By Gene Phelps

Special to the Gazette

All the attention of the players turned to East Union volleyball coach Josh Blythe entering the gym carrying two boxes.

“Our uniforms are here,” Blythe said, as his excited team members quickly surrounded him and waited to see their new threads.

“I like the white jerseys,” said the players.

“Let’s see the brown ones,” said another.

“Here’s your shorts,” Blythe said, laughing.

“Those are small!” said a handful of players.

“I like the uniform,” said Hannah White, the team’s lone senior. She also plays basketball and fast pitch softball. “They’re different than any other uniform I’ve worn.”

East Union is one of four Union County schools scheduled to play MHSAA volleyball for the first time this fall. Everything from the uniforms, to the coaching and style of play will be new for the Lady Urchins and their county rivals, Ingomar, Myrtle and West Union.

All four programs are expected to participate in preseason scrimmage matches Aug. 3 at New Albany. East Union opens its varsity season Aug. 10 in the Saltillo Classic.

“Our team has had a few practices and held two camps this summer,” Blythe said. “Both camps were intense and our kids responded. It was a good learning experience.”

Tupelo Core Volleyball coach Keith Haney and Alcorn Central coach Eric Lancaster, conducted the camps.

Blythe said many of the players contacted his assistant coach, Kalicia Henderson, this summer about wanting to practice.

“This bunch is just that way. They wanted to hit the volleyball,” he said. “They play softball, basketball and power lift. They’re excited about volleyball. It’s going to be fun. I’m anxious to see it,”

Blythe, who coached slow-pitch softball – the sport dropped for volleyball – has made the adjustment.

“I’ll miss slow-pitch, but I haven’t had to mow the gym this summer,” he said, then laughed. “We’re just going to play. Our goal is to be better at the end of the season.”

White, who will play middle blocker, added, “We want to be the best team in our county for sure.”

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