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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged "Volleyball"
Posted: August 21st, 2013

Seneca Bobcats
Coach: Lauren Smith (1st season)
2012 overall record: 3-15
2012 region record: 3-11 (tied for sixth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Katie Teed, Alexa Murphy, Kristi Izbicki
Top returning players: Julia Young, Cassi Walberg, Alexa Snarski, Bree Hibbler
Assistant coach: Scott May
Outlook: Seneca will be under new leadership as Lauren Smith takes over as head coach. Smith has been an assistant coach in Wattsburg and knows the program well. Seneca will have to fill some holes left by Katie Teed, Alexa Murphy and Kristi Izbicki. Murphy and Izbicki graduated in the spring and Teed has decided to play soccer instead. The Bobcats have some experience back in Julia Young, Cassi Walberg, Alexa Snarski and Bree Hibbler. Snarski is back at setter, while Young and Walberg are middle hitters. Hibbler is back as a back row passer. Seneca could also receive immediate contributions from new players Carilyn White, Andrea Evanoff, Hannah Erichson, Shaela Kemp and Masen Hartner. Erichson and Kemp are setters, while Evanoff, White and Hartner are outside hitters. Seneca has a young team and will likely go through some struggles in adapting to a new system and coach. However, those growing pains could pay off next year with a strong set of juniors on this year’s team. The Bobcats will need to build team chemistry right away and developing the program could be more important than winning matches.

Schedule
September
4 Mercyhurst Prep 7:15
9 Harbor Creek 7:15
10 Girard* 7:15
12 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:15
16 at Union City 7:15
17 Fairview* 7:15
19 Iroquois* 7:15
24 North East* 7:15
26 General McLane* 7:15
October
1 at Northwestern* 7:15
3 at Girard* 7:15
8 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:15
10 at Fairview* 7:15
15 Iroquois* 7:15
17 at North East* 7:15
21 at Harbor Creek 7:15
22 at General McLane* 7:15
24 Northwestern* 7:15
*Region 5 matches

Wednesday: Sharon and Sharpsville

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 20th, 2013

Saegertown Panthers
Coach: Brian Shoop (5th season, 38-18)
2012 overall record: 11-5
2012 region record: 10-4 (third)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Kennedy Catholic in four games in the District 10 Class A quarterfinals before losing to Maplewood in three games in the semifinals.
Top players lost: Courtney Lilly, Rachel DiBartolomeo, Arianna Hanley
Top returning players: Mackensie Garris, Sarah Allen, Tori Eckart
Assistant coach: Jaclyn McCoy
Outlook: Saegertown lost one of its most athletic classes in recent history to graduation. The Panthers will have to reload after the loss of three all-region players in Courtney Lilly, Rachel DiBartolomeo and Arianna Hanley. Lilly and Hanley were voted to the all-region first team as outside hitters, while DiBartolomeo was voted to the first team as a setter. The Panthers have some holes to fill not only in talent but leadership as well. Saegertown returns three starters in Mackensie Garris, Sarah Allen and Tori Eckart. Garris is a solid outside hitter, while Allen leads the defense as a libero and Eckart is a talented middle hitter. The three will be counted on to lead a young team that comes from a strong program. Saegertown needs a new setter, a new leader on defense and a few girls to step up at the net. The Panthers have excelled as a ball control team but needs to improve at the net. The Panthers are in a tough region with traditional powers Cochranton and Maplewood. Saegertown has held its own against the best in Crawford County and will need several younger players to step up to keep its high level of play.

