After finishing last season as the overall Section III Class C champion, the Dolgeville volleyball team is looking to keep its crown this season.
To do so, the Blue Devils will have to overcome the loss of several key seniors from last year's team. Among the losses was Lora Allen, who was named the Section III Class C Player of the Year. First-team Section III all-star Charli-Rose Seeley also graduated along with Sam Dillenbeck, Courtney LaQuay, Brittany Keeler and Martika Frederick.
Allen and Seeley also were named first-team Center State Conference Division II all-stars, while LaQuay was named to the second team. Dillenbeck earned honorable-mention status for the Blue Devils.
Dolgeville’s Mikey Rubas (11) spikes a ball past St. Johnsville/Oppenheim-Ephratah’s Leann Knapp (4) while Lora Allen (6) and Courtney LaQuay look on during a Center State Conference match on Jan. 4. (The Leader-Herald)
The situation is similar for Oppenheim-Ephratah, which lost Kristen Lansburg, Ashleigh Copeland, Breanna Battisti, Dezire Jones and Sabryna Bentley from last year's team.
Lansburg and Copeland were named first-team Center State Conference Division IV all-stars, while Bentley was named to the second team.
Tuesday, November 27
Dolgeville at Mohawk, 6 p.m.
Thursday, November 29
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 1
Dolgeville Tournament, 9 a.m.
Oppenheim-Ephratah Tournament, 9 a.m.
Monday, December 3
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Mohawk, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, December 5
Adirondack at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Oppenheim-Ephratah at New York Mills, 7 p.m.
Friday, December 7
Dolgeville at Canastota, 7 p.m.
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Cooperstown, 7 p.m.
Monday, December 10
Owen D. Young at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 7 p.m.
Friday, December 14
Holland Patent at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 15
Dolgeville at Watertown Tournament, 9 a.m.
Monday, December 17
Herkimer at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Westmoreland, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, December 19
Dolgeville at Little Falls, 7 p.m.
Thursday, December 20
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Remsen, 7 p.m.
Friday, December 21
Dolgeville at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 7 p.m.
Thursday, December 27
Dolgeville at Canastota Tournament, 9 a.m.
Thursday, January 3
Dolgeville at Frankfort-Schuyler, 7 p.m.
Friday, January 4
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Old Forge, 7 p.m.
Monday, January 7
Dolgeville at Adirondack, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 9
Canastota at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Cooperstown at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 7 p.m.
Friday, January 11
Mohawk at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Owen D. Young, 7 p.m.
Monday, January 14
Mohawk at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 6 p.m.
Dolgeville at Holland Patent, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 16
New York Mills at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 6 p.m.
Frankfort-Schuyler at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Friday, January 18
Westmoreland at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 6 p.m.
Friday, January 25
Oppenheim-Ephratah at Brookfield, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, January 28
Little Falls at Dolgeville, 7 p.m.
Remsen at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, January 30
Old Forge at Oppenheim-Ephratah, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 2
Season Finale Tournament (Dolgeville), 9 a.m.
Though it lost several key players, Dolgeville returns coach Barb Allen, who was named Section III Class C Coach of the Year after leading the Blue Devils to a 19-2 overall record and the Section III title last season.
The sectional crown was the fourth in the last six seasons for Dolgeville.
Allen enters her 36th season with 545 career wins after her team won its 17th straight Center State Conference title last season, going 8-0 in league play.
In order to extend that streak, the Blue Devils will need to fill the voids left by Lora Allen and Seeley.
Lora Allen led the team with 118 aces, was second in kills with 152 and third in digs with 127 last season. She also had 268 assists. Lora Allen finished her career with 408 assists, 225 aces, 253 kills and 199 digs.
Seeley, an outside hitter, led the Lady Blue Devils in digs with 178, was second on the team in aces with 85 and was third in kills with 99 last season.
Though the losses are large ones, the cupboard is never bare in Dolgeville.
The Blue Devils return Ashley Mettler, Emily Young, Mikey Rubas, Chelsea Bennett, Lindsey Kopet, Rachel Randall and Emily Briggs from last year's team.
"We are taller than we have been in the past and are looking forward to seeing how we match up," coach Allen said.
Mettler, a senior, led the team in kills last season with 158, was third in aces with 69, fourth in digs with 112 and registered 180 assists.
Mettler also was named a first-team Section III and CSC Division II all-star.
Rubas was named a second-team Division II all-star last season, while Young earned honorable-mention status.
Rounding out the Dolgeville roster are newcomers Kiersten Manchester, Abby Mosenthin, Courtney Rachon, Annabelle Lee and Taylor Brandow.
"In practice, we are concentrating on our serving and being consistent," coach Allen said. "They are working hard."
Dolgeville opens the season tonight with a Center State Conference contest at Mohawk.
After going 11-8 overall last season and 4-4 in CSC play, Oppenheim-Ephratah also has big holes to fill in its lineup.
The largest were left by Lansburg and Copeland.
Lansburg finished last season with 83 aces, 96 kills and 128 digs, while Copeland had 63 digs, 58 kills and 55 aces.
The Lady Hawks had their season end in the Class C-2 quarterfinal with a loss at Morrisville-Eaton.
Oppenheim-Ephratah return three players from last year's team Leann Knapp, Ashley Hill and Hannah Taylor.
Hill and Knapp earned honorable-mention status on the CSC Division IV all-star team.
"We play with only three returners and we are relying on them to lead and help us be a successful team," Oppenheim-Ephratah coach Brittany Tomek said. "As the season progresses, we will be determined to make sectionals and grow as a team."
Rounding out the O-E rosters are newcomers MacKenzie Ferguston, Brittany Ambrosino, Alyssa Swartz, Katie Pabis, Grace Yezierski, Brittany Gallt and Shelby McCumber.
"The Lady Hawks are coming into the season with a new look. As a young, fresh team, we are looking to improve our skills and be competitive with ever team we play," Tomek said.
Oppenheim-Ephratah opens its season Thursday with a match at Dolgeville.