By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
and Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
PIQUA — Jordan Drake takes over as Piqua volleyball coach.
“Everything has gone really well so far,” Drake said. “We have changed things a little bit. We have some kids playing different positions, which is really working out well.
The Indians are an experienced group.
Piqua will be led by four seniors.
Tylah Yeomans, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, had 260 kills a year ago and was a first team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American North selection.
Audrey Palsgrove is back for her second season setting, while Danielle Widney returns to the front and Kathy Young will see action on defense.
The lone junior, Alyssa Murphy, moves up from the JV team.
Sophomores Aubree Schrubb, Sydnee Hawk, Cara Hawk and honorable mention All-GWOC American North selection Reagan Toopes return after playing big roles as freshman.
Joining them will be freshman Kylaa Anderson.
It will be Piqua’s first year in the Miami Valley League, and the Indians will compete in the Miami Division with Troy, Tippecanoe, Vandalia-Butler and Greenville.
“I think all the MVL matches will be exciting,” Drake said.
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe snapped Troy’s lengthy division winning streak and shared the final Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division title with the Trojans on their way to a regional tournament appearance last year.
The Red Devils are looking for more of the same this year as they enter play in the Miami Valley League.
“Last season, our squad went 24-3 and lost in the regional in a great match against Roger Bacon,” Tippecanoe coach Howard Garcia, who is entering his seventh year with the team, said. “We shared the GWOC American North title with Troy with a record of 14-1, and we should be battling with Troy again, followed by Butler.”
The Devils return plenty of talent off of last year’s team, too, led by junior middle Rachel Wildermuth, who led the team with a school-record 286 kills last year. Wildermuth will also help set along with senior Emily Graham, and senior Olivia Newbourn will join Wildermuth in the middle. Also back is junior outside hitter Corrin Siefring, who was third on the team in kills, and sophomore Ashley Aselage. And on defense, senior Abby Hughes returns after setting a school record with 415 digs, and she will be joined by junior Alaina Titley.
“We want to maintain the same level of play achieved last season: a relentless defense, aggressive serving to get opponents out of system and using the middle as much as possible,” Garcia said. “We want to win the conference, be state ranked, get past the regionals and let the chips fall where they may.”
• Miami East
CASSTOWN — After nine straight Cross County Conference championships, the Miami East Vikings are looking to make it a complete decade of dominance this year — in addition to keeping its run of eight straight regional tournament appearances going.
“The goals for us never change. We want to make it back to state, plain and simple,” Miami East coach Dan Peterson, who is entering his fourth season as the team’s head coach, said. “Obviously, that will involve taking care of business along the way, and that presents some challenges within itself. With the senior class we have returning, along with some of our younger player, we feel like we have the pieces in place to make that happen.”
Sophie Jacomet and Nichole Hood return to lead the outside hitters, with Kayly Fetters, Kylee McKinney and Meg Gilliland adding depth, and Lauren Wright, Sierra Kinnison and Megan McDowell will provide punch in the middle. Lauren Fisher and Gretchen Frock will run the offense at the setter position, and Gabrielle Hawkins and Cara Budd will led the back-row defense.
The Vikings enter the season having won 108 straight CCC matchups — nine straight undefeated seasons — and they know they’ll have a target on their backs.
“We feel like once again we are the team to beat in the CCC,” Peterson said. “We know both Arcanum and Franklin Monroe return strong cores from their 2018 teams and will be our main competition for the league title. We have a lot of respect for both of those programs and are looking forward to the challenge.
“Expectations we place on ourselves are never something that we run from, and this year is no different.”
COVINGTON — Lonnie Cain returns as the Covington coach.
Lauren York and Nigella Reck will lead the outside hitters, while Olivia Mohler and Emmaline Kiser will man the middle.
Ellery and Nigella Reck will handle the setting position, while Tori Quinter will lead the defense.
“As always, we want to represent Covington in a positive manner,” Cain said. “I know the girls are eager to get the season underway — event though we begin with three of the better teams in the area in Russia, Versailles and Anna.
“Our team goals are to improve every time we step onto the court, finish in the top position of the league and to advance beyond the first round of the sectional tournament. And it should go without saying, have the players enjoy their high school experience.”
Cain hopes the Buccs can finish in the top three in the Cross County Conference and expects Arcanum, National Trail and Miami East to all be strong.
Mike Albright returns as coach.
The Indians have a deep group of hitters.
“Mia Dunlevy, Addison Peters, Madalynn Hughes and Kaylee Deeter are fighting for the left outside hitting position,” Albright said. “Jessica Lewis and Ashley Evans are hitting rightside.”
Katelyn Walters and Hannah Beidelman will lead the middles and Walters will also hit outside at times.
Newton will run a 6-2 offense this year with Deanna Corine, Molly Norman, Ella Rapp and Eva Bowser all possibilities as setters.
“Any of our four outside hitters can/will fill in as libero or defensive specialist,” Albright said. “Ginka Cottrell will primarily play as a defensive specialist.”
