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Season looms for F-F volleyball teams

Greencastle-Antrim Blue Devils

Coach: Corry Eagler, seventh year, 127-29 (.814)

Last year: 12-8 (10-4 Mid Penn Capital Division)

Returning starters: Gabby Baughman (sr., S, P.O. First Team), Keri Gearhart (jr., MH, P.O. First Team), Chloe McKenzie (sr., OH), Rachel Verhoef (so., MH)

Other top players: Madee Goodwin (jr., OH), Molly Elliott (sr., RS)

Outlook: Eagler said, "We're really excited about this season. I think we've got a lot of girls that are very competitive. Our middles seem to be extremely aggressive with hitting the ball, and we're a tough serving team. (Being in a new division) evens things out a little bit. It'll be tougher competition across the board." 

Notes: G-A has moved to the Keystone Division this season ... Baughman will be setting this year, but was a libero last year; McKenzie is moving from setter to outside hitter ... Eagler said, "We have a lot of people in different positions, but I think they're better positions for those people." 

Season opener: Tuesday, Sept. 6, at home vs. Hershey, 6

Shippensburg Lady Hounds

Coach: Swann Kongkeattikul, fourth year, 21-28 (.429)

Last year: 3-13 (3-11 Mid Penn Capital Division)

Returning starters: Mariah Throckmorton (sr., S), Eva Nye (sr., OH)

Other top players: Ally Mankamyer (sr., MH), Shannon Staver (sr., MH), Kim Braet (L)

Outlook: Kongkeattikul said the goal for this season is to "play every game according to a game plan." He said one of the Lady Hounds' strengths was their team work, but they lacked a strong hitting power.

Notes: Ship has moved to the Keystone Division this season ... The Hounds' biggest loss to graduation was Cierra Noel. 

Season opener: Wednesday, Sept. 7, at home vs. Big Spring, 6:15

James Buchanan Rockets

Coach: Tonya Miller, second year, 9-8 (.529)

Last year: 9-8 (7-7 Mid Penn Capital Division)

Returning starters: Tyana Quivers (sr., OH, P.O. First Team), Sarah Blair (sr., S)

Other top players: Renee Sollenberger (jr., MH), Emma Wise (jr., OH), Rachel Manikowski (so., OH)

Outlook: Miller said, "I'm pretty excited about this season. We lost seven players, but this team has a lot of cohesiveness. They've all been talking a lot on the court, and I'm still expecting big things." 

Notes: The Rockets have only two seniors on the roster ... JB is the only Franklin County team that remains in the Capital Division ... Miller said she has high expectations for Quivers, who is moving from a middle hitter to outside, which is where she plays in club ball. 

Season opener: Friday, at home vs. Fannett-Metal, 7. 

Waynesboro Maidens

Coach: Kim Saunders, fifth year, 63-19 (.768)

Last year: 20-1 (14-0 Mid Penn Capital Division); lost in the first round of the District 3A playoffs, 3-2, to Red Lion. 

Returning starters: Ciara Rosenberger (sr., OH, P.O. Second Team), Olivia Fogelsonger (jr., MH, P.O. honorable mention)

Other top players: Jenna Harne (sr., OH), Kaylie Yarnell (sr., L/DS), Grace Powell (so., OH), Brooke Chandler (jr., S), Marlee Berry (fr., S/DS), Miranda Sanders (jr., RS)

Outlook: Saunders said, "It's definitely going to be a rebuilding year with only two starters returning, and then Yarnell coming back. We basically have three people that have had significant varsity experience, so we're young in that sense. We have to definitely come together and get some cohesiveness quickly." 

Notes: Although they are the defending champions of the Capital Division, the Maidens have moved to the Keystone this season ... Saunders said to watch out for Berry, who has been with the program since seventh grade. 

Season opener: Tuesday, Sept. 6, at home vs. Mechanicsburg, 7

McConnellsburg Spartans

Coach: Heidi Johnston, ninth year, 117-44 (.727)

Last year: 15-5 (10-2 Sideling Hill League, 10-0 Inter-County Conference); lost to Shade, 3-2, in the District 5 A quarterfinals.

Returning starters: Lindsey Randler (sr., S, P.O. Second Team), Carly Swope (sr., OH, P.O. First Team), Kacey Hann (jr., MH), Bridgette Ritchey (sr., OH), Aryanna Lupey (so., RS)

Other top players: Alexis Lupey (so., L), Calli Nesbit (so., L), Katelyn Truax (fr., MH), Marie Fuller (jr., OH), Leah Seville (so., RS/MH), Tara Cutshaw (jr., RS)

Outlook: Johnston said, "We're excited about our core group. We've felt strong about this group for awhile. They've been working hard, and it's safe to say we have expectations, but we're still always taking it one game at a time. Our big thing for this season is looking forward and talking about goals, especially with the new classifications." 

