53 total blocks and 44 aces. McKinney was named Oklahoma Small East All-State as a senior and helped her team qualify for the state playoffs. McNeely had a stellar senior season, finishing with 459 kills, 159 digs, 92 aces and 33 total blocks.
(Spruce Pine, Ala.; Tharptown), Abbie Franks
(Ocean Springs) and Anna Claire Sheffield
(Canton; Jackson Academy) will help out at the middle blocker position. Gaston is fresh off a senior campaign that saw her collect 215 kills, 28 aces and 51 blocks. Franks had 142 kills, 35 digs, 52 total blocks and 15 assists for the OSHS Greyhounds last season. Sheffield was named an AVCA All-American as a senior after registering 145 kills, 34 solo blocks and 44 block assists.
Outside hitters new to the team are Natalie Bartholomew
(Brandon) are Sammie Smith
(Biloxi; D’iberville). Bartholomew helped lead her high school to an MHSAA 6A State Championship victory as a senior. She finished with a remarkable 339 kills, 213 digs, 31 aces, eight solo blocks and seven assists. Smith’s senior season resulted in her being named MHSAA 6A All-Region. She had 189 kills, 117 digs and 62 aces.
The Wildcats have three newcomers that could help out at the setter position in Jolee Gibson
(Brandon), Lillie Franks
(Ocean Springs) and Delaney Sisson
(Auburn, Ala.). Gibson grabbed 192 assists, 99 digs and 17 aces as a senior for the 6A State Champion Brandon Bulldogs. Franks who also plays opposite hitter, did it all a season ago, finishing her senior year with 386 assists, 165 digs, 138 kills, 75 aces, 16 block assists and five solo blocks.
BACK IN ACTION
The Wildcats are just one day away from hitting the court for the first time in the 2022 regular season. PRCC takes on Gulf Coast State College in a doubleheader that begins at 12 p.m. inside Shivers Gymnasium.
“After two weeks of two-a-days, these girls are ready to play,” Chatham said. “They are super excited and I couldn’t be more excited for them.”
The Wildcats will once again livestream all matches for free at PRCCMedia.com
. Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the “Pearl River CC” channel from their app stores.
Pearl River will be cashless for the 2022-23 athletic year. Purchase single-match and season tickets at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets
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