Albright said Newton must replace a lot of experience on the court.
“Our goals right now are to keep working hard and keep getting better every day,” he said. “We graduated seven seniors last year and have a lot of holes to fill. Several girls have had to switch positions, so it will take us some time to get things together.”
Albright sees Miami East as the team to beat in the Cross County Conference.
“Arcanum, Tri-Village and Franklin Monroe will also be strong contenders,” he said. “We have a very young an inexperienced team. Several of the girls have worked really hard this off-season, so hopefully we can finish in the middle of the pack in the conference and be competitive with the top teams.”
BRADFORD — Alisha Patty takes over as Bradford volleyball coach.
The outside hitters will be led by Buzz Brewer, Ramse Smith and Ally Wackler, while Aliviyah Boggs will lead the middles, with help from Wackler.
Brewer and Mead will be the setters, while Kendall Hill will lead the defense.
“Our main goal as a team is to grow and get better. with this being my first year I am sure the start will be a little rocky but I am looking forward to a good season and to see the growth in the girls I have,” Patty Said. “They have put a lot in over the summer and I am hoping it pays off for everyone.”
Patty sees the Cross County Conference as strong.
“As a rival Covington is always a team to beat for us,” she said. “This year we also have a very tough Tri-Village, Franklin Monroe and Miami East Team to compete against.”
WEST MILTON — First-year coach Courtney Wion takes over the Milton-Union volleyball program after the retirement of Bill “Doc” Ginn, and she is hoping to make sure the young Bulldogs better themselves.
“There is a Japanese word, kaizen, which means continuous improvement, which is our mantra this season,” Wion said. “This season, we are focusing on continuous improvement and working to be better than we were yesterday. We are working towards being better players and people.”
Junior Emily Barker will take over for graduated setter Chloe Fogle, while senior middle Allison Freisthler and junior outsides Madison Jones and Rachel Bloom are the leading returners in kills. Bloom could also play defensive specialist or libero, with Diana Johnson and Brittany Suhr in those roles, as well.
Milton-Union shared the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division title with Waynesville last season, and the Bulldogs expect to be competing with the Spartans again this year.
• Lehman Catholic
SIDNEY — Carolyn Dammeyer takes over as coach after Greg Snipes retired.
Lauren McFarland, a 5-foot-9 senior, and Reese Geise, a 6-0 junior, return as outside hitters for the Cavaliers.
McFarland had 284 kills and 315 digs a year ago, while Geise had 163 kills and 52 aces.
“Lauren (McFarland) is a strong all around players and a gret leader,” Dammeyer said. “Reese (Geise) is a strong and consistent hitter.”
In the middle will be a pair of 6-foot seniors in Olivia Lucia and Abby Schutt.
Lucia had 334 kills and 67 blocks a year ago, while Schutt had 100 kills and 45 blocks.
“They are both strong all-around players,” Dammeyer said. “Abby (Schutt) has been battling a concussion in the pre-season.”
On defense, 5-5 junior libero Pyper Sharkins and 5-8 senior Heidi Schutt return, while 5-6 freshman Caroline Wesner and 5-7 sophomore Megan Carlisle will see action at the setter position.
“Pyper (Sharkins) is quick and a good leader on the court,” Dammeyer said. “Our setters have big shoes to fill, replacing Alexis Snipes. “They are both experienced players and will contribute to a strong, experienced offensive attack.”
Rounding out the returners are 5-9 senior/right side hitter Abbi Haller and 5-6 junior defensive scpecialist McKayla Geise.
“I have a lot of experienced seniors, along with some new inexperienced players,” Dammeyer said. “We have been growing in confidence and improving a lot in our offensive and defensive attack. I feel like we will be very competitive in our league and non-league matches.”
Dammeyer’s goals are to win the Northwest Central Conference, win the non-league matches against MAC schools and go far in the postseason tournament.
She also expects Marion Elgin, Riverside and Hardin Northern to be strong in the NWCC.
• Troy Christian
TROY — The Troy Christian Eagles will be looking to improve on last year’s 14-10 overall mark and make some noise in the Metro Buckeye Conference, where they went 8-4 and finished third last season.
“Our goals this year involve besting our record from last year, and like any other team, we’re hoping to have a decent tournament run come the postseason,” said Troy Christian coach Joshua Thomas, who takes over the head coaching job after four years with the team. “I think we’ll do pretty well (in the conference) this year, and we’re looking forward to tough conference opponents like Yellow Springs and Emmanuel Christian.”
Sophomore Emily Baker returns after leading the team in kills her freshman year, and she will be joined on the outside by senior Kristen Rodrigues. Seniors Laura Johnson and Jenna Douglas and sophomore Sarah Johnson will lend strength in the middle, junior setter Lauren Montgomery also returns and senior libero Ellie Smith and defensive specialist Lilly Smith will lend stability to the back row.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter. Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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