Excessive College Volleyball Preview: Central Maine Occasions Proceed to Improve


Gardiner’s Lizzie Gruber celebrates some extent throughout a Class B semi-final volleyball match towards Cape Elizabeth at Gardiner final 12 months. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file picture

As a brand new highschool volleyball season will get underway, groups in Central Maine search continued development.

Gardiner took an enormous step ahead final 12 months, turning into a pressure in Class B after going 14-0 within the common season. The Tigers would end 16–1, falling to Cape Elizabeth within the Class B semi-finals.

Gardiner head coach Tiffany Grover mentioned the Tigers wish to take this fall even additional.

“Whereas we had been one step away from the state championship final 12 months, we purpose to make it one other sport this 12 months,” Grover mentioned.

The Tigers graduated outdoors hitter Emily Folsom, who was the primary staff number of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Convention, in addition to Daisy McNeil, one of many staff’s high leaders. However many of the group returns final 12 months, together with center blocker and KVAC Participant of the 12 months Lizzie Gruber.

“Lizzie is the important thing to our offense,” Grover mentioned of the 6-foot-4 senior, one of many state’s high ladies’ basketball gamers. “She’s only a powerhouse on the entrance row. She’s just about an intimidator for a lot of groups.”

Coney Excessive College volleyball gamers compete throughout August 17 follow in Augusta. Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal

Gruber might be joined by senior captain Emily Grady and junior Yana Montell, who had been each KVAC second staff picks final season. The Tigers additionally added some depth.

Grover mentioned, “I took 12 ons (the college roster), which is greater than I usually take, as a result of I had plenty of ladies from (junior varsity) to actually show they might play.” If I would like them for college,” Grover mentioned. , “For the primary time, I’m having hassle filling the spots, not due to the shortage of (gamers) however as a result of individuals are shocking me. It is truly actually cool, as a result of I’ve a bunch this 12 months that may play and I can sub if I have to, which is one thing Gardiner hasn’t actually skilled earlier than. ,

Grover mentioned communication might be essential, particularly initially of the season.

“I simply wish to begin seeing them,” she mentioned. “Final 12 months, very early on, we began assembly as a staff, and that helped us be very profitable. This 12 months, at our pre-season sport, we had some communication points that we actually handled. Talent is the whole lot, they only want to speak and (do the job). I actually wish to see them step up in that discipline and talk. As soon as they begin doing that In the event that they do, I believe they are going to be fairly invincible.

Coney completed final season 6–9, falling to Ellsworth within the first spherical of the Class B playoffs. The Rams managed to achieve some momentum down the stretch, going 3-3 of their final six matches.

Rams head coach Lindsay Morin has eight return begins on a senior-heavy roster, and is trying to proceed the momentum within the season.

“We’re excited and we love the problem,” Morin mentioned. “We actually wish to see what’s working for us towards a number of the rivals (throughout preseason) and see what they’re providing. We all know (Class B) goes to be powerful, so we have now to Simply keep targeted, play your sport.

The Rams graduated to high participant Zainab Al Brahi, who hit 104 digs and 48 aces final season. The Rams return quite a few skills, together with senior center blocker Kylie Quinn and junior libero Ashley Tobias, each of whom had been KVAC second staff picks final season.

“(Tobias) is one among our liberals, and has large capacity to simply learn the court docket and see what is going on on,” Morin mentioned.

The group is scored by senior outdoors hitter Avery Theriault.

Coney Excessive College volleyball gamers flex throughout August 17 follow in Augusta. Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal

“He is labored on his serve and hitting,” Morin mentioned of Theriault. “Conserving the ball the place it needs to go.”

Masalonsky, who debuted at college in 2019, continues to develop. The Eagles went 7-8 final season in a good method, together with a win over Connie.

Head coach Jane Croft mentioned she had tried 30 gamers. The Eagles, who’ve eight seniors, return their full roster.

“We’re trying ahead (for senior management),” Croft mentioned. “Simply to have some guys on the market who know what they’re doing and we’re trying ahead to a very good season.”

Candace Pelotte returns as high participant for Masalonsky. Pelotte, a senior, was a first-team All-conference choice final season. He can even be joined by junior setter Alice McDonald.

“Total, our play on the court docket has been extra constant, and we’re seeing the ladies join higher simply because they have been enjoying for a very long time,” Croft mentioned. “Final 12 months, we had actually shut video games the place we misplaced within the fifth set, 15-13 or one thing like that. We hope to transform these losses into wins this 12 months which can make our place quite a bit higher.

Nocomis, one other youth central Maine program, can also be on the upswing. The Warriors received final season at Coney and Mount Desert Island.

Nocomis head coach Kate Myers-Jewett mentioned, “I’ve a excessive degree ladies staff that is been right here from the beginning.” “I’ve a really sturdy senior group and 17 (complete) on the roster… I’m very excited to see how we match up towards all of our groups that we play right here. I believe my The ladies and my seniors are prepared (for the subsequent step) and can add just a few extra wins to our document this 12 months.

The Warriors, who’ve Courtney Wheaton and Rachel Cresswell, are amongst their standout returners, engaged on their setting and serving all through the preseason.

“If you do not get your serve, (you miss) simple factors, as I name it,” Myers-Jewett mentioned.

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