Miami County Volleyball Preview

TROY — Michelle Owen returns as Troy volleyball coach.

The Lady Trojans were 21-2 overall last season and 18-0 in the MVL.

Returning letterwinners include seniors Kasey Sager, Ellie Fogarty, Brynn Siler, Madison Frey and Brooklyn Jackson.

Sager and Frey will lead the middles.

Sager had 114 kills and 71 blocks a year ago.

Siler and Duff lead the outside hitters.

Siler, who missed much of last season with an injury, and Duff both had 37 kills a year ago.

Zoe Tracey will be the right side hitter.

Fogarty will be the setter after dishing out 387 assists a year ago.

Jackson will be the top passer and Duff and Ella Friesthler will be the servers.

“Troy is working hard to reload and contend for another league title and battle for a chance to return to districts,” Owen said.

TIPPECANOE

Howard Garcia returns as the Tippecanoe volleyball coach.

The Red Devils were 23-3 overall last year and 16-2 in the MVL.

Returning letterwinners include senior Cami Gingerich, Olivia Gustavson, Grace Kinsman, Alex Voisard, Nicole Strong, Savy Dean, Alex Mader and Hannah Wildermuth; and juniors Ellie McCormick and Mara Sessions.

Middle hitter Gustavson had 210 kills and 49 blocks a year ago and Mader added 153 kills and 48 blocks in the middle.

Outside hitter Voisard had 175 kills.

Setter Wildermutch had 411 assists a year ago, despite missing half the season with an injury.

Voisair and Mader will lead the defense as well and combined for 81 aces a year ago.

Wildermuth had a 97 percent serve efficiency.

“We are a senior heavy with some good varsity experience under our belts and lots of players that can do several things well,” Garcia said. “We will be okay from the offensive side with many good attackers, but our defense is what is going to define how far we go. I still expect to stay true to our motto. Be a better person first, second a better teammate to then create a better/competitive team. Still shooting to win our conference, district, regional and state championship.”

Garcia expects to battle with Troy and Butler for the conference title.

“The Miami side of the conference has been traditionally the strongest of both conferences,” Garcia said. “Troy ran the table last season and has some talent coming back and Butler made some good progress. I expect us to contend again with Troy and Butler.”

PIQUA

Jenni Huelskamp returns as Piqua volleyball coach, with Chelsie Brautigam as the assistant coach.

The Lady Indians were 11-14 overall last year and 8-10 in the MVL.

The roster includes seniors Olivia Anthony, Marissa Bragg, Jordan Adkins and Lily Haning; juniors Sherry Sprowl, Emma Pierron, Elizabeth Copsey, Diana Gertner and Ashln Sullivan; sophomore Summer Clark and freshman Riley Baker.

The returning letterwinners include Adkins, Anthony, Bragg and Copsey.

Adkins had 69 kills and 26 blocks a year ago, while Bragg had 75 digs.

“My expectations for our team are a constant pursuit of advanced volleyball skills and the application of tactics,” Huelskamp said. “Mental toughness and being a great teammate are priorities for our program. We would like to see our team improve on our previous record and advance in the tournament.”

Huelskamp expects a challenge in the MVL.

“The MVL is becoming stronger every year and we look forward to competing with top-notch teams,” she said. “We have well-rounded student athletes in the MVL and it is exciting to watch the progress and success of our teams and student athletes.”

BETHEL

The Bethel volleyball roster includes seniors Karinne Stormer and Elizabeth Maxwell; juniors Allison Schenck, Karlee Plozay, Gabi McMahan and Daisy Horner and sophomores Claire Bailey, Mahailey Boksuntia and Muskaan Sandhu.

Plozay led the TRC last year with 373 kills and 91 aces, while McMahan dished out 558 assists.

COVINGTON

Ellie Cain returns as Covington coach.

Returning letterwinners include TRC Player of the Year Nigella Reck, Reaghan Lemp, Lauren York, Ella Remley, Carlie Besecker, Kearsten Wiggins, Maryanne Turner and Taylor Kirker

Who are your top hitters and blockers?

Reck, York and Besecker will lead the hitters, while Besecker leads the blockers.

Sophomore Kirker is back at the setter position and Lemp and Wiggins will be the top passers.

Kirker, Wiggins and Reck will lead the servers.

“I have high expectations for this season as we have 5 returning starters from our varsity team last year,” Cain said. “We have been working hard all summer and have a great team chemistry coming into this season that I am excited for. All of these girls work so hard and are amazing competitors, and I know we will accomplish a lot this season because of that.”

Cain expects the TRC to be competitive

“The TRC is a very competitive conference in volleyball,” Last year we had to work extremely hard to finish near the top, and are looking to finish high this year as well.“

LEHMAN CATHOLIC

Carolyn Dammeyer returns as coach.

The Lady Cavaliers were 11-12 a year ago.

Marissa Corner, Kaity Fortkamp, Taylor Geise and Kailee Rank are the top hitters; while Caroline Wesner is the top setter and Claire Adams, Taylor Geise, Rank and Corner are the top passers.

The top servers include Wesner, Corner, Layla Platfoot and Ashlyn Geise.

