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Area teams will most likely play in front of no fans

2020 H.S. girls volleyball

Mirror file photo Isabella George returns as a senior for Hollidaysburg.

By Michael Boytim

mboytim@altoonamirror.com

The fall sport that stands to be the most impacted by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s attendance limits of 250 for outside gathering and 25 for inside gatherings is high school girls volleyball, which can begin play on Friday.

As of now, they will play in an otherwise empty gymnasium.

A 25-person limit means some teams may not be able to even have their entire squad in the gymnasium during events, much less spectators or media.

“One of our concerns is keeping the season as normal as possible. This year is quite different from past years in many ways,” Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic coach Cortnie Partner said. “We are making sure we as a team are adjusting and implementing the new restrictions placed due to COVID-19, plus we just hope that we are able to complete the season.”

There are plenty of teams in the Mirror’s coverage area expecting a big season and success in the district and state playoffs — if they occur.

Bishop Carroll, which finished as the runner-up in District 6 Class 1A last year and lost to eventual PIAA champion Northern Cambria, won’t have to deal with the Lady Colts this year as NC will attempt to win its third straight state title with star Maggie Hogan up one class in 2A this year.

That means teams like Tyrone, which had a breakthrough year last year, must now deal with Northern Cambria. The Lady Eagles return Mirror first-team all-star Makenna Bauer to help them.

“The girls, and coaches, know that we have experience and can compete with anyone in our league and district,” Tyrone coach Mike Craft said. “They are eager to begin competition and eager to be better than last year.”

Central Cambria, the District 6 Class 2A runner-up to Bald Eagle Area last season, has a new coach and must replace a lot of talent.

“I look for this team to be very successful this season. I think that with graduating a large and talented senior class, a lot of them were in the shadows this past season, and are ready to step into the spotlight and show what they have to bring to the team this year,” Lady Devils new coach Abbie Baker said. “They are hungry for another successful season, and it really shows in how they practice. They are intense, and ready to prove themselves in the league this season.”

Hollidaysburg will be defending its District 6 Class 5-6 3A title it won over Somerset last season with the help of returning Mirror first-teamer Isabella George, and Altoona, with returning Mirror first-teamer Julia Savino, will try to win the 4A title that went to State College last year.

BG’s Lyzee Wilson and Glendale’s Olivia Reese also return from the Mirror’s first-team all-star squad from 2019.

The following is a capsulized look at teams in the Mirror’s coverage area.

Altoona

Coach: John Saboe, second year

Career record: 7-9

League: Mid-Penn League

Last year’s record: 7-9

Returning starters: Seniors–Rylee Albright, defensive specialist/outside hitter; Anna Batrus, libero/ defensive specialist; Andrea Kiser, outside hitter/middle hitter; Jaylyn Long, setter; Julia Savino, libero/ defensive specialist; MiJa’Nae White, middle hitter Juniors–Jadeyn Price, opposite/outside hitter; Kaylee Smith, middle hitter; Evy Stroup, setter; Macy Yost, outside/opposite hitter

Other returning players: Sophomores–Emma Clouser, middle hitter/opposite; Peyton Daniel, outside hitter; Niya Perez, setter; Nyelah Strobel, middle hitter; Julia Veneziano, defensive specialist/libero

Newcomers: Freshmen–Addison Coope, middle hitter, Aunye Counsman, outside hitter, Amy Dean, defensive specialist, Kara Feaster, defensive specialist, Julia Kline, opposite hitter, Jaiden Krull, setter, Nora Reed, defensive specialist, Emerson Steinbugl, outside hitter, Sydney Stroup, outside hitter

Strengths: “We have a solid core of athletic, versatile and competitive players. Offensively, we feel we have an experienced upperclassman group that has develop into ‘put-away’ hitters and a great mix of young talent that is developing those ‘put-away’ skills. In addition, we’ll need to rely on our tough serving and scrappy defense to keep us in games.”

Concerns: “We only lost one senior from last year, but we still lack one major component for volleyball. Overall height. Thus, we are dedicating a lot of time to our defensive strategy. Our team is very aggressive, so we need to keep our unforced errors to a minimum and be patient during long rallies as our offense continues to develop.”

Overall outlook: “As always, we have a very demanding schedule, and now that we are in the Mid-Penn, it will challenge us game in and game out. And once again, our team has set very high goals for themselves. Provided, we have solid leadership, focused discipline and attention to detail, we feel confident that our team will be battle-tested, exciting to watchand a definite contender for the District 6 4A title by the end of the season.”

Assistant coaches: Mitchell Snyder, Makenzie Negri (volunteer), Alyssa Fasolo (volunteer), John Albright (volunteer), Karan Price (volunteer), Dave Swartz (volunteer).

