The nets are being set up all over the county as the 2016 prep volleyball season prepares to begin.
At Urbana, the Hillclimbers are moving up to the “big-school” Kenton Trail Division after the CBC re-aligned following the departure of Tippecanoe and Stebbins. The ‘Climbers finished fourth in the Mad River division last season, but a talented group of returners should keep UHS competitive.
Seniors Olivia Dunham, Bridget Ofori, Hunter Rogan and Karsen Voorhees will be joined by Taylor Adams, Kim Asper, Mackenzie Bean, Nicole Brumbaugh, Megan Ridder and Erin Stollings.
At Graham, the Falcons have a chance to be really good under Coach Gaye Carafa, with Katie Milligan, Macey McCool, Mollie Hamilton, Kaitlin Trace, Carly Carafa and Clare Comer back.
Korynn Huffman, Keara Westfall and Hailey Kendall will all join the Falcons, who have their sights set on a deep tournament run.
“We’ve got the date circled and we’re hoping to improve on what we did last year,” Coach Carafa said. “We have some experienced players that have been playing together for a long time. The team chemistry is really good right now. We’re still working on some offense and a little bit of defense.”
At West Liberty-Salem, the Tigers have big shoes to fill after losing a core to graduation – including Jamie Peterson.
Olivia Ames, Tory Cordell, Regan Hormann, Kelby Strapp, Allie Yoder and Kaylee Harrison are all returning after lettering last season. Alex Burton and Sydnee Payer will step in as freshmen to fill the void, with Breanna Koons, Kaitlyn Chamberlain and Hallie Strapp also joining the ranks.
“Right now we’re just working on bonding and communicating on the court. I’m getting used to the team and the team is getting used to me,” WL-S Coach Annie Kauffman said. “We’re losing six seniors, so we have some court experience to gain.”
The Tigers are also practicing at Riverside High School, due to ongoing construction at West Liberty-Salem.
“We’re working around another team’s schedule to get court time. It’s been challenging, but they’ve been great working with us. We appreciate that,” Kauffman said.
At least the Tigers will be used to playing away from home when the season gets started.
In fact, the first match for WL-S takes place on the road at Riverside, so it might almost feel like a home match.
At Triad, Angie Dolby takes the reins as head coach and will guide a semi-experienced team.
Madison Dolby, Ali Dixon, Tori Thomas and Brianna Eaton are expected to return, as will Sydney Propst and Jennifer Sizemore.
At Mechanicsburg, the Indians have a talented group led by seniors Miranda Lauchard and Mary Mayo. Cecilia Link, Taylor Ayars and Elly Schipfer will also be on the roster for Coach Kassie Coffman.
Some coaches were unable to be reached for this article.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.