By KEVIN WARNER / For Franklin Home PageFranklin-area high school volleyball scene boasts the Class AA two-time state champ and many teams battling in one of the toughest AAA districts in the state.
Centennial, Franklin, BGA look to move up in standings
|Page’s Lady Patriots brought home their second straight AA title.|
The 2012 Franklin-area high school volleyball scene boasts the Class AA two-time state champion and many teams battling in one of the toughest AAA districts in the state.
The area features defending AA state champion Page (44-10 in 2011), AAA state runner-up Independence, a tough Centennial (21-22) squad, as well as two teams looking to improve greatly this season in Franklin (25-23), and Division II-AA’s Battle Ground Academy (20-14).
Nikki Armstrong, an assistant for Page’s state title team, now takes over as head coach at Independence, which finished runner-up to two-time state champ and district foe Ravenwood.
Here’s a look at what some of the teams will have going into the 2012 season:
|The 2012 Patriots go for a 3-peat.|
The Class AA two-time state champions come into their title defense in a bit of a rebuilding mode, as they lose two-time state MVP outside hitter Molly Locke, who signed with Mercer University.
Head coach Jessica Enderle believes that some of her younger players stand ready to assume a leadership role.
Two of the Patriots’ retuning seniors, middle blocker Maggie Allen and outsideright-side hitter Jessie Sokol (a Carson-Newman commit), will also be keys to Page’s success.
“We have a lot of young talent that still needs to be developed and we are asking a few of our veteran players to step into [and] keep leadership roles which they haven’t been in past seasons,” Enderle said.
“We have our work cut out for us this season but the girls are up for the challenge.”
The Patriots open up Monday in a tri-match at AAA power Siegel before hosting district opponent Giles County on Tuesday.
The Eagles finished second in the state, only unable to overcome Ravenwood in six different matches over the season including district, region and state tournament. Brianna McCombs is now playing at MTSU, Kennadie Lariscy at Alabama-Huntsville and Keaton Thompson at Mid-Continent.
|Macie Pringle||J.C. Cornay|
Junior outside hitters Macie Pringle and J.C. Cornay are players to look for this fall, with Cornay coming back from injuries.
Senior middle blocker Natalie Ward is out for six weeks with a broken hand, but her return will give the Eagles a bigger and more aggressive front line.
“My opinion is that we will be considered underdogs in many of our games this year,” Armstrong said. “We did lose five key players since last year and are rebuilding some key components of the game. I do think we will be underestimated, for the girls that I have this year have big hearts, fire, and a great work ethic.
“They work really hard and want it more than any team I have ever coached.”
Armstrong made two Elite 8 appearances in 2005 and ’06 in NCAA Division II as a player for Dowling College in Long Island, N.Y. She is also in her sixth year coaching club volleyball, formerly with Alliance VBC and then with Club West and took her home club one game short of a national bid.
Centennial hopes to improve on its third-place District 11-AAA tournament finish last season, and the return of team MVP outside hitter Maddie Earp should make that possible. Earp earned first team All- District honors and All-Tournament honors as a sophomore.
The graduated Cassidy Horvath joined Earp on the All-District first team. Rising senior right-side hitterdefensive specialist Taylor Rowe made honorable mention.
Other key contributors for the Cougars include senior middle blocker Caroline Hyde and two newcomers, junior libero Regan Petty and setter Sarah Ngo.
Third-year head coach Brittany Rhinehart expects that with the players coming back and the amount of leadership she has seen in practice, the team processes the ability to get back to the state tournament and win it.
CHS begins the season hosting Ensworth on Monday.
The Rebels finished in fifth place in Distinct 11-AAA last season, and fifth-year head coach Kim Miller undoubtedly hopes that her 2012 team improves that spot.
Franklin returns a host of key players in seniors Emily Ansley, Greer Harvey and Julie Harrison; junior Anna Patton and sophomore Kara Spireto.
Miller sees sophomores Anna Grace Cathey, Mia Faragalli, Kallie Katina and Kaley McComas all making some contributions in 2012, along with freshmen Kaelene DeCoster and Emma Joynes.
The Rebels begin the season Monday when they host Father Ryan.
Battle Ground Academy
Head coach Katie Sundstrom enters her second year at the helm for the Wildcats, after a first year that saw BGA post an 8-6 record in the region before losing to St. Agnes in a DII-AA sub-state match.
|Morgan McShain||Sara Zumbach|
The Wildcats have back a trio of junior outside hitters, Sara Zumbach, Morgan McShain and Anisa Moore, who returns to BGA after her family’s move to Kansas. Senior defensive specialist Kaylie Kawamura also returns.
Sundstrom also looks for freshman defensive specialistsetter Tori Thompson to make an impact for the team this year as it looks to improve.
“Our plans are to start strong – stay strong – finish strong – to be consistent, and if we do that, with the talent we have, we should be successful,” Sundstrom said.
Time will tell just how ready all the teams in the area are, when the season starts next week.