Junior high coaches: Makenzie Negri (head coach), Alyssa Fasolo (assistant coach)

Bellwood-Antis

Coach: Jannell McKinney, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 11-10

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Sophomores–Lydia Worthing, middle hitter; Rylee Poorman, outside hitter

Other returning players: Seniors–Dakota Woomer, middle hitter; Rebecca Burns, outside hitter. Junior–Abby Watters, middle & outside hitter. Sophomores–Hailee McConnell, setter; Alexis Lovrich, defensive specialist; Ava Miller, middle hitter; Hailey Simon, middle hitter; Ashlyn Snyder, outside hitter; Brielle Campbell, outside hitter; Kaylee Snyder, outside hitter

Newcomers: Senior–Raven Criscitello, defensive specialist. Sophomores–Lauren Rodland, outside hitter; Hannah Regan, outside hitter. Freshmen–Jessie Corrado, right side hitter; Miranda Tornatore, setter; Chloe Brown, right side hitter; Morgan Bowser, outside hitter; Lilly Miller, middle hitter

Strengths: “We have some really good strength in our swings and an impressive serving skill set as well.”

Concerns: “We need to continue to build our communication on the court.”

Overall outlook: “We have a very young team with great raw talent. We will continue to practice hard and really work to build into a well-rounded team. I’m very excited to see what the girls can do with the hard work and dedication they have put in.”

Assistant coaches: Sophie Damiano

Bishop Carroll

Coach: Katie (Wyland) Myers, fifth year

Career record: 79-26

Last year’s record: 17-7

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors–Ellie Long, middle; Taylor Wahl, outside; Madita Dieseler, right side. Juniors–Emma Becquet, outside; Makaylah Koscho, setter.

Other returners: Senior–Maddie Gottshall, right side. Junior–Tia Bradley, middle; Sophomores–Madison Ostinowsky, outside; Katie Ludwig, middle; Cami Myers, outside

Newcomers: Junior–Casey Buynack, defense. Sophomore–Alexis Billings, outside. Freshmen–Mary Golden, setter; Ali Heinrich, middle; Tatum Laughard, defense; Brynn Koscho, right side

Strengths: “This group of girls who love to play and who have been working hard all summer. They have all been improving and pushing each other to become better, strong players. They are just excited about having the chance to play this year.”

Concerns: “We lost a lot of senior leadership last year, and finding someone to replace those girls has been a rocky road.”

Overall outlook: “Excited to be able to play the game we all love! This season will definitely be one that no one will forget.”

Assistant coach: Janelle Gueguen

Bishop Guilfoyle

Coach: Cortnie Partner, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 13-9

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors–Teresa Haigh, outside; Lyzee Wilson, outside; Jaedyn Montler, libero. Juniors–Abby Yahner, setter; Erin Yahner, middle

Other returners: Juniors–Amelia Partner, defense-libero; Caitlyn McConnell, middle. Sophomores–Lia Simanski, right side; Maddie Myers, setter; Riley Brennan, middle; Leanna Biddle, right side

Newcomers: Sophomores–Katie Williams, defense; Haylee Nguyen, defense; Victoria Clapper, libero, defense. Freshmen–Molly Burke, outside-setter; Samantha Brandt, outside

Strengths: “We have a strong group of returning starters this season along with several returning players with varsity experience. This group of young ladies is very athletic and competitive, and they want to win and have a successful season.”

Concerns: “One of our concerns is keeping the season as normal as possible. This year is quite different from past years in many ways. We are making sure we as a team are adjusting and implementing the new restrictions placed due to COVID-19, plus we just hope that we are able to complete the season.”

Overall outlook: “We are very excited and ready to compete and be a strong team in the very competitive Laurel Highlands Conference.”

Assistant coach: Nancy Burke

Cambria Heights

Coach: Doug Farabaugh, second year

Career record: 18-4

Last year’s record: 18-4

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors–Amber Farabaugh, libero; Delia Morchesky, middle blocker. Junior–Kendall Conrad, middle blocker

Other returning players: Seniors–Skylar Kovac, opposite hitter; Alyssa Sowers, opposite hitter; Julie Westrick, outside hitter. Juniors–Shaylee Packard, setter; Kadence Delavelle, defense

Newcomers: Juniors–Grace Jasper, outside hitter; Courtney Venesky, middle blocker; Carly Mezzelo, defense

Strengths: “We work hard to be fundamentally strong and quick on defense. We want to put pressure on the opposing teams serve receive game by serving aggressively. We have a team culture that supports players being aggressive, knowing mistakes will be made and teammates will be there to pick each other up.”

