West Valley Preps girls volleyball preview - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

West Valley Preps girls volleyball preview

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Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 11:24 am

The girls volleyball season opened this week with Cactus, Centennial, Deer Valley Ironwood, Liberty, Mountain Ridge, Shadow Ridge and Valley Vista all grabbing their first wins of the season.

West Valley Preps asked each coach to assess their teams heading into the season. Their answers are below:

Cactus Cobras

Division III Section III

Coach: Lindsay Walls (seventh year)

2010 Record: 19-3 (Lost in 4A-II semifinals to Seton Catholic)

Who are your top returning players? Karly Beer, Natasha Lucero, Chelsea Thompson.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? Kaylyn Miller (MB). She doesn’t jump high but she finds a way to block and get kills.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? They are so very hard working. They will literally injure themselves to not let a ball drop.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? I’m looking forward to seeing our “region” teams (Greenway, Thunderbird, etc.) and seeing what the new conferences are like.

Centennial Coyotes

Division I Section III

Coach: Carly Bourland (12th year)

2010 Record: 28-7 (Lost in 5A-II semifinals to Scottsdale Horizon)

Who are your top returning players? Maddy Mertz, Ginger Jarchow, Sam Hedlund and Leticia Rivera.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? Ginger Jarchow. She didn’t get much playing time last year but she is finding her groove.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have always focused on passing and defense as our “bread and butter.” This team is no exception. They are a very quick, scrappy team.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We look at each team as a different obstacle on our way to the state tournament. We are anxious to start seeing what other teams have to offer.

Deer Valley Skyhawks

Division II Section I

Coach: Jackie Wallace (sixth year)

2010 Record: 30-11 (Lost in 5A-II first round to Valley Vista)

Who are your top returning players? Amanda Conlin MH; Victoria Ledesma OH; Brittany Bruning OH; Courtney Brown OH; Megan Cruz Libero.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? I think when teams look at my outside hitter, Victoria Ledesma, they underestimate her. She has such a passion for the game and is one of our most versatile players.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Team camaraderie.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? I’m looking forward to playing Ironwood again this year and to compete against some of the new teams we haven’t faced before.

Dysart Demons

Division II Section I

Coach: Christina Lukkason (first year)

2010 Record: 2-14

Ironwood Eagles

Division II Section I

Coach: Kathy Wilson (10th year)

2010 Record: 25-12 (Lost in 5A-II quarterfinals to Ironwood Ridge)

Who are your top returning players? Sara Baumgartner, senior, MB; Megan Powers, junior, MB; Brooke Bunker, Senior, S; Sydney Bunker, Sophomore, S.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team and why? I think we have several underestimated players as we are a very young team. I have two freshmen and three sophomores who I think will make a great impact.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? This team communicates very well and their chemistry is outstanding. They all have a common goal and are willing to work toward it together. They work extremely hard day in and day out.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We are looking forward to all of the teams on our schedule. With the new alignment, most of the teams we are playing are new to us so we don’t really know what to expect. That makes for an exciting season as every match will be an anticipated one.

Liberty Lions

Division II Section III

Coach: Courtney Johnson (sixth year)

2010 Record: 17-1 (lost in 4A-II finals to Seton Catholic)

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? Our team is made up of 11 girls and only five are returners. So, we have six new girls to the team and two are brand new to the program. I couldn’t really tell you who the most underestimated player(s) are. Last year we were underestimated as a team and we overcame that stigma and made it to the state finals. It benefited us to be underestimated because we just had to prove ourselves even more.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? The team is made up of a solid upper class, with four seniors and seven juniors. They are all hard-working girls on the court and in the classroom, who get along and put the team before themselves. On occasion some might have bad games or practices but when you wheel them back in and remind them to have fun and play because they love the game, they get back into check real quick. Plus, the girls understand that a drama-free season always leads to a fun, competitive season.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We are looking forward to playing all the teams on our schedule. With the new divisions and sections, most of the teams on our schedule are new faces for us. Of course, we get excited about any district school and this year we play four — Kellis, Peoria, Sunrise and Cactus. All these teams should be very competitive and tough for us, but we are going to give it our all. As for the other teams on our schedule, we are as equally excited and we are looking forward to playing everyone.

Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions

Division I Section III

Coach: Jen McGauley (first year)

2010 Record: 14-13 (lost in 5A-I first round to Desert Ridge).

Who are your top returning players? We return nine players from last year. Of those girls five were key players. Megan Ryan, senior outside hitter; Lindsay Skadeland, junior RS; Blake Beecroft, junior, middle; Kami Zollar, junior, middle; Rachel Parsons, junior, setter. We have a team of 14 with only four seniors this year. It is going to be a fun next two years with this bunch.  

Who is the most underestimated player on your team and why? I do not underestimate any of my players, they are all so talented and I think we will surprise teams. Each practice is a new competition for a starting spot. I think most people will be surprised by twin sisters — juniors Maddison Witt, middle, and McKenna Witt, outside hitter. Maddison is just coming off of an ankle sprain.  

