Houston, TX-The Texas Southern Lady Tigers volleyball season started with summer practice today, with a new identity. The team will look to some past role players to step up and some newcomers to step in with the loss of middle blocker Emma Obi and setter Simone Green. Head Coach Dr. Dwalah Fisher says her top returners seemed up to the challenge and she’s encouraged because of the obvious improvements they have made during the off season.
Middle blocker Ashley Cooper ended last season by making the SWAC Championship All-Tournament team. Coach Fisher says she was focused, driven and intense during the first day of workouts.
“I was most impressed with Cooper. She’s stepping up as a leader…by example, and she’s set goals to improve herself and help her teammates improve as well,” said coach Fisher.

Returning players like Jerlessa King, Gabrielle Gray and Jaila Corbin also got praises from coach Fisher for raising their skill level in the off season. Working with a new setter was a big concern coming into summer practices, but that concern was diminished after an
hour on the court. Freshman Jyra Churchhill from Gonzales, Louisiana showed that she’s ready to contribute right now. “I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly Jyra is adjusting to our hitters,” coach Fisher said. “She has soft hands and moves around the court well. With some hard work, the transition may not take as long as I anticipated.” The other two freshmen, outside hitter Whitney Grant from Houston Alief Taylor and middle blocker Ashley Mason from
San Antonio, held their own as well. “Our freshmen are showing that they are knowledgeable of the game and have the skills to help fill some of the gaps left by our seniors. I see we are going to have some battles for playing time which will make the entire team better.”

The Lady Tigers’ season begins on September 3rd with the TSU Season Opener Tournament.


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