Defending district champ BG has high expectations
The high school volleyball season kicked off Friday night, and the five area teams are expecting to make some noise on the scholastic courts.
No team has more expectations on it then Bishop Guilfoyle.
The Marauders return every single starter and all of their varsity subs from a team that won the school’s first ever District 6 championship.
BG, which finished 15-5, advanced to the first round of the state playoffs after winning a play-in game.
“This team is focused on big goals, but realizes they have to be accomplished one at a time,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Bob Kasun said. “Our practices have been very competitive. We have raised the bar of expectations for our practices, our regular season and playoffs.”
BG will turn to a group of four seniors that will be in the starting lineup for the fourth year.
Two-time all-state setter Ben Kasun returns and is nearing 2,000 career assists. Two district 6 all-stars in Jamey Brumbaugh and Nick Little return, as and Mid-State Volleyball Leaguer all-star Damon Rickens.
The Marauders have taken steps to make this a memorable season by ramping up their tournament schedule as they will travel to defending Class AAA state champion North Allegheny and to returning Class AA state champ Northeastern.
“If we are going to reach the full potential of this team, we need to face the toughest competition in the regular season matches and in the tournaments,” Bob Kasun said. “We have upgraded our tournament schedule to play against the best teams in the state.”
Northern Cambria returns one starter in senior setter Zach Lee that won the Mid-State volleyball league last year.
Colt coach Mike Hogan will look to Lee to continue the Northern Cambria tradition of winning volleyball.
“Zach will have to be the leader of the team this season,” Hogan said. “He has been doing a great job with this role to date, and I look forward to him having a great year.”
The Altoona Mountain Lions, though they appear to have unlimited potential on paper, will have their work cut out of for them.
“We have shifted kids around to different positions to try to take advantage of the athleticism we have,” Altoona coach John Saboe said.
Seven Mountain Lion starters return from the 8-5 squad of a year ago as they will look to guide their team into district title contention.
“We ran a lot of guys in and out last year. A number of our young kids were able to get some experience,” Saboe said. “We have a great core group of young men who are doing an excellent job right now.”
Central and Huntingdon didn’t achieve much success last year, and will try to combine the experience they do have returning with a group of players that are looking to make a difference in their first go-rounds with their respective teams.
Here is a closer look at the five area boys volleyball teams:
Coach: John Saboe
Career record: 111-45, 11th season
Last year’s record: 8-5 overall, 8-4 league
League: Mid-State League, Mountain Athletic Conference
Returning starters: Josh Huber, senior, middle hitter; Kody Clawson, senior, outside hitter/libero; Adam Borst, junior, outside hitter; Brett Koelle, junior, outside/right side hitter; Eric Wineland, junior, setter; Daniel Over, sophomore, setter/libero; Frank Perehinec, sophomore, outside/right side hitter.
Other returning players: Tyler Wray, senior, right side hitter; Dan Flanagan, junior, middle hitter; Malachi Hamilton, junior, outside hitter; Bryce McGarvey, junior, outside hitter/libero; Josh Over, sophomore, libero; Zach Over, sophomore, middle hitter; Noah Stewart, junior, middle hitter.
Strengths: “This is a team with an excellent work ethic and a good understanding of hustle to every ball. We have placed an emphasis on being a defensive team that can turn any ball into a point scoring opportunity.”
Concerns: “This team does not have that big game experience and senior depth. We have a number of talented underclassmen that will get some very valuable experience as the season progresses that will hopefully pay big dividends at the end of the season.”
Overall outlook: “We have the potential on paper to be a very good team. This group of young men has proven to be very dedicated to the sport and more importantly, to the team. As always, they have set their goals high, and continue to work in the gym everyday to achieve the goals of being a district champion and state champion.”
Assistant coaches: Chris Keagy, Chris Perino, Dan Roberts
Coach: Bob Kasun
Career record: 48-55, seventh season
Last year’s record: 15-5
League: Mid-State League
Returning starters: Jamey Brumbaugh, senior, outside hitter; Damon Rickens, senior, outside hitter; Nick Little, senior, middle hitter; Ben Kasun, senior, setter; Brennan Hurd, senior, defensive specialist; Brendan Trybus, senior, libero; Adam Horell, junior, right side hitter; Collin Welteroth, sophomore, middle hitter.
Other returning players: Kohl Kimberly, senior, libero; Robbie Gallagher, senior, middle hitter; Andrew Good, senior, outside hitter; Frank Macharola, senior, middle hitter; Anthony Shank, junior, middle hitter; Nick Hofer, junior, defensive specialist; Sam Keating, sophomore, outside hitter; Sean Donoughe, sophomore, outside hitter; Tevin Grove, sophomore, libero/setter; Dustin Smith, sophomore, right side hitter; Alex Gburek, sophomore, setter; Jimmy Burke, sophomore, middle hitter.