Concerns: “Our junior varsity team is young. They’ll have to step up to give the varsity team quality competition in the practice gym. We were able to have summer workouts but weren’t able to be in a summer league. With the loss of that competition and those reps to help develop confidence we’ll be doing a lot of growing as a team as the regular season starts and throughout the season.”

Overall outlook: “We’re really thankful to be able to be back on the volleyball court and competing against other schools. We want to build on the success we achieved last year. We’re excited to be the first Cambria Heights team to compete in our beautiful newly renovated home gym. We want our last season competing in the Laurel Highland Conference to be a great one as next year we’ll be moving to the Heritage Conference.”

Assistant coaches: Cindy Farabaugh; Mike Poole; Nancy Hayes

Central

Coach: Brad Heuston, second year

Career record: 5-11

Last year’s record: 5-11

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Seniors–Brinley Bowers, setter; Annie Kitt, middle; Mackenzie Saylor, outside; Abbie Kitt, defensive specialist. Junior–Brooke Claar, middle

Other returners: Seniors–Elaina Eicher, defensive specialist; Kerstin White, defensive specialist. Juniors–Jenna Haney, middle; Adalyn Smith, outside; Aubree Berkhimer, defensive specialist; Faith Brumbaugh, right side; Becky Roth, setter; Hailey Mingle, defensive specialist; Regan Dodson, right side; Sydney Mahoney, defensive specialist. Sophomores–Kirsten Ayers, outside right side; Maya Hazenstab, defensive specialist; Alex Klotz, outside

Newcomers: Junior–Audree Long-Yarrison, outside. Freshmen–Madison Kennedy, middle; Kaitlyn Weitzel, setter

Strengths: “We have a lot of experience returning and the team has a great work ethic.”

Concerns: “Players playing new positions and injuries could be a problem at certain positions.”

Overall outlook: “We are hoping to improve upon our record in the league and overall. I am hopeful with our experience that we will improve. We have a lot of very good experienced teams in our conference.”

Assistant coaches: Pamela Ayers, Ken Streilein (junior high)

Central Cambria

Coach: Abbie Young, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 21-2, 16-0 in LHAC

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Senior–Eden Shirk, defensive specialist/outside hitter. Junior–Deanne Long, junior, defensive specialist

Other returning players: Senior–Emma Pileski, senior, defensive specialist/right side hitter. Junior–Anna Benko, right side hitter, Leah Burgraff, setter, Jordyn Burkett, defensive specialist; Hayley Evans, defensive specialist; Madison Kim, middle blocker; Kate Kudlawiec, right side hitter/outside hitter; Hannah Ray, outside hitter; Gabby Shirk, middle blocker. Sophomores–Erika Burket, defensive specialist, Allison Malay, outside hitter

Newcomers: Sophomores–Skylar Bloom, setter; Mikalah Kim, middle blocker; Isabel Kushner, outside hitter; Emma Pablic, middle blocker

Strengths: “Some of this year’s team strengths include a strong offense and a scrappy defense. With our two returning starters having a lot of defensive experience, I look for them to lead and anchor the back row this season. We have a very versatile lineup as far as hitters go, and I look for them to run a quick offense. The team is developing a lot of chemistry up front, and those connections will definitely help us this season in tough games. The girls are also very gritty all around and will hustle to finish off plays.”

Concerns: “The team is very young, with the bulk of the lineup being new to the varsity court. They do not have a lot of prior experience at the varsity level, so we need to work on their confidence and being comfortable in those new positions. Serve receive is also another concern, as it is the toughest part of volleyball. We do a lot of drills in practice to make sure we are executing correctly, but on any given night, it can make a team or break a team.”

Overall outlook: “I look for this team to be very successful this season. I think that with graduating a large and talented senior class, a lot of them were in the shadows this past season, and are ready to step into the spotlight and show what they have to bring to the team this year. They are hungry for another successful season, and it really shows in how they practice. They are intense, and ready to prove themselves in the league this season.”

Assistant coaches: Kayla Wirfel

Claysburg-Kimmel

Coach: Julie Cavender, second year

Career record: 16-8

Last year’s record: 16-8

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Senior–Harleigh Cavender, setter; Haileigh Reed, outside hitter; Michele Imler, libero. Juniors–Rebekah Claar, middle hitter; Bailey Garver, outside hitter

Other returners: Seniors–Logan Mock, middle hitter; Madison Frye, middle hitter

Newcomers: Juniors–Jessen Poullos, middle hitter; Sawyer Claar, setter. Sophomores–Gracie Eicher, middle hitter; Betty Jean Mesmer, middle hitter; Ally Dicken, setter; Arissa Hinish, setter; McKenzi Black, setter; Sarah Helsel, outside hitter; Emma Gill, outside hitter; Chelsie Noah, middle hitter; Britnee Robertson, middle hitter; Nevaeh Walter, outside hitter. Freshmen–Alayna Hill, libero; Emalee Cavender, outside hitter

Strengths: “Overall speed and quickness.”