Schedule
September
10 Rocky Grove* 7:15
12 Cochranton* 7:15
17 at Maplewood* 7:15
19 at Cambridge Springs* 7:15
24 at Union City* 7:15
26 Eisenhower* 7:15
October
1 at Youngsville* 7:15
3 at Rocky Grove* 7:15
8 at Cochranton* 7:15
10 Maplewood* 7:15
15 Cambridge Springs* 7:15
17 Union City* 7:15
22 at Eisenhower* 7:15
24 Youngsville* 7:15
*Region 2 matches

Later today: Seneca

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 19th, 2013

Rocky Grove Orioles
Coach: Rachel Wargo (1st season)
2012 overall record: 0-16
2012 region record: 0-14 (eighth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Shauna Corner, Lilly Rembold
Top returning players: TBA
Assistant coach: Mike Stevenson
Outlook: Rocky Grove is starting over with a new coach in Rachel Wargo, who is excited to take over. The Orioles were placed in a brutal Class A region with the best of Crawford County. Rocky Grove will come in with a brand-new system and will need to sort out positions and roles for each player. The Orioles have had 14 players in camp each day and most girls will get a chance to play each match.

Schedule
September
5 Oil City 7:15
10 at Saegertown* 7:15
12 Eisenhower* 7:15
16 Commodore Perry 7:15
17 at Youngsville* 7:15
19 Cochranton* 7:15
24 at Maplewood* 7:15
26 Union City* 7:15
October
1 Cambridge Springs* 7:15
3 Saegertown* 7:15
8 at Eisenhower* 7:15
10 Youngsville* 7:15
15 at Cochranton* 7:15
17 Maplewood* 7:15
22 at Union City* 7:15
24 at Cambridge Springs* 7:15
*Region 2 matches

Tuesday: Saegertown and Seneca

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 19th, 2013

Reynolds Raiders
2012 overall record: 5-11
2012 region record: 4-10 (sixth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.

Note: A preview was not submitted by the head coach.

Schedule
September
3 Mercer 7:15
10 Kennedy Catholic* 7:15
12 at Sharpsville* 7:15
17 West Middlesex* 7:15
19 at Jamestown* 7:15
23 at Sharon 7:15
24 Commodore Perry* 7:15
26 Farrell* 7:15
October
1 at Lakeview* 7:15
3 at Kennedy Catholic* 7:15
8 Sharpsville* 7:15
10 at West Middlesex* 7:15
15 Jamestown* 7:15
17 at Commodore Perry* 7:15
22 at Farrell* 7:15
24 Lakeview* 7:15
*Region 1 matches

Later today: Rocky Grove

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 19th, 2013

Oil City Oilers
2012 overall record: 2-12
2012 region record: 0-12 (seventh)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.

Note: A preview was not submitted by the head coach.

Schedule
September
5 at Rocky Grove 7:15
12 Meadville* 7:15
17 at Titusville* 7:15
19 at Corry* 7:15
24 at Conneaut* 7:15
26 Franklin* 7:15
October
1 at Warren* 7:15
8 at Meadville* 7:15
10 Titusville* 7:15
15 Corry* 7:15
17 Conneaut* 7:15
22 at Franklin* 7:15
24 Warren* 7:15
28 at Sharon 7:15
*Region 4 matches

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 19th, 2013

Northwestern Wildcats
Coach: Cheryl Niedermeyer (1st season)
2012 overall record: 3-11
2012 region record: 3-11 (sixth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Carolyn Kaufer, Nicole Krahe, Millie Robinson, Sarah Morrison, Alyssa Inman
Top returning players: Kristen Gordon, Madelyn Zurinsky, Courtney Traut, Billi Jo Lavely
Assistant coaches: Sadie Kuritz, Kara Gonzales, Anna Sabol
Outlook: Northwestern will be under new leadership this season as Cheryl Niedermeyer takes over as head coach. The Wildcats have struggled to rebuild in a loaded region of Class AA powers. Northwestern will have to fill in some holes left by the graduation of Carolyn Kaufer, Nicole Krahe, Millie Robinson, Sarah Morrison and Alyssa Inman. Kaufer was voted to the all-region second team as an outside hitter. Krahe leaves a hole at outside hitter, along with Robinson at middle hitter, Morrison at setter and Inman at defensive specialist. Northwestern returns Kristen Gordon, Madelyn Zurinsky, Courtney Traut and Billi Jo Lavely. Gordon is back at libero, while Traut is a setter, Zurinsky is a middle hitter and Lavely is an outside hitter. The Wildcats could also receive contributions from new players Arianna Yunik, Zoe Mangold, Haylea Cunningham, Jessie Pickens, Teresa Wheeler, Anna Cook and Brittany Miniaci. Northwestern has a strong defensive game back this fall and the Wildcats’ success could depend on developing their offense. Winning matches is always important but coming together as a team and staying competitive will be key for Northwestern this season.

