GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Season previews: Waynesboro, McConnellsburg could compete for league...
Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils
Coach: Corry Eagler, first year, previous six-year record was 115-21 (.846)
Last year: 8-11 (8-7 Mid Penn Capital Division)
Returning starters: Sydney Shepherd (sr., OH, P.O. second team), Gabby Baughman (jr., L, P.O. HM), Jess Root (sr., MH), Elizabeth Dagliano (sr., OH)
Other top players: Keri Gearhart (so., MH), Rachel Zerhoef (fr., OH)
Outlook: Eagler said, "They're going to be moving in the right direction, but it will take awhile for us to come together, especially with a new setter that hasn't even set for our program. We have a lot of stuff we need to get through, but we have some strong blockers and strong hitters. We need to work on our ball control."
Notes: Eagler returns to coach the Blue Devils after a three-season hiatus from the varsity team ... Junior Chloe McKenzie will take over the setting duties ... Outside hitter Brycelin Spidel transferred to Waynesboro ... G-A will play its home matches at the middle school because the high school gym is getting a new floor and air conditioning system.
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Shippensburg, 6
Shippensburg Lady Hounds
Coach: Suwan Kongkeattikul, third year, 18-15 (.545)
Last year: 11-6 (11-3 Mid Penn Capital Division); lost in District 3-AAA play-in game to Hershey, 3-1
Returning starters: Rianon McKee (sr., MH), Cierra Noel (sr., RS)
Other top players: Mariah Throckmorton (jr., S), Eva Nye (jr., OH), Taylor Junkin (sr., OH), Ally Mankamyer (so., MH), Hannah Britcher (sr., L), Arian Spero (sr., L)
Outlook: Kongkeattikul said, "We only have two starters returning, and we're definitely not as strong with the hitters like we had last season. Our goal for this year is just to make the least mistakes as possible and for the other team to win, they're going to have to earn it. We don't have as much power up front, so we'll have to play smart."
Notes: Ship's biggest loss to graduation was P.O. First-Team All-Star Shaelin Ulsh ... There are 11 players on the roster ... All of the Hounds' wins last year came in the division.
Season opener: Tuesday, at Greencastle-Antrim, 6
James Buchanan Rockets
Coach: Tonya Miller, first year.
Last year: 6-11 (4-10 Mid Penn Capital Division)
Returning starters: Kayla Cummings (sr., S, P.O. HM), Erica Eberly (sr., OH, P.O. first team), Tyana Quivers (jr., OH, P.O. second team), Allison Meyers (sr., L)
Other top players: Samantha Parson (sr., MH), Logan Souders (sr., OH)
Outlook: Miller said, "Our biggest goal is to at least get a .500 season and to start getting that competitive mentality. We have a very good team; they are all very strong players, to the point that they're interchangeable. That's a good thing, but it's also one of our challenges because I don't have a strong starting six."
Notes: Quivers has moved from middle to outside, which is the position she plays during club ball ... The Rockets have 12 on the roster, and Miller said all 12 will get a good amount of playing time ... Of JB's 4five-set matches last year, 3 were losses.
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Northern York, 7
Coach: Kim Saunders, fourth year, 43-18 (.705)
Last year: 17-4 (13-1 Mid Penn Capital Division); lost in the first round of the District 3-AAA playoffs, 3-1, to Red Lion
Returning starters: Ciara Rosenberger (jr., OH, P.O. HM), Alyssa Taylor (sr., L, P.O. second team), Jordan Stoops (sr., S, P.O. HM), Olivia Fogelsonger (so., MH)
Other top players: Rachel Johnson (sr., OH), Brycelin Spidel (sr., MH, P.O. HM), Jenna Harne (jr., OH), Kaylie Yarnell (jr., DS)
Outlook: Saunders said, "Liv has prepared herself physically and mentally to step her game up, and Ciara on the outside is amazing right now. We probably have more weapons than we've had before, especially since Jordan is extremely comfortable in her setter's shoes now. Alyssa is completely solid defensively, so it's a coach's dream, really, when you look at it on paper. We're still missing the leadership, though; we have six great individuals out there, but I need them to come together and play fluently together."
Notes: The Maidens' biggest loss to graduation was Rachel Eyler, the 2014 Public Opinion Player of the Year ... Waynesboro is the defending Capital Division champion ... Brycelin Spidel joins the team after playing the last 3 years at Greencastle-Antrim ... Saunders called Johnson her most-improved player.
Season opener: Tuesday, at Boiling Springs, 7
Coach: Heidi Johnston, eighth year, 102-39 (.723)
Last year: 13-7 (10-2 Sideling Hill League, 9-1 Inter-County Conference); lost to Windber, 3-0, in the District 5-AA quarterfinals
Returning starters: Kylie Keefer (sr., MH), Kailey Dils (sr., L), Lindsey Randler (jr., S, P.O. second team), Carly Swope (jr., OH, P.O. first team), Kacey Hann (so., MH, P.O. HM)
Other top players: Bridgette Ritchey (jr., OH), Aryanna Lupey (fr., RS)
Outlook: Johnston said, "We're definitely looking to be top in our league; I think that's always a goal for us. But we're in work mode, putting together a lot of people in new positions. We have some returners, but we're putting the basics together. I think we'll be a little more powerful offensively than the past couple years, so right now, we're looking at speeding up our offense and being more aggressive."
