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Stallion stampede: Jubilee Christian vies for state, national title

POSTED: October 22, 2007 5:04 a.m.
GAINESVILLE Just off Bradford Street, next to Harmony Street Baptist Church, in a metal building that houses Jubilee Christian Academy’s classrooms, administrative offices and gym, Randy Roys is a busy man.

The school’s principal — who also serves as a math teacher, coach and part-time custodian — is getting ready for the Georgia Christian Athletic Association Class A volleyball tournament, that begins today at Jubilee Christian.

"If you had come in 30 minutes ago you’d have seen me up on a ladder fixing lights on the scoreboard," Roys said. "Whatever has to be done, that’s what I do. (The job has) its burdens, but it’s definitely got its rewards."

Roys, who has been the school’s principal since it opened in 1998, lists some of those rewards as seeing his students grow physically, mentally and spiritually.

And don’t forget athletically.

In addition to his role as the boys and girls basketball coach, Roys took over the volleyball program in 2000, and under his guidance, the Lady Stallions have won five consecutive region championships. Last season they went 40-7 with a state championship and a third-place finish nationally, falling two matches short of a red-white-and-blue banner and a national title. This season they’re 40-4 overall and 12-0 in region play.

Not bad for a school with just 12 girls in grades 9-12 and a coach who never played organized volleyball.

"To help our school, we’ve learned a lot from other schools," Roys said. "We’ve gone to them and just taken everything we could idea-wise and figured out what would work for us and what wouldn’t.

"And we’ve kind of done the same thing for our volleyball team. Those first two years we’d drive two hours for a match and lose 15-0 and 15-1. That got old and boring real fast. So we went to all the camps we could and just tried to absorb everything — ‘yes, I can use that. No, I don’t have a 6-foot-2 middle hitter, I’ve got a 5-foot-3 middle hitter. Let me see what I can work with that.’"

Roys said his team isn’t blessed athletically.

"I wouldn’t say we have athletes — Brittany (Frantzreb) and Haley (Frantzreb) are probably the exceptions — we just have kids who go out and give everything they’ve got," Roys said.

Neither do the Stallions have size.

"We’ve only played one team all year that was smaller than we were," Roys added.

Senior Haley Frantzreb is the team’s middle hitter and, at 5-foot-3, is regularly outsized by six inches or more. Still, she earned an All-American nomination last season.

"It’s kind of intimidating sometimes," she said with a shy smile.

Her twin sister Brittany interjects: "But she plays smarter than the other girls."

Haley again: "I just do a lot of dinking and putting the ball in spots. It’s not all about power."

Clearly, Jubilee has hit upon a winning formula somewhere along the line. Part of the reason, according to Roys, is that his school’s small enrollment allows him to throw girls into the mix at an early age and let them learn through a trial by fire method.

The Lady Stallions currently have a seventh grader — Kaylin Walden — starting at libero. And their junior varsity team, which is comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth graders, is 18-5 this season against ninth- and 10th-grade competition.

"Volleyball is what they’ve latched onto," Roys said, "and it always helps when you’re winning. Those girls that were on those first teams we had can appreciate what we have now, but these younger girls don’t have any idea what it’s like to lose."

Due to GHSA restrictions, Jubilee isn’t able to go head-to-head with the best area teams — the ones from public schools — but Roys said he wishes he could.

"I’d just like to see where our team is," he said. "I wish we had a Lanierland-type tournament for volleyball, just so we could see where our team stacks up.

"We’re not afraid to play anybody. We’ve kind of built this thing with the Bobby Bowden approach — we’ll schedule anybody. We might not win all the time, but we’re not afraid to lose."

The Lady Stallions proved their mettle knocking off North Cobb, a perennial power in GISA’s largest classification, earlier this season.

But heading into this weekend’s state tournament and the eventual invite-only national tournament, Jubilee’s players aren’t concerned with impressing outsiders — just each other.

Said junior Marie Yeary: "We just want that banner."



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