With most Lebanon County boys volleyball teams continuing to learn how to win at the varsity level, it looks to be another building year overall. Here's more thoughts from each team with the 2017 season underway.
Coach: Jeff Albright, 5th season
Last year's record: 0-16
Key returners: Paul Heagy, Sr., OH/M; Tyler Bolden, Sr.,S; Letnad Jimenez Velazquez, Sr., OH/OPP/L; Kenner Jimenez, Sr., OH/OPP; Cameron Gooden, Sr., M.
Key newcomers: Luis Suriel, Jr., DS/OPP; Eliezer Garcia Montoya, Sr., M/OH.
Season outlook: After a tough go for the Cedars last season with a lot of new players, Albright is already seeing a lot of growth from his team so far this year.
"We knew we were going to take our lumps," he said. "This season, I do see the fruits of the players' labor. We wanted to be more competitive, and we have been so far. Last year was a setup for this year."
One aspect Albright wants to see is continued growth of mental toughness and overall volleyball IQ.
"The varsity guys last year, have gone through the motions and know how to handle rough spots in games," he said. "The name of the game comes down to being mentally tough. I'm hoping the seniors continue to pass that down to the younger guys. But just having that volleyball IQ get better helps everything else fall into place."
Coach: Clark Sheaffer, 3rd season
Last year’s record:10-8
Key returners: Brandon Blouch, Sr., MB; Zach Caley, Libero/DS; Kyle Coover, Sr., OH; Ty Maldonado, Sr., OH/DS; Dan Marroncelli, Sr., OH/MB; Cole Schiffhauer, Sr., Opp; Zac Baker, Jr., OH; Eric Bieber, Jr., Libero/DS; David Bieler, Jr., Opp/S; Ryan Betz, Jr., MB; Seth Hutchinson, Jr., S; Evan Keener, Jr., OH; Joey McInerney, Jr., OH; Nick Mosby, Jr., OH/S; Collin Nissley, Jr., OH/MB; Abel Gebre, Jr., Opp/OH; Tyler Sheaffer, So., OH/Opp/S
Season outlook: After reaching the district playoffs for the first time in their short program history as an independent, the Cougars are taking the next step in year three of the program by joining the Mid-Penn Keystone this season.
Though there is familiarity with some of their new conference foes, Sheaffer says it’s still going to be a big obstacle for his team.
“It’ll be a challenge, he said. “We actually are fortunate enough to have relationships with some of the coaches. We got to know a lot of the players from club as well. But we don’t know everybody yet.”
With the new adjustment, Sheaffer says it becomes even more important for his team to be ready not only from a technical standpoint, but especially mentally.
“That’s actually the key,” he said. “We need to cut down on the mistakes and mental errors. We need to work together better and look to become a more cohesive unit. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Cedar Crest Falcons
Coach: Patrick Knight
Key returners: Willy Hower, Sr.; Adam Rakow, Jr.,; Mark Johns, So.
Key newcomers: Josh Wildonger, Jr., Jake Cole, Sr.