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Girls Volleyball

Playoff hopes for area teams

  • ConVal girls volleyball vs. Mascenic<br/><br/>(Staff Photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Wilton-Lyndeborough girls volleyball vs. ConVal
  • ConVal girls volleyball vs. Mascenic<br/><br/>(Staff Photo by Tim Goodwin)

While all three girls volleyball teams lost impact players from a year ago, local coaches are excited about what this season will bring.

With talent and experience coming back, all three are expecting to improve upon their 2012 finish.

And the best part is that since all three play in Division III, there will be plenty of matches between the three squads.

All three have playoff aspirations and only time will tell who makes it in.

Mascenic

After coming up short in the Division III quarterfinals last year, the Vikings have big goals for 2013.

Despite losing two members of the starting lineup, including two-year setter Casey Thoel, and three players overall, coach Missy Salo believes her team is going to be one of the better squads come the end of the season.

There are some holes to fill, but with a deep roster and plenty of experience returning, it will only be a matter of time before the Vikings start playing as a unit.

As of now, Salo said her team is just starting to find a rhythm and should be ready for next Friday’s opener. The long term goal is make a deeper run than last year.

“We want to crack the top five,” said Salo. “But starting off I think we’re middle of the pack.”

The Vikings are loaded with offensive weapons and it will be up to sophomore setter Casey Wayrynen to give her teammates an opportunity to be successful. Wayrynen played a lot last year and will take over the setting duties full time.

“She’s young, but she was with me all last year and is definitely capable of handling the position,” said Salo.

Seniors Cheyanne Sauvola and Elizabeth Martel have played big roles over the last two years and will be crucial to the Vikings’ success, especially with their ability to hit with power. Junior Amber Salo is another option on the front row and will allow Mascenic to be versatile on offense.

“I’m hoping we’ll be a lot more aggressive on offense,” said Salo. “It’s what we’re working on right now.”

Kylee Ojala will likely fill the libero positions, while senior Alison Sikkila and junior Becka Lefebvre have experience that will help fill out the lineup. Jaycie Rautiola and Mikayla Stimans add depth off the bench for Salo.

WLC

The Warriors earned the final Division III playoff spot last year and despite losing four members from the starting lineup, the goal once again is to return to postseason play.

Without their setter and best hitter from a year ago, it won’t be easy for WLC early on, but the goal of coach Christie Stanley is to see steady improvement throughout the campaign. She is confident they will be a much better team when the end of October rolls around.

“I think it will be a very good year for us,” said Stanley. “It might take a couple games for things to click, but I think they have good things ahead of them.”

While the starting experience is not there, the Warriors are not without players who have seen a lot of court time. Stanley has a number of girls who are ready to take over major roles and will need them if the Warriors plan on making it back to the D-III tournament.

The loss of setter Vanessa Goodine will be tough to overcome, but Stanley expects senior Kayla Barnes to make a smooth transition into the role. Barnes has played the position before and has proven capable of pacing an offense.

“She’s got some big shoes to fill, but I’ve got confidence in her,” said Stanley.

Senior Margaret Weigle will be one of the most experience hitters coming back, but will have help from seniors Hannah Earle and Brianna Moynihan and junior Rachel Graves. Weigle and Graves are the two returning starters.

“I’m hoping we’re going to have a lot of offense, but you can’t just have one. You’ve got to play defense,” said Stanley.

Kaley Jacques will provide back row help, while Etta Popek will do the same on the front line. Freshman Amber Goodwin is also expected to make an immediate impact.

ConVal

The Cougars picked up the first two varsity wins in program history last year and the expectation is to surpass that total in 2013.

ConVal moved to Division III last season and it was clearly the right place for the program that was only in its third ever varsity season.

Not only did the Cougars earn their first victory, but also won a road match in five games over a playoff bound Trinity team.

ConVal did lose four players from a season ago that either started or saw a significant amount of time, but return most of the starting lineup and are a senior heavy squad.

“I think we have a pretty good core group,” said Merrill. “I’m very excited for the team this year.”

The Cougars will have six seniors and all are expected to start in next Friday’s opener. Senior Sara Clemens will continue as the team’s setter and really made a difference in the offense last year, as ConVal showed signs of moving in the right direction.

“I feel we could definitely get more wins than last year,” said Merrill.

Senior Ayohnny Guy-Scott was a force on the front line and will be the Cougars’ best hitter. Seniors Cassie Yerkes and Dillon Thompson have also shown capable of being big parts of the offense, while senior Bryanna Lindsay returns to the libero position.

Senior Kacey Banuskevich can play just about anywhere, while juniors Mandy Anderson and Jasmine Long and sophomore transfer Caroline Magee will help off the bench.

“We’re in a really good position,” said Merrill. “The future looks better than I thought.”

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