There will be a lot of new faces on the volleyball courts across Central Virginia this fall as local high school teams start their seasons.
Western Albemarle has a new, but familiar look. The Warriors are back with Ron Rack at the helm. Pack, a long-time assistant, takes over for Jena McFaddin. Western Albemarle lost some key players to graduation with the departure of standouts Katie Rossberg, Riley Martin, and Marin Crowder, but the team is still familiar with success.
“We have six seniors on the team, so we have some experienced players,” Pack said. “Our two captains, Laura Bergin and Maggie Kooken, are our two top outside hitters right now. We will be using two new setters this year. It will take time for our hitters and setters to develop the rhythm needed to be successful. Marina Clark is an experienced defensive specialist.”
Western Albemarle is coming off one its most successful seasons. The Warriors won the Jefferson District and Region II championships and made a trip to the state semifinals. Pack, whose team opened the season with a 3-0 win over Robert E. Lee on Tuesday night, is ready to push his team to continue the Warriors’ winning ways, a tradition that includes 10 straight district titles.
“We hope to compete for the regular season and tournament championships again this season. Winning one of those titles will qualify us for regional playoffs,” Pack said. “I feel we will battling two or three other top teams in the district for the top spot.”
Western Albemarle will need to be on its game to hang on to the Jefferson District title. Power hitter Janey Goodman returns for Powhatan while the 2011 district player of the year, Hannah Miller, is back for Fluvanna.
Monticello has hopes of contending for the Jefferson District title. The Mustangs will be without the services of long-time setter Mariah Williams, who will suit up for West Virginia Wesleyan this fall. Coach John Mitchem recognizes the work ahead for his team.
“We will have a lot of work to do be able to replicate the recent finishes in the district. Thankfully, the rest of the district has to replace their primary setter, too,” Mitchem said. “I think this season is going to be wide open. Fluvanna is returning a lot of firepower, but they will need someone to get their hitters the ball. Western graduated the core of their athletes, but still return both of their stud outside hitters. I see us finishing in the top half of the district.”
Monticello returns some key players. Outside hitter Charlotte Devine and libero Trystam Carr will be back to lead the Mustangs.
“Both will be instrumental in the success of our team. Charlotte was second-team all-Jefferson District last year when she led out team in both kills and aces,” Mitchem said. “Trystam is entering her second season as the starting libero. Her ball control will help keep us in system this year.”
For Group AAA, Albemarle returns All-Commonwealth District honorees Caroline Porco and Jessica Block to lead coach Mark Ragland squad.
St. Anne’s-Belfield will need to replace the departed Trent Holden, but will get some help from returning All-LIS product Allie Nicholson. Covenant will look to contend on the LIS stage as well.