Even though Delone Catholic will undergo a transformation after graduating seven players from last year’s squad, the Squirettes are still expected to be the favorites early on.
Here's a look at the top teams in the YAIAA entering the 2016 season:
1. Delone Catholic: Delone Catholic is coming off the program’s fourth straight YAIAA title and their third district final appearance in the last four years. However, with players like Katie Laughman and Sarah Senft having graduated, it will be up to a new core of players to continue the winning ways. Kayla Ewart and Claire Kauffman will play important leadership roles for the team, and Karigen Emig and Sydney Dockins will play important roles on the court.
2. Central York: The Panthers will have to replace a couple of pieces from last season’s team, but they’ll have plenty of talent returning in 2016. GameTimePA.com All-Star Emma Saxton highlights a group of five returners who saw a lot of action the year prior. Also returning for Central will be Kamryn Stambaugh, Karah Slow, Natalie Hawksworth and Ashley Gallagher. They all helped the Panthers make their first district final appearance since 1984.
3. York Suburban: The Trojans will be looking to pick up where they left off last season, which saw them make it to the YAIAA championship game and the District 3 semifinals. Suburban will return five seniors to their starting lineup, but they will have to replace Jordan Landis and Ciara Buckingham. Georgia DuMars, now in her fourth year of varsity, and Parker Faircloth-Henise will play important roles this season.
4. Susquehannock: The Warriors will return eight players with varsity experience. Amber Sweitzer will lead the offense at the setter position, according to head coach Darla Pennewell. She replaces second-team all-district selection Kelly Franz from last year’s team. Tyler Williams, Abby Deter and Gabby O’Gude will also play important roles for Susquehannock this season. The Warriors were Division II champions in 2015, and reached the semifinals in the league and district tournament.
5. Red Lion: The Lions will get back one of their biggest assets in outside hitter Lindsey Blevins, who played a big role in Red Lion reaching the district quarterfinals. Also returning to the team is Lauren Enfield and Logan Dontell. The Lions will use a deeper team this year with players who can play a variety of positions, according to head coach Heather Schoemaker. Red Lion is coming off a season that saw them finish 14-5 and qualify for the league and district tournament.