Newcomers: Mike Yahner, freshman, libero; Matt Yahner, freshman, middle hitter; Evan Potter, freshman, outside hitter; Damian Runk, freshman, outside hitter.
Strengths: “Experience, depth and senior leadership.”
Concerns: “Winning the serve-serve receive game.”
Overall outlook: “We are on the verge of becoming a very strong team. Our sole focus is on our team goals and everybody is playing their roles well.”
Assistant coaches: Brandin McDonough, Audrey McDonough, Dave Rito, Alex Sadler.
Coach: Ken Streilein
Career record: 4-11, second season
Last year’s record: 4-11 overall, 3-9 league
League: Mid-State League
Returning starters: Matt Price, senior, outside hitter; Matt Knauss, sophomore, setter; Dylan Appleman, sophomore, middler hitter.
Other returning players: Mike Madden, junior, setter; Jacob Davis, junior, outside hitter; Austin Berkhimer, sophomore, outside hitter; Steve Bowman, sophomore, defensive specialist; Ozzie Little, sophomore, defensive specialist; David Link, sophomore, opposite; Xavier Mazlowski, sophomore, middle hitter.
Newcomers: Daniel Clapper, senior, middle hitter; Isaac Little, senior, libero; Nick Strum, senior, defensive specialist; Braeden Appleman, junior, middle hitter; Antonio Eskinja, junior, opposite; Tynan Burwell, junior, opposite; Micah Dilling, junior, outside hitter; Eric Trexler, junior, outside hitter; Zachary Beard, sophomore, outside hitter; Shaden Yingling, sophomore, middle hitter; Ben Smith, sophomore, setter; Jeremy Steele, sophomore, outside hitter; Jeremiah Albright, sophomore, opposite; Sam Bumbarger, sophomore, outside hitter; Kaleb Gahagan, freshman, outside hitter; Ryan Ritchey, freshman, defensive specialist.
Strengths: “We have lots of athletic players. With a large group of guys competing for playing time, we hope to quickly develop our players into volleyball players.”
Concerns: “Inexperience. Only one player on the team has more than one year of experience playing competitive volleyball. We are counting on some players to step up and contribute very quickly.”
Overall outlook: “Until we gain some experience, I expect us to struggle but once the new players become comfortable in our system, we should be all right. I’m hoping that this season will be the start of a resurgence of boys volleyball in the Cove.”
Coach: Mike Sellers, third season
Career record: 2-26
Last year’s record: 0-14 overall, 0-12 league
League: Mid-State League
Returning starters: Ian Kidd, senior, opposite hitter; Nick McKim, junior, outside hitter; Michael Sulesky, junior, middle hitter.
Other returning players: Tyler Grubb, junior, outside hitter; Aaron Thompson, junior, middle/opposite hitter; Alex Guyer, sophomore, middle hitter; Xander Mansberger, sophomore, libero.
Newcomers: Matt Wilson, senior, setter; Dylan Weller, junior, middle hitter; Tyler Whisonant, junior, outside hitter; Cole Bishop, sophomore, defensive specialist/setter; Ethan Miller, sophomore, middle hitter; Matthew Sellers, freshman, setter/outside hitter; Noah Glenny, freshman, outside hitter; Dylan Moore, freshman, defensive specialist; Andrew Watson, freshman, setter/opposite hitter.
Strengths: “We have a very athletic group, good numbers and passion for the game.”
Concerns: “With only three returning lettermen, we are looking to fill some spots in the lineup. We do not have any players with more than one year of experience.”
Overall outlook: “Expecting to be competitive in the Mid-State League and better our mark from last season.”
Assistant coaches: Gina Sellers, Lori Heaton, Alix Sellers, Garrett Beaver and Cole Barben.
Coach: Mike Hogan
Career record: 37-16, fourth season
Last year’s record: 14-3
League: Mid-State League
Returning starters: Zach Lee, senior, setter
Other returning players: Mike Leslie, senior, middle hitter; Jarrett Sherry, senior, middle hitter; Jay Magary, senior, outside hitter; Austin Wagner, junior, middle hitter; Noah Tomallo, junior, libero; Seth Bearer, junior, outside hitter.
Newcomers: John McGary, junior, rigth side hitter; Alex Kopera, sophomore, ride side hitter; Michael Nealen, sophomore, setter; Nathan Dumm, freshman, setter; Jeremy Zernick, freshman, outside hitter.
Strengths: “Our athleticism and competitiveness are two of our strong points. As they become better volleyball players, they will be an exciting group of athletes.”
Concerns: “Keeping players healthy and committed to the game. Avoiding injuries is always a concern, and with this team, it’s no exception. Spring is always a challenging time of year to coach, but if this team stays focused throughout the ups and downs of a regular season they could be very good in late spring.”
Overall outlook: “We are positive. We have a bunch of inexperience but yet athletic, exciting players. I look forward to them figuring out the game of volleyball as the season progresses.”
Assistant coaches: Jay Carroll