Schedule
September
10 at General McLane* 7:15
12 at Iroquois* 7:15
17 North East* 7:15
19 Fairview* 7:15
24 Girard* 7:15
26 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:15
October
1 Seneca* 7:15
3 General McLane* 7:15
8 Iroquois* 7:15
10 at North East* 7:15
15 at Fairview* 7:15
17 at Girard* 7:15
22 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:15
24 at Seneca* 7:15
*Region 5 matches

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 19th, 2013

North East Grapepickers
Coach: Sherry Elchynski (28th season, 259-164 in region play)
2012 overall record: 8-6
2012 region record: 8-6 (fourth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Miranda Gipe, Victoria Alcorn, Rachel Miller, Madi Turiczek
Top returning players: Bailey Penrod, Rayna Hollarn, Danielle Barnes, Gabby Malta, Sydney Sosnowski
Assistant coaches: Dan Hering, Bob North, Amy North
Outlook: North East seems to be getting closer and closer to reaching the District 10 Class AA playoffs. The Grapepickers will have plenty of experience back, but they will have some big holes to fill in camp. Miranda Gipe, Victoria Alcorn, Rachel Miller and Madi Turiczek are all gone to graduation. Gipe led the team in kills last fall and was voted to the all-region first team as a middle hitter, while Alcorn was a second-team libero. Miller was voted the team most outstanding player after leading the team in aces and digs and Turiczek is a big loss at right side hitter. The four will be tough to replace, but North East has five lettermen back in Bailey Penrod, Rayna Hollarn, Danielle Barnes, Gabby Malta and Sydney Sosnowski. Penrod has dealt with injuries for the past three years and is looking to have a big senior year as an outside hitter. Hollarn is back as a setter and holds the school record for assists in a game, while Barnes is back on defense. Malta is back at right side hitter and Sosnowski, a junior, is back after leading the team in blocks. The ‘Pickers could also receive contributions right away from Becca Cole, Morgan Fisher, Mackenzie Schwab, Taylor Woodworth and Mikaela Yori along with several incoming freshmen. North East needs several hitters to step up this year but otherwise could be competitive in Region 5. The ‘Pickers need some help from new players but they will be a tough team to beat this fall.

Schedule
September
10 Fairview* 7:15
12 General McLane* 7:15
17 at Northwestern* 7:15
19 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:15
24 at Seneca* 7:15
26 Girard* 7:15
October
1 at Iroquois* 7:15
3 at Fairview* 7:15
8 at General McLane* 7:15
10 Northwestern* 7:15
15 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:15
17 Seneca* 7:15
22 at Girard* 7:15
24 Iroquois* 7:15
*Region 5 matches

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 17th, 2013

Mercyhurst Prep Lakers
2012 overall record: 11-5
2012 region record: 8-4 (third)
2012 playoff results: Lost to McDowell in the District 10 Class AAA championship.

Note: A preview was not submitted by the head coach.

Schedule
September
3 at Eisenhower 7:15
4 at Seneca 7:15
5 Warren 7:15
10 at Harbor Creek* 7:15
12 at Hickory 7:15
17 Villa Maria* 7:15
19 Central Tech* 7:15
24 McDowell* 7:15
26 at East* 7:15
October
1 Strong Vincent* 7:15
3 Harbor Creek* 7:15
10 at Villa Maria* 7:15
15 at Central Tech* 7:15
17 at McDowell* 7:15
22 East* 7:15
24 at Strong Vincent* 7:15
*Region 6 matches