Notes: The Spartans were the co-champions of the SHL, and lost to West Branch in the ICC Championship ... This is just the second year Ritchey has been playing volleyball ... McConnellsburg graduated Becca Green, a P.O. first-team selection.
Next match: Thursday, at Everett, 7
Fannett-Metal Lady Tigers
Coach: Keri Daniel, sixth season, 22-71 (.237)
Last year: 1-17 (0-12 Sideling Hill League, 0-10 Inter-County Conference)
Returning starters: Kiana Patrick (sr., MH), Emily Metcalfe (jr., OH), Brooke Harris (jr., OH)
Other top players: Taylor Coffman (so., S), Allyson Hoffman (so., L), Lizzie Peppernick (jr., MH), Jess Schaffer (sr., MH)
Outlook: Daniel said, "Right now, we're building. We have a lot of young girls who are inexperienced; a lot of our sophomores haven't even played before. They all have a really good attitude, and they're doing well, but we're just going to do our best to keep up with everyone. It's a building year for us."
Notes: The Tigers have 15 on the roster for varsity and JV combined ... Their only win last year came against Rockwood.
Season opener: Tuesday, at Mercersburg Academy, 5:45
Southern Fulton Indians
Coach: Ben Arnold, second year, 7-10 (.412)
Last year: 7-10 (4-8 Sideling Hill League, 4-6 Inter-County Conference)
Returning starters: Shaye Smartt (sr., OH, P.O. second team), Peyton Koons (sr., S), Mikayla O'Neal (sr., MH), Madison Breeze (so., OH)
Other top players: Sierra Lashley (jr., MH), Morgan Fitz (jr., DS), Tiara Bard (jr., DS), Drew Gordon (fr., OH)
Outlook: Arnold said, "I would like to see this team make the playoffs this year after coming close to do so last year. I think this is a talented group of individuals that should be able to reach the goal of making the playoffs for the first time in many seasons."
Notes: The Indians have a two-week break between their first and second matches ... Celina Merchant (P.O. HM) will not be playing this season.
Next match: Thursday, Sept. 17, at home vs. Tussey Mountain, 7
Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers
Coach: Carole Rosenberry, fourth year, 32-31 (.508)
Last year: 11-11 (4-8 Mason-Dixon Christian Conference); lost in the first round of the MDCC Tournament
Returning starters: Loryn Sanders (sr., S, P.O. second team), Brianna Miley (jr., OH), Ashley Winters (jr., OH), Harli Bergau (jr., MH)
Other top players: Shelby Heckman (so., DS), Hunter Timmons (fr., MH), Mackenzie Householder (fr., RS/S), Taylor Heck (fr., RS/S)
Outlook: Rosenberry said, "I think we'll do well, except that we're definitely undersized. But our first two game (CVC is 1-1), they've played pretty good defense. It might be one of those years that we can wear people down. We need to play smart ball and put it where they're not."
Notes: Maddie Keck (sr., MH) broke her foot on the first day of practice and is out for the season ... The Blazers' tallest player is 5-foot-7 ... There are only 8 on the varsity roster, including Householder and Heck, who play both varsity and JV.
Next match: Tuesday, at Heritage Academy, 5
Shalom Christian Flames
Coach: Katie Gantz, second year, 14-3 (.824)
Last year: 14-3 (10-2 Mason-Dixon Christian Conference); won the MDCC Tournament
Returning starters: Lexy Poe (sr., OH), Brooke Kuhns (sr., MH), Bethany Blank (jr., RS/S)
Other top players: Kylie Eby (so., S), Paige Hoover (so., OH), Haley Bricker (jr., OH), Codi Ebersole (jr., L/DS)
Outlook: Gantz said, "Ever since the preseason, I knew it was going to be a different year because we lost so many off our starting lineup. But we have a ton of great girls who are ready to do their best. I've already seen tremendous progress so far, and I think people may underestimate us this year."
Notes: Last year, Shalom won the MDCC Tournament, beating all 3 of its opponents by 3-0 scores ... Blank played libero last season ... The Flames graduated 4 starters, including Tori Yoder, a P.O. first team all-star.
Next match: Tuesday, at home vs. Broadfording, 6
Mercersburg Academy Blue Storm
Coach: Katie LaRue, first year.
Last year: 8-8
Returning starters: Sarah Pape (sr.), Hannah Hassoun (jr.), Ava Paul (so.), Morgan Steiner (jr.)
Other top players: Tori Yoder (PG, P.O. first team), Patrice McGloin (fr.), Mallory Sipes (sr.)
Outlook: LaRue said, "The girls from last year had a really nice season, and they got stronger as it went on. A lot of the kids returning were a big part of that. The girls have also been really positive about me taking over the program, which is nice. Cindel (Hollenshead) did a nice job getting a core of kid."
Notes: LaRue is also the girls basketball coach at Mercersburg ... Danessa Martin is no longer playing for the Blue Storm and will instead be attending Chambersburg ... Yoder joins the team as a post-grad after playing at Shalom Christian.
Season opener: Tuesday, at home vs. Fannett-Metal, 5:45