Volleyball

PPR SPORTS Volleyball Preview 0905
Beekmantown's Shannon Ryan (15) returns as one of the top players in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference this season. The Eagles, who went undefeated in the CVAC a year ago, will be tough to beat again this season. (File Photo)

Eagles still tall order in CVAC volleyball

Editor’s Note: Coaching forms were not received from Saranac or Saranac Lake in time for the preview.

Beekmantown, AuSable Valley and Northern Adirondack all return a significant number of impact players from last year’s championship teams.

The three powerhouse programs, who finished a combined 39-9 in league play a season ago, claimed titles in Class B, C and D, respectively.

After a 12-4 regular season, Plattsburgh High looks to avenge its 3-1 Class C final loss to the Patriots. Peru graduated over half of its players, but seeks revenge from its 3-0 defeat to the Eagles in Class B.

Saranac and Saranac Lake look to improve from five-win seasons.

The only direction Northeastern Clinton and Lake Placid can go is up after combining to win five matches in 2012.

AuSable Valley

The Patriots have a hard-working group, who are supportive of one another on and off the court, according to coach Sandra Hoey.

“Our girls are very dedicated and love the sport of volleyball,” Hoey said. “They have worked hard in the offseason and are ready to compete. We will not take any team lightly, but expect to be pretty competitive.”

AuSable Valley finished 15-3 last fall with a Section VII Class C championship.

The squad, which graduated one player and returns 12, understands that teams win championships, not individuals.

Hoey hopes to utilize speed and strength as positives moving forward.

However, the team is lacking height, which could be disadvantageous down the stretch.

AuSable Valley

Players lost

Belle O’Toole.

Players returning

Alexis Joy, Noelle Miller, Lindsay Brown, Miranda Sheffer, Shelby Bourgeois, Alexandra Lincoln, Miranda O’Neill, Jocelyn Racette, Lizzie Maloney, Kylee Brunnell, Mirissa O’Neill, Lindsay Christian.

Newcomers

Kate Gallagher.

Beekmantown

One year removed from a 17-1 season and a Section VII Class B championship, the expectations for Shana Hileman’s Eagles couldn’t be any higher.

The team, however, graduated Kristi Blow and First-Team CVAC libero Kendra Lafountain.

“The biggest weakness is finding a rotation that gels together,” Hileman said. “Only half of our players play volleyball in the offseason, which makes it difficult to form a true starting lineup. The first few weeks, we will experiment with various lineups.”

Hileman made some key position switches during the preseason.

Jordynne Alex has moved to libero, while Grace Kelly will see time at middle hitter and Emily Anderson will navigate the right side.

Beekmantown

Players lost

Kristi Blow, Kendra Lafountain.

Player roster

Molly King, Amanda Frederick, Jordynne Ales, Michaela Lafountain, Lydia Bailey, Hunter Gates, Natasha Manor, Victoria Reid, Grace Kelly, Mikaela Frechette, Evelyn Vicenio, Arianna Hicks, Shannon Ryan, Chelsea Bjelko, Emily Anderson.

Lake Placid

After a winless 2012 season that saw Donna Moody’s Blue Bombers finish 0-16, Lake Placid has a new mentality moving forward.

“We need to use each of our player’s strengths to our advantage and not count on one or two players to carry the team,” Moody said. “The key to our team’s success will be to play together as one.”

Moody returns Taylor Maiorca, Brenna Garrett, Ally Wallace, Alexis Megliore, Jordyn Santana and Matoaka Riedle from a season ago.

“Beekmantown will be the toughest team again this year,” Moody said. “After that, I think there is a great deal of parity amongst most of the other schools. We need to be at our very best every game.”

Lake Placid

Players lost

Serina Hayes, Mackenzee Bruce, Ally Wallace, Alexis Megliore, Jordyn Santana and Matoaka Riedle.

Players returning

Taylor Maiorca, Brenna Garrett, Ally Wallace, Alexis Megliore, Jordyn Santana, Matoaka Riedle.

Newcomers

Melissa Rath, Emily Eaton, Georgia O’Leary, Kiana Fell, Kayla Hudson, Hanna Potter.