“We will be the top contenders in the league and very competitive,” Dammeyer said. “We hope to improve with every match and day. We are capable of being a top contender.”

MIAMI EAST

The Miami East volleyball roster includes senior Megan McDowell; juniors Maya Bowsher and Ava Prince; sophomores Kaitlyn McElroy, Emma Rust, Kamryn Apple and Emma Stapleton and freshman Jaycee Roeth, Whitni Enis and Khalia Lawrence.

MILTON-UNION

Courtney Sims returns as the Milton-Union coach.

The Bulldogs were 3-19 last season.

Returning letterwinners include Lacey Naff, Emma Lightner, Hailey Sakal, Lillie Taxis, Mylee Jones, Jenna Brumbaugh, Carly Zimmer and Lotus Snyder.

Brumbaugh, Zimmer, Naff, Jones and Hailey Sakal will lead the hitters and blockers.

Jones and Taxis will be the setters, while Snyder, Brumbaugh and Zimmer will be the top passers.

Brumbaugh, Jones and Zimmer will be the top servers.

“We had a pretty young team last season and it has been amazing watching them grow into stronger players,” Sims said. “I expect us to be even more competitive this season and continue to grow these young players.”

Sims expects the conference to be a battle.

“Last year was our “see and adjust” year since it was the first year in the new conference,” Sims said. “We have seen what teams have to offer now, and we can better prepare. The Three Rivers Conference has really good competition, so I see us being good competition for all of the teams.“

TROY CHRISTIAN

Karen Forrer takes over as coach.

The Lady Eagles were 13-9 overall a year ago and 8-6 in the TRC.

2021 record: 13-9 overall, 8-6 in Three Rivers Conference (4th)

Returning letterwinners include senior Lilly Smith and Emilee Strine and juniors Kathleen Johnson and Chloe Simmons.

“We expect to be very effective in the middle for both hitting and blocking, with Kathleen Johnson and Chloe Simmons leading our offense,” Forrer said. “Outside hitters Maddie Fourman and Emilee Strine will be offensive weapons, along with right side hitter Savannah Hendricks.

”Setter Ainsley Davis is new to the position but learning quickly and proving to be an excellent leader on the floor. Libero Lilly Smith is one of the best passers in the conference and is a four-year varsity starter. She covers every inch of the court and leads the team in multiple ways. Lilly Smith and Emilee Strine are expected to be conference leaders in serving percentage as well as aces.

Forrer has high hopes for the team.

“This team is talented, athletic, agile and eager to prove themselves in the TRC and beyond,” she said. “We have set a goal to lead the conference in service aces and passing. What we lack in height we make up in determination and discipline. The future is extremely bright for Troy Christian with eight freshmen on the overall roster.

“After losing four starters to graduation, we are rebuilding but still expecting to contend in our conference. Adding freshman outside hitter Maddie Fourman to our offense, along with four versatile JV swing players should give us many positive options.”

Forrer expects the TRC to be a battle.

”We love the new TRC and expect to compete with every team. Riverside and Covington will likely prove to be difficult wins, but we are prepared to challenge every opponent,” she said.

BRADFORD

Alisha Patty returns as coach.

The Lady Railroaders were 7-16 last season.

Returning letterwinners are Remi Harleman and Brooklyn Crickmore, who along with Faith Gray will be the top hitters and blockers on the team.

Bella Brewer will be a setter and lead the defense and Brewer and Harleman will be the top servers.

“This season is a very big growing season,” Patty said. “I hope we grow as a team, grow as leaders, and grow as people.

After the past two year losing over 10 girls, we will struggle this year in the leadership and varsity game experience. I think we will be close in most games, but will struggle when it comes to game experience and playing in a competitive game.”

NEWTON

Danita Rapp returns as coach.

Returning letterwinners off last year’s 16-8 team include seniors Emma Hemphill, Ella Rapp, Kaylee Deeter and Eva Bowser and juniors Olivia Rapp and Bella Hall.

We anticipate a strong line up in the front row this season with four returning varsity hitters,” Rapp said.

Outside Hitters will be Hemphill and Deeter; the middle hitter will be Hall, and rightside/outside hitter will be Olivia Rapp,

“In addition to our returning varsity hitters I expect to see impressive stats from our incoming sophomores Sienna Montgomery and Ava Rapp,” Rapp said.

Blockers to watch this season areMontgomery, Hall, Olivia Rapp and Hemphill.

”Returning four-year varsity setter Ella Rapp will run our offense this season,” Rapp said. “She looks to set her 1,000 varsity career assist this season. Liberor Eva Bowser will be returning again this season on defense. Defensive specialists Kaylee Deeter, Emma Hemphill,Olivia Rapp and Ava Rapp will lead the team in defense.

“Senior Arianna Vannus and junior Chloe Shellenbarger will add additional depth to our back row. Kaylee Deeter, Ella Rapp, Emma Hemphill and Olivia Rapp will be the top servers.”

Rapp expects the team to do well.

”With six returning varsity players this season, I expect to see the team perform well and continue to improve on their record,” she said. “The team has a wide range of strengths which will add depth to our lineup and overall performance. I anticipate the conference to have a competitive element with multiple teams competing for the top spot.”

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]