Last updated: August 25. 2014 11:33PM - 469 Views
By Tom Fox For The Times Leader

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Head coach: Sarah Warner

Last year’s record: 5-12

Key losses: Nicoll Donayre, Alex Walton, Courtney Soboleski

Key returners: Sydney Reigel, Maddie Traugh, Ellie Ouimet

Outlook: Even though younger than last season, Warner has high hopes that the Bulldogs can get to the postseason. “With zero returning players entering their senior season, we will be looking to develop into leaders. We were able to begin training in the spring and summer at a much higher level and continue to grow as a program. Our outlook for the season is positive for the growth of the program given that we stay relative healthy.”


Head coach: Samantha Page

Last year’s record: 0-17

Key losses: Liz Ellsworth, Caroline Hayduk, Nykia Taylor

Key returners: Tamar Bourdeau, Nat Bourdeau, Walkiria Perez

Outlook: Page enters her second season as head coach of the Crusaders. While Coughlin hasn’t won a league game in two years, Page still feels like the program continues to make gains. There are a total of eight seniors on the roster, led by the Bourdeau sisters, Tamar and Nat – both coming off successful track campaigns. “We are just trying to be better than we were the game before,” Page said. “Our approach is that every game is a new opportunity. With each whistle, you start over. Last year, we did struggle, but I see a different attitude this year.”


Head coach: Mike Williams

Last year’s record: 13-4

Key losses: Taryn Wojnar, Olivia Jankowski, Nicole Jankowski, Emily Sipple

Key returners: Bryanna Hurn, Julie Murphy

Outlook: Williams won’t use the word rebuild. Instead, the veteran Comet head coach uses retool. “With the girls coming up through, we kind of have the motto of next man up. Our goal is to be one of the top teams in the league every season.” he said. Crestwood, a district 2A playoff qualifier one year ago, lost seven starters. That leadership role now falls on the shoulders of senior Bryana Hurn and junior Julie Murphy. “We are inexperienced in terms of varsity, but these girls play a lot between club ball and summer league. I am excited for this year. We are young, but you can feel the energy of this group. I still feel like we will be a contender in the league,” Williams said.


Head coach: Meredith Recek

Last year’s record: 5-12

Key losses: Taylor Kelley, Erin Muldoon, Amanda Kus

Key returners: Mallory Faux, Olivia Musto

Outlook: Dallas returns seven seniors from last year’s squad. Included in that are two important middle hitters in Mallory Faux and Olivia Musto, who Recek will count on to lead the squad back to the postseason. “We do have a real nice mix on our team. It’s a good mix of ages. The girls are working hard, and are ready for the season to begin. I think they are ready for the challenge of our league.”


Head coach: Hattie Caruso

Last year’s record: 4-13

Key losses: Courtney Colorusso, Joceylne Vazquez

Key returners: Jackie Rocha, Banessa Flores, Marie Skrepenak, Erin Scafella

Outlook: Caruso’s biggest goal this season is one that hasn’t happened in two decades. “Our goal is to reach the playoffs,” she said. “The last time it happened here at GAR was 1992.” The Grenadiers could be poised to make a run. Losing only two starters off last year’s team, Caruso does return hitters in Jackie Rocha and Marie Skrepenak, and second-team Times Leader selection in setter Banessa Flores. “Right now, we want to improve on that overall record. That starts by working hard each day in practice, and being a good teammate on and off the court,” she said.

Hanover Area

Head coach: Bill Kane

Last year’s record: 3-14

Key losses: Toni Elick, Raeann Walton

Key returners: Chyanne Fine, Shalianna Rios, Hannah Eck

Outlook: While Kane did lose key hitter Toni Elick from last year’s 3-14 squad, the coach does return a roster that includes 10 seniors. Returning is 6-foot senior middle Chyanne Fine and 6-foot-1 middle Olivia Fedor. “Chemistry is what builds a team, and we understand that,” Kane said. “Our goal is always the same, and that’s to qualify for the postseason. If we are able to play to our potential, and we can build that chemistry, I believe that we will be able to obtain our goals.”