Northeastern Clinton

After a 4-13 campaign, the Cougars return seven players — Ellen Reid, Gabrielle Vasquez, Brianna McCoy, Amanda Tallon, Ashley McCoy, Oriana LaFlesh, and Patricia Marie LaPan — from a season ago.

“The starting six have experience and play the game well,” Northeastern Clinton coach Brent Baker said. “The new players are athletic and should be able to contribute to the team’s success this season.”

Baker, now in his 22nd season as a coach on the varsity level, is hopeful his veteran team can play on a consistent basis.

“We could be very competitive if we bring our “A” game every match,” Baker said. “We should be able to compete with most of the teams this season.”

Northeastern Clinton

Players lost

Emily Boyer, Caroline Perrea, Elizabeth Timmons, Stephanie LaValley, Emily Norris.

Players returning

Ellen Reid, Gabrielle Vasquez, Brianna McCoy, Amanda Tallon, Ashley McCoy, Oriana LaFlesh, Patricia Marie LaPan.

Newcomers

Aryana Kellison, Paige Rabideau, Dakota Morrison, Ashley LaVenture, Nicole Khater.

Northern Adirondack

In her fourth year of coaching, Katrina Castine might have her most dangerous and talented team to date.

The Bobcats return an experienced group and welcome one new player to the lineup.

“These girls know each other and communicate well,” Castine said.

Emma Trombley was a setter last year, but has been moved over to the middle hitter position. Her height and power will be utilized in this spot, according to Castine.

Castine also praised Zoey Varin throughout the course of the preseason.

“Zoey Varin is comfortable and her consistency has improved as an outside hitter,” Castine said. “She is able to place her attacks. This can be very beneficial. Setting can be a difficult job, and I have a lot of confidence in our setters. They know where to set the ball for each hitter so that we can be successful.”

Northern Adirondack

Players lost

Hannah Charland, Shonni Velasquez, Whitney Mesec.

Players returning

Emma Trombley, Zoey Varin, Olivia Barnaby, MacKenzie Fountain, Katelyn Snide, Amber Collins, Taylor Pitts, Kailey Brunell.

Newcomers

Aubrey Kerr.

Peru

The Indians graduated over half of their players last year and only have one returning starter, but Mary Anne Lake expects new faces to contribute.

“Madeline Kaplan and Taylor Higgins will play significant roles this year,” Lake said.

What the second-year coach does return, though, is three-year starter Lea Perry, who Lake said will be the key to Peru’s success this fall.

“With enough work, I think we can do well and make some of the teams look a little harder at us.”

Lexi Miner, Karlee Stephney, Allison St. Louis and Megan Sears also return.

Peru

Players lost

Brittany Kelso, Becky Tenbuuren, Brooke Wyand, Linzee Wright, Alexis McKee, Anna Sardella, Karley Goddeau-Stephaniak.

Players returning

Lea Perry, Lexi Miner, Karlee Stephney, Allison St. Louis, Madeline Kaplan, Megan Sears.

Newcomers

Hadley Houck, Anna Hagberg, Louie Dayton, Megan Kelso, Gwen Eamer, Taylor Higgins.

Plattsburgh High

The Hornets will rely heavily on returning players and their experience. 

Shae LaPorte has two seniors, who have been on the team for three and four years, respectively.

“We will look to them for leadership,” LaPorte said. “Also, the talent that is coming is promising, and we will utilize their talents. We will be one of the top contenders in our conference.”

Plattsburgh High, though, lacks height at the net, which is tough against teams that have heavy hitters.

Plattsburgh High

Players lost

Taylor Witkiewicz, Katie Stetz, Kayla Boise, Rachel Rebideau, Dee Brown, Katie Dwyer, Jaevanna Bucci.

Players returning

Amanda McMahon, Sam Martin, Kianna Dragoon, Maddie Bushey, Victoria Herkalo, Jamie Bedard, Rachel Bedard, Deanna LaBarge.

Newcomers

Maya Browne, Shannon Bracale, Olivia Fleming, Lida Jivitski, Lauren Stanley.

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