Last season the Lady Cougars were beat by a dominating Pope squad in the final game of the region tourney. Although Alexander made a strong run, head coach Zackary Graham stated that it left his team with a bitter taste and the drive to make an even more powerful statement this year.
“If we had won that game we would have gone to the first round of state playoffs”, said Graham. “We were a young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores last season, but we were very solid all around.”
This year, with most of last year’s talent returning, Graham feels confident that the Lady Cougars will be tough to beat. However, everyone is still battling for starting positions according to Graham, and nothing is final as to who all key starters will be.
“Everyone is battling for a starting position”, said Graham. “Obviously we have a mindset of who the starting nine will be, but that can change. I don’t rely on one girl over another because they are a team and a family.”
Defensively, the Lady Cougar’s coaching staff feels that they will be prepared and ready to meet the challenge of any opposition with the quality of girls available and feel that there is not one weak link on the bench. According to Graham, that speaks for their offense as well.
From the circle, Graham will be relying on senior Kelci Daniel and sophomore Sydney Council to lead the Cougars as their starting pitchers.
“Kelci is a senior and is an experienced leader who has led this team for four years now”, said Graham. “Sydney is only a sophomore and still young, but she has pitched at a very high level for a long time.”
According to Graham, with the caliber and capabilities of his two leading starters, coupled with the strength of his defense behind them, he feels that the Cougars will definitely make a statement this season.
Regionally, the Cougars will look at facing a tough Carrollton team who according to Graham, has been strong every year with tremendous talent and great coaching. This season the Cougar’s region will be subdivided into sub A and sub B classes and on the opposite side, Alexander will also face strong teams from Troup, LaGrange and Columbus.
“My expectation this year is to definitely win a region championship and nothing less than that”, said Graham. “The girls that are out here are working very hard and they want this. As coaches we are just trying to let them play ball because we know they are that good.”