2017 High School Volleyball Preview: Championship drives

Broadalbin-Perth's Cassy Bown (5) strikes the ball as Gloversville's Abbey Johnson (14) goes up in an effort to block the attempt during a Foothills Council South Division action Sept. 6 at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

With a deep local talent pool, the area volleyball teams have reloaded to make runs at the Foothills Council and Western Athletic Conference crowns again this year, as well as making their presence known as contenders for Section II championships again this year.

Last year, the Galway Golden Eagles claimed to the Section II Class C championship and rode their postseason success all the way to a third place finish at the state championships.

The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots advanced to the Class B championship match before falling to state semifinalist Hudson Falls.

Foothills Council

The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots and Johnstown Lady Bills have both started their seasons off with perfect records and appear on track for another showdown to decide the Foothills Council Southern Division championship.

Although B-P lost Foothills Council first-team all-star Jordan Marshall to graduation as well as Michaela Egan, the Lady Patriots return first-team all-stars Madison Fariello and Eliana Fraser to the court.

They will have a talented group of veterans including Olivia Casey, Cassy Bown, Tesa Brody and Kayla Weaver.

“While we have a good nucleus back from last year, we still have a lot of inexperience,” 25-year veteran coach Mike Calvello said of the Lady Patriots. “We will take one match at a time and look to improve each day. We are faced with a tough league schedule so we will need to be prepared for each match and not overlook anyone.”

Johnstown figures to be in the mix for the Foothills title again this year and have gotten off to a 3-0 start to the season.

The Lady Bills are adjusting to the graduation of two-year starting setter and second team Foothills all-star Claire Guzielek, three-year varsity player Jordan Rose and the team’s leading blocker, Raina Danylak, as well as the solid all-around play of Amber Ward.

Seniors Alexys Hutchins and Abby Davis along with juniors Macenzie Ward, Janay Douglas, Jordyn Stoutner and Zoe Petrie return to the court this season for the Lady Bills.

“Johnstown’s roster is a mix of returning and new varsity players looking to improve their record within the competitive Foothills league,” Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said.

The Gloversville Huskies have been highly competitive in their first two matches this season but have come up on the short side of the final scores.

The Huskies lost only two players, Bri Port and Aspen Darling, to graduation and have a solid group of talented players returning to the court.

Back this season for Gloversville are Macey Salvione, Maddy Avery, Abbey Johnson, Jasmine Gonzalez, Lucy McCredie and Devina Eberts.

“We are hoping to improve on last year’s 6-8 record,” Gloversville coach Duane Hicks said.

Coach Chris Sherlock starts her 30th year of coaching the Amsterdam Lady Rams with five returning starters including defensive specialist Abby Saines, setter Alex Iglesia, libero Lyndsay Siudy and hitters Krystal DiCaprio and Alyssa Kuchis.

“We will be undersized but we are quick and athletic in all positions,” Sherlock said. “Our goal is to get back to sectionals.”

Western Athletic Conference

There are some new faces in the coaching ranks in the WAC this season.

Kayla Twardzik takes over the head coaching reins from Pat Mancini who retired after 20 years as head coach at Fonda-Fultonville, while Mike Houghton has stepped into the head coaching position formerly held for seven seasons by Stephanie Bartkus at Canajoharie.

Twardzik will have a solid group of returning players to build around including WAC West MVP Setter Hanna Moore, Allison Codi, Taylor Etherton and Jillian Wilder.

She also is familiar with the talent of the newcomers on the varsity after coaching Emilia Vardai-Davidson, Katelyn Babiarz, Kaitlyn Gray, Cassey Knowlton, Alexys Conti, Natalie Demitraszek, Julia Bagnardi and Peyton Zilles at the junior varsity level last season.

“This team has a tremendous work ethic and has such a great team chemistry on and off the court,” Twardzik said. “We are excited to see what we can accomplish together this season.”

Houghton is looking at a rebuilding year for the Canajoharie Lady Cougars but will have junior middle hitter and WAC West first-team all-star Kayla Mastin along with Sydney Shepard, Carlie Montanye and Jocelyn Mussmacher returning to provide leadership for the young group that has no senior players on the roster this season.

The Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers have been hit hard by graduation the past two years and lost a pair of second team outside hitters to graduation in Anganese Gomez and Alexis Hagadorn from last year’s squad.

“With only a few returners, we are looking to fill key roles that we have lost over the past two years in order to come out much strong that we did last year,” coach Lisa Trembley said.

Coach Trembley will look to returning players Vikki Wilday, Kaylee Atkins, Lauren Weinberger as well as newcomers Autumn Dodson, Bella Page, Sarah Paradiso, Cara Porter and Michelle Reese to fill those roles and improve on the team’s 2-13 record.

With the loss of WAC first team all-star Kyleigh Hayner and second team all-star Kendell Sweeney to graduation, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville coach Brittany Edwards will look to a large group of veteran players to step up and take charge.

“This year is all about team building and working on individual skills to improve as a team and be competitive in the WAC,” Edwards said.

Returning to the court for the Lady Wolves with an eye on making sectionals are Kenidee Oare, Meadow Arduini, Korina Richards, Erielle Guilleguitan, Sarah Carl, Gabrielle LaCoppola, Shaina Golladay, Hannah Ouderkirk and Kayla Hine.

The Mayfield Lady Panthers return nine varsity experienced players to the court after going through a rebuilding process last season.

Seniors Alis Hart and Katelyn Harrington return to the court for Mayfield along with junior captains Emily Mormando and Taylor Proctor, Mikayla Myers, Samantha Kent, Amy Laubenstein, Katie LaGrange and Isabelle Henderson.

“Last year was a building year with no seniors and only two returning players,” coach Eileen Rovito said. “With a years experience under our belts we are setting up to become a WAC and Class D contender once again. The team worked tremendously hard in the off season and hope to come up with a strong, competitive start to the 2017 season.”

The Section II Class C champion Galway Eagles will not get a chance to defend their championship as they will have dropped down to the Class D level this year.

However, their WAC championship is well within reach.

Despite losing first team Class C all-state first team player Britney Kenyon (201 kills, 70 blocks), serving specialist Brooke Martin (301 service points) and defensive specialist Casey Dunleavy to graduation, the Golden Eagles return six of its seven starters and three reserve players to the court.

Class C all-state first team hitter Lindsey Zawisa (458 kills, 33 blocks, 449 service points, 123 aces and 341 digs) and fifth team all-state player Emma Smith (201 kills, 56 blocks, 350 digs) lead the roster of potent returning players.

They are joined by Abbie Pritchard, Carlee Horstmann, Sydney Crawford, Hannah Bramer, Schuyler Arnold, Samantha Munchbach and Anne Ostrowski.

“The Eagles are hoping to build on the season they had last year,” second-year coach Mike Glenn said. “They know it’s a new season and it’s a fresh slate for everyone. The Lady Eagles are going to work as hard as they can and see how the season goes. Most of the league teams return most of their players from last season and have put in a lot of work in the off-season to improve, so it will be a fight almost every night in the league.”

H.S. Volleyball Schedule

Wednesday, September 13

South Glens Falls at Gloversville, 6 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Schuylerville, 6 p.m.

Johnstown at Hudson Falls, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 14

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville at Duanesburg, 4:30 p.m.

Amsterdam at Glens Falls, 6 p.m.

Fort Plain at Mekeel Christian, 6 p.m.

Friday, September 15

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville at Bishop Gibbons, 4:30 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Johnstown, 6 p.m.

Gloversville at Scotia-Glenville, 6 p.m.

Duanesburg at Mayfield, 6 p.m.

Schoharie at Galway, 6 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Middleburgh, 6 p.m.

Fort Plain at Mekeel Christian, 6 p.m.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo at Canajoharie, 6 p.m.

Saturday, September 16

Gloversville at Canajoharie Tournament, 9 a.m.

Tuesday, September 19

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville at Fonda-Fultonville, 5:30 p.m.

Canajoharie at Fort Plain, 6 p.m.

Galway at Mayfield, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, September 20

Amsterdam at South Glens Falls, 6 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Queensbury, 6 p.m.

Gloversville at Hudson Falls, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 21

Canajoharie at Middleburgh, 6 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Duanesburg, 6 p.m.