Later today: North East

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 16th, 2013

Mercer Mustangs
Coach: Daniel Davis (1st season)
2012 overall record: 7-11
2012 region record: 2-10 (sixth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Amanda Cameron, Anna Conner, Heather Woods
Top returning players: Nikki Redmond, Katie Zellman, Melissa Shoemaker
Assistant coaches: Kimberly Moose, Aaron Christy
Outlook: Mercer will be under new direction this season as longtime assistant coach Daniel Davis takes over the program. Davis was an assistant coach at Mercer from 2001-12. The Lady M’s have some holes to fill as libero Amanda Cameron, middle blocker Anna Conner and setter Heather Woods are gone to graduation. Conner was voted to the all-region first team, while Woods was voted to the second team. Mercer has some experience back in Nikki Redmond, Katie Zellman and Melissa Shoemaker. Redmond and Zellman are returning senior outside hitters, while Shoemaker, a junior, is back as a defensive specialist. Davis is looking to start over and every player is expected to compete for starting time in camp. The Lady M’s will need to buy into a new system and a new coach in order to rebuild the team and compete in a tough region.

Schedule
September
3 at Reynolds 7:15
5 West Middlesex 7:15
9 Commodore Perry 7:15
10 at Greenville* 7:15
12 Sharon* 7:15
16 Jamestown 7:15
17 at Grove City* 7:15
19 at Hickory* 7:15
24 Wilmington* 7:15
25 Kennedy Catholic 7:15
October
1 Slippery Rock* 7:15
3 Greenville* 7:15
8 at Sharon* 7:15
10 Grove City* 7:15
14 at Commodore Perry 7:15
15 Hickory* 7:15
17 at Wilmington* 7:15
24 at Slippery Rock* 7:15
*Region 3 matches

Saturday: Mercyhurst Prep, North East

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 16th, 2013

Meadville Bulldogs
Coach: Tammy Webber (7th season)
2012 overall record: 18-3
2012 region record: 11-1 (co-champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Harbor Creek in the District 10 Class AA quarterfinals and Conneaut in the semifinals. Meadville lost to Fort LeBoeuf in the District 10 championship and beat Somerset in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. Meadville then lost to Mars in the PIAA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Monica Jackson, Leah Jones, Mylinda Hartnett, Christy Espy
Top returning players: Katie Newman, Cadi McCoy, Ellen Mook, Brittany Morris
Assistant coach: Ron Newman
Outlook: Meadville had a successful 2012 season, including an appearance in the PIAA Class AA playoffs. The Bulldogs will need to find some new hitters to repeat that success. Meadville lost all-star outside hitters Monica Jackson and Leah Jones to graduation. Libero Mylinda Hartnett also graduated along with defensive specialist Christy Espy. Jones and Jackson were voted to the all-region first team and Jones was voted the Region 4 player of the year. Hartnett is another all-region selection gone to graduation as a second-team libero. The Bulldogs return starters Katie Newman, Cadi McCoy, Ellen Mook and Brittany Morris. Newman was voted to the all-region second team as a setter and McCoy is a second-team middle hitter. Mook returns at middle hitter and Morris is back at outside hitter. Meadville has some experience back but replacing Jackson, Jones and Harnett will be tough to replace. The Bulldogs could also receive contributions from new players Jordan Lynn, Emily Allen, Alysha Kelyman and Mallory Jackson. Meadville is in a brutal region with Conneaut and Corry and if the Bulldogs can’t find outside hitters to step up, they could be in for a tough season. Meadville’s success might be determined on how quickly they can build chemistry and come together as a team.

Schedule
September
3 at McDowell 7:15
5 General McLane 7:15
10 Warren* 7:15
12 at Oil City* 7:15
17 Conneaut* 7:15
19 Grove City 7:15
24 Corry* 7:15
26 Titusville* 7:15
October
1 at Franklin* 7:15
3 at Warren* 7:15
7 at General McLane 7:15
8 Oil City* 7:15
10 at Conneaut* 7:15
14 at Corry* 7:15
22 at Titusville* 7:15
24 Franklin* 7:15
*Region 4 matches

