This fall five of the six head football coaches in the Tri-County area are in their first year.
In volleyball, Dixie County has a new coach, along with Trenton and Williston, who hired Kevin Tiller.
“When the administration contacted me back in October of last year and asked me if I would be interested in taking over the program, it did not take me long to make a decision,” Tiller said. “My only request was that I would be in charge of all three programs since we are middle/high [school].”
Tiller had been a part of the Newberry volleyball program for the past four years either as an assistant coach or videographer.
“Learning from (former coach) Sherrod Mosely and (current coach) Hank Rone played a tremendous role in the knowledge that I have for the game today,” Tiller said. “Being a part of Newberry volleyball that has had so much success over the last five or six years has allowed me to pour into our program here what it takes to make a run towards a state title.”
Tiller said the goal from day one back when beach season began was to build a culture of family.
“’We is Greater than Me’ is our mantra statement for this year,” he said. “We break down every huddle on all three levels with ‘Family’ at the end. The girls have truly bought in and are making tremendous strides.”
He said his next step was to build a coaching staff for every level that would allow him to run or be the CEO over all three levels.
Williston, which has three seniors and seven juniors on varsity, is currently 2-1 in Tiller’s first season.
“We have a lot of young ladies that have played a ton of volleyball in their career,” he said. “We are looking for big years from our outside hitters junior Grace Dola and senior Karley Jerrels.”
Jerrels led the team with 241 kills last season, while Dola was second with 94 kills.
Junior sisters Shayna and Morgan Geiger will play a great role as well, according to Tiller.
“Shayna will set and Morgan will be our libero,” he said. “We will run a 6/2 offense with Jenna Yancey also moving from outside to our other setter. She will play a great role for us this year. Both middles are brand new and have come a long way since the beginning of the summer.”
Morgan Geiger was second on the team in 2021 with 162 digs.
Williston, which travels to The Rock on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., swept Taylor (Pierson) on the road on Tuesday.
Dola led the way with 12 kills, along with an ace and two blocks. Jerrels added 10 Kills and three aces, while sophomore Ryleigh Hiers added four kills and sophomore Chanitey James had three kills.
“Key to winning the sweep was our girls executing what we worked on in practice both mentally and physically,” Tiller said. “We have created a team award (hard hat and Hammer) that peers vote for who worked the hardest mentally and physically. The team came out and bought in from point one and stayed focused through the whole match.”
The Red Devils have played a very strong schedule to start the season, with its only loss to Oak Hall School of Gainesville, which advanced to the Class 2A state semifinals last year. Plus, they’ve got the Lions on Thursday.
“Both of these programs are elite programs and will do nothing but make us better as we head into our 1A schedule,” Tiller said. “We feel like if every athlete buys into just doing their job, we can accomplish all the goals that we have set.”
One goal that has been constant since the beginning of the summer has been to get better every day in all that they do.
“Our season goal would be to be ranked high in 1A to set us up for district play,” Tiller added. “Winning the district, and as most teams began the summer, the big prize at the end would be to win a state title. This varsity group of young ladies are hungry and ready to do whatever it takes to get them to that level.”