Notes: McConnellsburg was the ICC South champion and lost 3-0 to West Branch in the title game ... The Spartans are not playing James Buchanan, from where Johnston graduated ... McConnellsburg hosts its annual tournament on Sept. 10. 

Season opener: Tuesday, Sept. 6, at St. Maria Goretti, 6:30

Fannett-Metal Lady Tigers

Coach: Keri Daniel, seventh year, 23-89 (.205)

Last year: 1-18 (0-12 Sideling Hill League, 0-10 Inter-County Conference)

Returning starters: Emily Metcalfe (sr., OH)

Other top players: Ashlyn Murray (jr., MH)

Outlook: Daniel said, "We have so many that just have not had much varsity experience. But overall, they're a stronger team than we have been the past few years. We're in a learning phase. We went to a camp at Shippensburg University this summer, and I think that helped." 

Notes: Fannett-Metal has been winless in the SHL and ICC for the last two seasons ... Brooke Harris (sr., OH) did not come out this season ... Daniel said for the Tigers, the biggest thing is changing the mental game ... "They're ultimately very good ballplayers," she said, "but we've frozen up come game time." 

Season opener: Friday, at James Buchanan, 7 

Southern Fulton Indians

Coach: Ben Arnold, third year, 15-19 (.441)

Last year: 8-9 (5-7 Sideling Hill League, 5-5 Inter-County Conference)

Returning starters: Madison Breeze (jr., OH), Morgan Fitz (sr., OH, P.O. Second Team), Sierra Lashley (sr., MH), Drew Gordon (so., OH/S), Tiara Bard (sr., DS/S

Other top players: Olivia Mottern (sr., MH), Destini Swisher (sr., L), Shaelyn Wawro (sr., RS)

Outlook: Arnold said, "I think to be toward the top of the league would be a good expectation. I'm returning most of my players from the previous seasons, and now I've worked with these players for awhile. I think we're going to be more solid this year than we were last year." 

Notes: Mottern has not played volleyball since middle school, according to Arnold ... The Indians have had improvement each season under Arnold, and he said, "I absolutely think that'll continue to be the case." ... Five of SF's nine losses last season came in five-set matches. 

Season opener: Tuesday, Sept. 6, at Mount Union, 7

Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers

Coach: Carole Rosenberry, fifth year, 42-43 (.494)

Last year: 10-12 (7-9 Mason-Dixon Christian Conference); lost in the MDCC semifinals to Heritage, 3-0

Returning starters: Brianna Miley (sr., OH), Ashley Winters (sr., OH), Harli Bergau (sr., MH), Shelby Heckman (jr., L), Hunter Timmons (so., MH), Mackenzie Householder (so., S)

Other top players: Taylor Heck (so., S), Isabel Beard (so., DS), Tahra Kennedy (so., OH), Kaitlin Provard (so., MH)

Outlook: Rosenberry said, "I think we'll have a good season, but it's going to be some hard-fought battles. We're not going to walk with any easy wins. We're going to see some very long four- and five-game matches, but the girls will play hard. I look for our strength to be defense, and we serve well. As long as we can put things together and get an offense running, I look for it to be a good season." 

Notes: The Blazers graduated just one person from last year's team ... Provard is the team's tallest girl, standing at 5-foot-9, while Bergau and Timmons are both 5-7 ... Rosenberry said Heckman was a standout libero at the Shenandoah Valley Tournament on Saturday.

Next game: Today, at home vs. Grace Academy, 6

Shalom Christian Flames

Coach: Katie Gantz, third year, 30-6 (.833). 

Last year: 16-3 (12-2 Mason-Dixon Christian Conference); lost in the MDCC championship to Heritage, 3-0

Returning starters: Bethany Blank (sr., RS), Haley Bricker (sr., MH), Kylie Eby (jr., S), Paige Hoover (jr., OH)

Other top players: Lauren Stains (jr., MH), Kodi Ebersole (sr., OH), Courtney Stains (so., utility)

Outlook: Gantz said, "I think it's going to be a very interesting season. The league is definitely evening up, so I do expect a lot more close competition, which I think is exciting. We're a very different team than last year, but not in a bad way." 

Notes: Shalom's only blemishes last year were its three losses to Heritage ... Gantz said an opposing coach called Shalom "scrappy" at the first match of the season, and "I can't remember the last time we've been called scrappy," she said ... Courtney Stains could be seen at several different positions this season. 

Next game: Today, at Heritage Academy, 6:30