Hazleton Area

Head coach: Greg Cechak

Last year’s record: 11-6

Key losses: Katie Landis, Christie Kaschak

Key returners: Alivia Roberts, Julia Rudenko, Brianna Woznicki, Maggie Bono

Outlook: If you’re looking for a dark horse in the WVC in 2014, Hazleton Area might be that team. Cechak graduated only two starters off a team that lost to Delaware Valley in the District 2 3A championship. “I think that with the experience this team has, we have the chance to do some great things this season. We have experience in playing time and playing in big games. Last year, we grew each set and I think the girls began to understand that you have to play hard no matter who the opponent may be. We believe that we really have a chance to make an impact on the district and conference this season.”

Holy Redeemer

Head coach: Jack Kablick

Last year’s record: 17-0

Key losses: Nicole Slavoski, Alyssa Platko, Casey Carty, Lexie Evans

Key returners: Lauren Slavoski, Courtney Kijek, Kaya Swanek

Outlook: Like always at Holy Redeemer, it’s always about reloading and the Royals seem to have the pieces in place to make another strong push for the Wyoming Valley Conference and District 2 Class 2A championships. Redeemer did lose all-state player Nicole Slavoski and key contributors like Alyssa Platko, Casey Carty and Lexie Evans. But returning is junior Lauren Slavoski, a power hitter. “The league is always tough, and it’s going to be a challenge,” Kablick said. “This is the most inexperienced team we’ve had since Holy Redeemer was formed. But they are a talented group of athletes.”


Head coach: Kirsten Raymond

Last year’s record: 12-5

Key losses: Kahli Kotulski, Amy Williams, Maria Chinikaylo, Brittany Acevado

Key returners: Danae Sutliff, Lexi Oplinger

Outlook: Raymond takes over the Black Knight program from Kevin Koziol. Last year, Lehman qualified for the District 2 Class 2A playoffs before losing in four sets to Crestwood in the quarterfinals. Raymond loses four key players on that squad, but she does return Lexi Oplinger and Times Leader selection Danae Sutliff. “I’ve been around the program as an assistant, so I’m pretty familiar with the girls,” Raymond said. “We’ve sat down and talked about goals for this season. Right now, we want to continue to take the right steps each practice, each day and each game. Hopefully, if we can do that, we’ll be able to achieve those goals. We are looking forward to the challenge of playing in a competitive league.”


Head coach: Mary Mushock

Last year’s record: 2-15

Key losses: Vichon Wilborn

Key returners: Angela Moses, Gina Strillacci

Outlook: A season after winning just two games, Meyers is hoping to improve on that mark. The Mohawks did graduate six seniors, but return five juniors off last year’s team. The early season road, though, could prove to be difficult. Meyers has Nanticoke, Tunkhannock, Valley West and Delaware Valley in its first four matches. All four qualified for the postseason in 2013.

MMI Prep

Head coach: Shawn S. Evans

Last year’s record: 7-10

Key losses: Kristen Purcell, Paige Darrow, Alexis Williams

Key returners: Emily Bogansky, Dana Carrato, Desiree Dinko, Shaelynn Heft

Outlook: The smallest team in the Wyoming Valley Conference, the road toward returning to the playoffs for a fourth straight season could be a rocky one. Evans lost a lot of talent off last year’s squad, including PIAA District 2 Scholarship Athletic award winner and school MVP Kristen Purcell. “We are looking forward to a great season,” Evans said. “We are in a rebuilding year, but we have a small core back that helped us to reach our goal of again returning to the district playoffs. There is a renewed energy to obtain that goal again. We look forward to competing against teams in the Wyoming Valley Conference and Schuylkill League.”


Head coach: Debbie Gavin

Last year’s record: 11-6

Key losses: Taylor Briggs, Hunter Watson

Key returners: Lauren Rinehimer, Celeste Deslich, Deanna Thomas, Abbey Zaykoski

Outlook: Veteran head coach Gavin returns almost her entire team from a 2013 squad that qualified for the district playoffs and pushed No. 2 seed North Pocono for three sets. While Gavin did lose all-league selection Taylor Briggs, she returns six – including Lauren Rinehimer, who can play all positions. “We have to clean up some of those mistakes that we made last season. We have a lot of experience back. We are OK with hitters, and our setters are doing well. We’ve made good use of our feeder program. I like this team. I’m pleased with the leadership, and I’m happy with the way they practice. They came in ready to play. If you talk with the players, you can tell they have some high expectations. We just want them to focus on one match at a time.”

