‘Tate girls’ helping to lead BHS volleyball

Litza Craig

Sports teams will often have a tandem of good players. Rarely, though, is the tandem a pair of siblings. Two of the Bearden’s best volleyball players are Whitney and Tayler Tate, better known to their coach and teammates as the Tate girls. “The Tate girls are pretty much just all around good volleyball players,” Bearden coach Jennifer Allen said. “You can stick them wherever you need them.” Whitney, a senior, and Tayler, a junior, have held their own in their three years playing varsity for Bearden; the girls have helped their team to the regional tournament in 2010 and 2011 and to outstanding records of 45-15 in 2010 and 36-10 in 2011. “(Whitney) is very versatile, as well as Tayler, who is passing primary which is pretty much the hardest position to play on the back row,” Coach Allen said. “This will be [Tayler’s] third year passing for us on the varsity, so she is doing really well.” Not only do the Tate sisters have their own special, sister chemistry, but they also have had experience playing with most of their current teammates prior to Bearden volleyball. “It’s easier to get mad at each other, but it’s also easier for us to get over it,” Tayler said, “and we have also been playing together for, like, ever, so we play really well together. “But that is also true for the rest of the team because most of us have been with each other since like middle school and club volleyball.” This year’s team will consist of five seniors. One standout is team captain, All-District player, and three year starter Alex Greene, who recently broke her hand. “They thought previously that I had a hair line fracture,” Greene said. “And it’s kind of a funny story. I was taking off my shoe when it actually broke but they said I should be out for about three to four weeks, but maybe two weeks if it heals fast.” Another senior standout is outside hitter and fellow three-year starter Brittany Sliger, who was named All-District and All-Region last season. The Volley Dogs will also welcome back second-year starter sophomore Eleni Georgiafandis, who has received some national recognition. “Eleni is a sophomore who has a lot of passing experience, has great court presence, and is a really vocal defensive player for us,” Coach Allen said. With teams to beat such as rival Farragut and perennial volleyball powerhouse Karns, the Bearden volleyball team will have to rely heavily on their team chemistry. “We have really good chemistry between the seniors, juniors, sophomores, and the freshmen,” Whitney Tate said. “And we are a really strong team even though we lost a lot of height.” Despite the teams many strengths such as their depth and talent, the Volley Dogs face this season being “short and mighty,” as Tayler Tate likes to put it. “The Tate girls” are ready to prove that’s a great combination.