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 16th, 2013

McDowell Trojans
Coach: Jamie Soboleski (11th season, 145-19)
2012 overall record: 14-4
2012 region record: 12-0 (champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Mercyhurst Prep to win the District 10 Class AAA championship before losing to North Allegheny in four games in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Danielle Hayes, Caryn Kopay, Hailey Wilwohl
Top returning players: Maggie Murray, Ashley Yost, Hannah Washek, Bailey Burns, Kirsten Platz, Leah Vensel, Alex Zielinski
Assistant coach: Diana Orloff
Outlook: Leadership will be the biggest need in camp this season for the Trojans. McDowell has plenty of talent back but the graduation losses of Danielle Hayes, Caryn Kopay and Hailey Wilwohl is big from a talent and leadership standpoint. Hayes was named all-state, all-district and was voted the Region 6 player of the year and all-region first team. Kopay was voted to the all-region first team as an outside hitter and Wilwohl was a first-team libero. With three all-region selections gone, the Trojans turns to several talented players back, including Maggie Murray, Ashley Yost, Hannah Washek, Bailey Burns, Kirsten Platz, Leah Vensel and Alex Zielinski. Yost was voted to the all-region first team as an outside hitter and Vensel is a first-team setter. Murray was voted to the all-region second team as a right side hitter and Platz is another returning starter at middle hitter. McDowell could also receive immediate contributions from new players Jordan Sturm and Bry Burns. The Trojans have plenty of talent back this year but chemistry and leadership will be important. McDowell has been the standard for Class AAA volleyball in District 10 and that should continue this year. McDowell is primed to repeat as the D-10 Class AAA champion and make another PIAA playoff run.

Schedule
September
3 Meadville 7:15
5 at Conneaut 7:15
10 at Strong Vincent* 7:15
12 at Central Tech* 7:15
19 Harbor Creek* 7:15
24 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:15
26 at Villa Maria* 7:15
October
1 East* 7:15
3 Strong Vincent* 7:15
8 Central Tech* 7:15
15 at Harbor Creek* 7:15
17 Mercyhurst Prep* 7:15
21 Sharpsville 7:15
22 Villa Maria* 7:15
24 at East* 7:15
*Region 6 matches

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: August 16th, 2013

Maplewood Tigers
Coach: Sheila Bancroft (28th season)
2012 overall record: 17-1
2012 region record: 14-0 (champion)
2012 playoff results: Defeated Saegertown and Sharpsville to win the District 10 Class A championship. Maplewood then beat West Shamokin in four games in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs before losing to Clarion in four games in the quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Kendra Turner, Emily Merritt, Jaricka Simmerman, Elizabeth Miller, Laura Kirk, Ashley Myers
Top returning players: Madalyn Nicols, Jessa Covine
Outlook: Maplewood has one of the strongest girls volleyball programs in District 10, but the Tigers have some work to do in training camp to defend their District 10 Class A championship. Maplewood was hit hard by graduation, losing Kendra Turner, Emily Merritt, Elizabeth Miller, Laura Kirk, Taylor Smith and Ashley Myers. The Tigers also lost all-region setter Jaricka Simmerman as she transferred to Saegertown last year. Merritt was voted the Region 2 player of the year and was an all-region first-team libero, while Turner was a first-team middle hitter. Maplewood will rely on filling out the varsity lineup with younger players. The Tigers return some experience in Madalyn Nicols and Lauren Covine, but Maplewood will deal with plenty of inexperience on the varsity level. Nicols was voted to the all-region first team as an outside hitter last year, while Covine was a solid outside hitter as well. The Tigers’ program is strong enough where they are used to reloading each season instead of rebuilding. It could be tough at first, but Maplewood could turn into a dangerous team in the District 10 Class A playoffs.

Schedule
September
10 Eisenhower* 7:15
12 at Cambridge Springs* 7:15
17 Saegertown* 7:15
19 at Youngsville* 7:15
24 Rocky Grove* 7:15
26 at Cochranton* 7:15
October
1 at Union City* 7:15
3 at Eisenhower* 7:15
8 Cambridge Springs* 7:15
10 at Saegertown* 7:15
15 Youngsville* 7:15
17 at Rocky Grove* 7:15
22 Cochranton* 7:15
24 Union City* 7:15
*Region 2 matches

–Tom Reisenweber

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