North Pocono

Head coach: Chris Summa

Last year’s record: 15-2

Key losses: Emily Cook, Amanda Hall, Mallory Mokay

Key returners: Mallorie Deschaine, Kaitlyn Ivanoff

Outlook: It’s a bittersweet scene for head coach Summa in Lackawanna County. The Trojans lost powerful outside hitter Emily Cook and all-everything setter Amanda Hall. But Summa does return Mallorie Deschaine, a strong hitter that will surely contend for conference MVP honors in 2014. A year after reaching the district 2A final, Summa knows the challenge of trying to dethrone Redeemer. “We continue to learn each day, and hope our leadership can help us develop as a consistent program.”

Pittston Area

Head coach: Danielle McAndrew

Last year’s record: 1-16

Key losses: Jackie Rabender, Kaitlyn Simyan, Irene Magdon

Key returners: Kirsten Durling, Anna McDermott, Marly O’Brien

Outlook: McAndrew returns back to the sidelines to lead Pittston Area, hoping to improve on just one victory in 2013. The Patriots lost all-everything athlete Jackie Rabender, who could play most positions on the court. Also gone is the strong leadership from players like Kaitlyn Simyan and Irene Magdon. Pittston Area will rely on Kirsten Durling, who had a strong junior campaign for McAndrew. Like Meyers, the early-season schedule isn’t favorable. The Patriots open up with a senior-laden Hanover Area squad, and then have a matchup with multiple-time district champion Holy Redeemer and always-strong Crestwood.


Head coach: Don Davis

Last year’s record: 12-5

Key losses: Erin Smith, Michelle Goodwin,

Key returners: Alison Wetherbee, Amanda Hardy

Outlook: Davis returns for his third stint as head coach of the Tigers. He coached at the school from 1980-1995 and 1999-2004. He takes over the program from Mick Goodwin, who led the Tigers back to the district playoffs last season. Davis does have his work cut out, losing 11 seniors from that team. “We are young and inexperienced,” Davis said. “We are really going to need Alison and Amanda to lead us, and play a key role for us this season. We are still looking at certain spots, like our setter. I’m glad to be back, though. This is a good group of kids. We just have to continue to develop as the year goes along.”

Wyoming Area

Head coach: Nick Diaco

Last year’s record: 10-7

Key losses: Samantha Acacio, Audrey Hiedacavage, Mallory Bohan

Key returners: Jess Sorick, Rachel Solano, Nicole Wright

Outlook: Coming off a season where Wyoming Area qualified for the District 2 Class 2A playoffs, second-year head coach Diaco does lose key personnel – including all-league selection Sam Acacio. That powerful swing could come from promising junior Jess Sorick. “Sam kind of took Jess under her wing last season,” Diaco said. “I’m happy with our team. We have a lot of returning players with varsity experience coming back this season. Last year, we started three underclassmen who all played key roles on our team. The league is always tough, but we are ready for the challenge.”

Wyoming Valley West

Head coach: R.J. Tomascik

Last year’s record: 8-9

Key losses: Trudi Casier, Savannah Piazza

Key returners: Gavyn Giza, Kayley Carey

Outlook: Entering his third season as Spartan head coach, Tomascik has high hopes for the 2014 squad. “When I started here, we were near the bottom of the league, and we were right in the middle last season. This year, we are hoping to be in the top third.” Of course, it helps out the cause when you return a player like Gavyn Giza, a first-team league selection who led the WVC in blocks and was top 5 in kills. “She is so dependable,” Tomascik said. “And this year, she’s going to be in the whole game. She’s developed into a nice all-around player. Honestly, I believe that this could be a good year for us. I expect us to take a big step forward.”

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