Season Outlook: Vinton County Lady Vikings

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Mark Dixon is aware of the youth movement on his Lady Vikings team this year.

Despite the girls’ youth, he expects the three seniors on the team to take the youngsters under their wings and teach them their ways.

Dixon knows the underclassmen must grow up quickly in order for this Lady Vikings squad to be successful. They’ll be thrown into action, right from the beginning.

“You never know what they’re going to do until you put them out there in a big situation,” said Dixon.

The three seniors: Megan Dixon, Xan Hale and Jamee Park are going to be the anchors of this team. Another player who Coach Dixon expects to take a leadership role is sophomore Michaela Puckett.

 “She’s played ball all of her life, so we expect a lot out of her,” Dixon commented on Puckett. “Last year, you could kind of see the freshman in her and hopefully this year and over the summer she really stepped it up and played good so we’re expecting big things out of her.”

One advantage of having younger players is their endurance. Dixon plans to use the younger girls to relieve the seniors.

“What kills us is we have nine varsity players, and that’s where we need our younger girls to step up and give some of the older girls a break, because I think later in the season we played the older girls a lot and they got tired and that really hurt us in the tournament,” said Dixon. “Hopefully the younger ones will step up and give the older ones breaks when they need it and can hold our team.”

As far as expectations go for this season, Dixon knows they can be just as good as last year. It is more mental than it is physical for the Lady Vikings.

“Most of our errors come from the youth, like not breaking to the ball or not setting a good screen, but that will all come with experience,” said Dixon. “They have to step up as well as our seniors, we all have to play good.”

One goal that Dixon has for the season is to get a win over their TVC-Ohio rival, the Athens Bulldogs.

“Athens whipped us pretty easy last year and it’s just a mental thing,” said Dixon. “We have talent, they have talent, and I don’t know what it is with Athens now, but I think we should be able to compete with every team if we come out and play to our capability.”

Before they reach conference play on their schedule, they’ll have to face non-conference foes such as Unioto, Paint Valley, Jackson and Logan.

In the Sheridan tournament, the Lady Vikings will square off against Fairfield Union, who the Lady Vikings lost to last year in the sectional championship, ending their season.

The beginning of the season will be important for the Lady Vikings, as they try to mesh as a team and recover from pre-season injuries.

“We had a scrimmage and one of the reserve girls got hurt, so that only leaves us with like six or seven,” said Dixon. “I think we’ll be fine, but that’s what will kill us is injuries.”

The TVC-Ohio will once again be a competitive league, and Dixon knows his girls have the capability of playing with the best of the best and challenging Athens for the league title.

“If we show up to play ball, we’ll be fine,” said Dixon. “If we show up worried about losing, then you know how that can go.”