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? The girls have been playing together for quite a few years in club and school, they get a long really well and have an unbelievable chemistry. But, the hands down best thing about this team is how athletic they all are.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We are looking forward to Oct. 4, the Dig Pink game against Sandra Day O’Connor. I think our toughest games will come at the end of season against Desert Vista and Desert Mountain. We are playing a bunch of new teams this year that we have not faced before, teams like Centennial, Pinnacle, Liberty and Millennium.  

Peoria Panthers

Division II Section I

Coach: Michelle Stoffey (third year)

2010 Record: 15-11 (Lost in 4A-I first round to Sabino)

Who are your top returning players? Bailey Nations, Brittany Dobson and Ellie Sausedo.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? Jordyn Cosgrove — she’s very consistent, quiet and is easily overlooked but her play speak volumes. She does what needs to get done. She contributes and is willing to do whatever it takes.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? “Togetherness,” this team’s dynamic is phenomenal, they work together very well, there are no egos. Each player has a role, knows their role and respects each other’s roles. The respect these girls have for each other on and off the court is a huge asset.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We are looking forward to our entire season, we have several tough matches the girls are excited for, and they are ready for the challenge this season will bring. We have never and will never take any team for granted. We respect all the teams we have on our schedule and will practice hard for each one as it’s the toughest match we have.

Shadow Ridge Stallions

Division III Section III

Coach: Jamee Henry (third year)

2010 Record: 8-13

Who are your top returning players? Since this is our first year with seniors at Shadow, all but two of my varsity players from last year are returning. Some of the key players returning include middle blocker Tanaiya Simon. She is a wall at the net and lets very little pass through defensively. Cassie Wood is also a key player as she is our main setter at this point in time. My girls have played with each other for the last three years so Cassie knows where each girl likes the ball to make them most successful. Taylor Spiegelhoff is also one of our top returners. She is our libero and can dig anything off the floor. She moves unbelievably well and always seems to be where the ball is. I am very blessed to have kept all of these girls together for the most part for these three years, so they are all valuable returners to me. A new addition to the varsity team this season is Madi Ritter. She is a powerful outside hitter with amazing game sense. Her hustle and leadership skills will benefit us tremendously this season.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? I think Alma Murrillo would be our most underestimated player. She does not seem like she’d be overpowering or super quick, but her serves are amazing and can turn a game around in a matter of minutes.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Seven of the 10 girls on my roster have been with me and playing each other since the school opened three years ago. They had a very successful junior varsity year in 2009 going 15-1 and expected the same success when we moved up to the varsity level last year. They did not realize the unrealistic nature of that dream, but are ready to be just as successful this year after a season at the varsity level last year.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? Cactus will definitely be tough this year. They do well every year and go deep into the state tournament. District school Valley Vista also had a great year last year and will be tough as well.

Sunrise Mountain Mustangs

Division II Section III

Coach: Tony Gale (fourth year)

2010 Record: 22-15 (lost in 4A-I quarterfinals to Cactus Shadows)

Who are your key returning players? Alyssa Baca, OPP, junior; Dina Buzimkic, OH, sophomore; Emily Clark, S, senior; Brianne Glidewell, OH, senior; Kemrie Nash, MH, junior.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Athletic, work ethic.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? The game we’re most looking forward to is Liberty because we’re trying to build a rivalry. I fully expect that we will be a very competitive team. We have a very challenging schedule that will test my players but I believe in my players and I feel we will have a very successful season.

Valley Vista Monsoon

Division I Section I

Coach: Tonya Lee (fourth season)

2010 record last season? 12-7 (lost in 5A-II second round to Desert Mountain — first playoff appearance in school history)

Who are your top returning players? Our top returning players are going to be Aly Cater and Hope Daughtry. Both Aly and Hope have been on varsity the past few years and they bring strong leadership and desire to a young team.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? The most underestimated player on our team this year is going to have to be our freshman setter, Asha Hart, who is stepping up for Jillisa Sweringen while she rehabs a torn ACL. Asha Hart is working very hard to fill our setters shoes from the years before. She is determined and very coachable and wants to help the team be as successful as possible.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? I think our best attribute this season will be that we have a strong core group that has been successful together, and that they want to get to that place again quickly.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We are definitely looking forward to playing Millennium this year as well as Centennial. Both teams have amazing coaching and will give us a great challenge.

Willow Canyon Wildcats

Division I Section I

Coach: Katelynn Paine (first season).

2010 Record: 0-16.

Who are your top returning player? Logan Carpenter.

Who is the most underestimated player on your team? I believe my entire team will be underestimated this season because of last season’s record. We have worked very hard to turn the program around for this season.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? They have really become a family over the offseason. We have the same goals and share a desire to do great things this season.

Which teams on this season’s schedule are you most looking forward to and will be the toughest? We always look forward to playing our rival school — Valley Vista.

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