Galway at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, 6 p.m.

Mayfield at Bishop Gibbons, 6 p.m.

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville at Mekeel Christian, 6 p.m.

Friday, September 22

Schuylerville at Gloversville, 6 p.m.

Queensbury at Johnstown, 6 p.m.

Glens Falls at Broadalbin-Perth, 6 p.m.

Hudson Falls at Amsterdam, 6 p.m.

Saturday, September 23

Canajoharie, Mayfield at Averill Park Tournament, 9 a.m.

Galway at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Tournament, TBA

FFCS, Fort Plain at Waterford-Halfmoon Tournament, TBA

Tuesday, September 26

Galway at Fonda-Fultonville, 6 p.m.

Mayfield at Canajoharie, 6 p.m.

Fort Plain at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, September 27

South Glens Falls at Johnstown, 6 p.m.

Amsterdam at Queensbury, 6 p.m.

Gloversville at Glens Falls, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 28

Broadalbin-Perth at South Glens Falls, 6 p.m.

Schoharie at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 6 p.m.

Canajoharie at Duanesburg, 6 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Bishop Gibbons, 6 p.m.

Fort Plain at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, 6 p.m.

Galway at Middleburgh, 6 p.m.

Mayfield at Mekeel Christian, 6 p.m.

Friday, September 29

Johnstown at Glens Falls, 6 p.m.

Schuylerville at Amsterdam, 6 p.m.

Canajoharie at Galway, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 30

Mayfield at Voorheesville Tournament, 9 a.m.

Galway at Baldwinsville Tournament, TBA

Tuesday, October 3

Amsterdam at Broadalbin-Perth, 6 p.m.

Johnstown at Gloversville, 6 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Fort Plain, 6 p.m.

Mayfield at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4

Broadalbin-Perth at Gloversville, 6 p.m.

Amsterdam at Scotia-Glenville, 6 p.m.

Mayfield at Schoharie, 6 p.m.

Thursday, October 5

Mekeel Christian at Fonda-Fultonville, 6 p.m.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 6 p.m.

Canajoharie at Bishop Gibbons, 6 p.m.

Middleburgh at Fort Plain, 6 p.m.

Duanesburg at Galway, 6 p.m.

Friday, October 6

Amsterdam at Gloversville, 6 p.m.

Johnstown at Scotia-Glenville, 6 p.m.

Hudson Falls at Broadalbin-Perth, 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 7

Broadalbin-Perth at Argyle Tournament, 8 a.m.

Gloversville, Canajoharie at Schoharie Tournament, TBA

Tuesday, October 10

Galway at Broadalbin-Perth, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, October 11

Gloversville at Amsterdam, 6 p.m.

Scotia-Glenville at Johnstown, 6 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Canajoharie, 6 p.m.

Fort Plain at Mayfield, 6 p.m.

Galway at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 6 p.m.

Thursday, October 12

Broadalbin-Perth at Amsterdam, 6 p.m.

Bishop Gibbons at Galway, 6 p.m.

Friday, October 13

Gloversville at Johnstown, 6 p.m.

Schoharie at Fonda-Fultonville, 6 p.m.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo at Mayfield, 6 p.m.

Mekeel Christian at Canajoharie, 6 p.m.

Duanesburg at Fort Plain, 6 p.m.

Middleburgh at Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 14

Mayfield, Gloversville, Broadalbin-Perth

at Power of Pink Tournament (Queensbury), 8 a.m.

Galway at Millbrook Tournament, 9 a.m.

Monday, October 16

Amsterdam at Bishop Gibbons, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, October 17

WAC Championships (at FMCC), 4 p.m.

Hudson Falls at Galway, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, October 18

Johnstown at Broadalbin-Perth, 6 p.m.

Scotia-Glenville at Gloversville, 6 p.m.

Thursday, October 19

WAC Championships (at FMCC), 4 p.m.

Friday, October 20

Gloversville at Mayfield, 6 p.m.

Amsterdam at Johnstown, 6 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Scotia-Glenville, 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 21

Mayfield at Lake George Tournament, 9 a.m.

Galway at Walter Panas Tournament, 9 a.m.