Concerns: “Depth.”

Overall outlook: “We made playoffs last year and are hoping to go even further this year.”

Assistant coach: Tony Cavender

Glendale

Coach: Brenda Hewitt, fourth year

Career record: 28-28-2

Last year’s record: 12-9-1

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Senior–Olivia Reese, outside. Juniors–Kyla Campbell, middle; Hanna Noel, middle; Bailee Wimberly, setter; Cindy Richards, libero. Sophomore–Alyssa Sinclair, middle

Other returning players: Juniors–Samantha Cherry, outside; Carly Cann, utility. Sophomore–Riley Best, outside

Newcomers: Sophomores–Alyvia Rutter, utility; Jillian Taylor, middle; Jocelyn Mooney, middle

Strengths: “We have great leadership in our letterwinners. Everyone is working hard and pushing each other to get better.”

Concerns: “My concerns for the season are things that I can’t control, like the restrictions set forth due to the pandemic.”

Overall outlook: “I see the girls improving on last year’s campaign. I have seen a lot of great things happening in practices and look forward to the season.”

Assistant coaches: Alyse Croll-Gittings

Hollidaysburg

Coach: Dean Grenfell, second year

Career record: 10-5

Last year’s record: 10-5

Conference: None

Returning starters: Seniors–Isabella George, mid.; Rylee Lear, opp. Juniors–Bridgett Everett, outside; Joelle DeLattre, opp.

Other returners: Juniors–Lexi Woodring, setter; Brittyn Davenport, mid.; Sydney Keagy, setter. Sophomores–Sydney Lear, setter

Newcomers: Juniors–Alli Burk, outside; Breann Shoop, outside; Aubrey Pupa, mid.-outside. Freshmen–Drew Kordish, setter; Lucy Stanek, outside-opp.; Lexi McLanahan, setter

Strengths: “We are returning a strong front row and core group of athletes that love playing the game with one another.”

Concerns: “Competition in our area is very strong and we will need to come together as a team quickly in order to compete at a high level with all of our opponents.”

Overall outlook: “We look to have a strong season and compete well with our opponents in the area.”

Assistant coaches: Ted Bloom; Brandon Stitt

Northern Bedford

Coach: Shalonne Sipes, first year

Career record: 0-0

Last year’s record: 3-14

Conference: Inter-County Conference

Returning starters: Seniors–Makayla Kochara, middle. Juniors–Addie Sipes, outside; Jenna Carberry, libero

Other returning players: Senior–Lily Lemin, setter. Juniors–Jaida Pensyl, setter; Lydia Byler, outside/setter; Riley Cottle, outside; Alayna Bowser, libero; Becca Shriver, libero; Lindsey Koontz, middle; Lauren Over, middle; Maddy Walker, setter

Newcomers: Senior–Paige Wingard, middle. Sophomores–Aleigha Helsel, setter; Olivia Walter, outside; Lizzie Long, middle; Freshmen–Lacy McIlnay, setter; Halle Lingenfelter, setter; Lainie Sipes, setter/libero

Strengths: “We have several girls who we can utilize in various positions, giving us some depth. We ve some strong hitters in our lineup and our serving continues to improve.”

Concerns: “Our overall inexperience is our primary concern. Aside from our three returning starters, we don’t have anyone on our roster with varsity experience.”

Overall outlook: “We are going into this season with a positive outlook. After the threat of a possible fall sports cancellation, just getting to play this season is a win in our book. I believe we can improve upon last season’s record if we continue to work on our fundamental skills and do the little correctly. I’m optimistic that our three returning starters will bring leadership to the floor and help instill confidence in our younger and more inexperienced players.”

Assistant coaches: Kristie Young and Jenn Davis

Penn Cambria

Coach: Leah Montgomery, 23rd year

Conference: Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference

Returning starters: Seniors–Maddi Laret, outside; Chloe Guzic, setter; Ella Digruilles, offside; Liv Papi, middle; Catrina Crynock, DS. Juniors–Daijah Lilly, outside; Marissa Conley, middle

Other returners: Seniors–Lizzy Slovikosky, outside; Joscelin Davison, outside; Isabella Borlie, outside. Juniors–Emily Clawson, middle; Amiya Wilt, offside. Sophomores–Kaylee Mento, outside; Georgia Borlie, outside

Newcomers: Junior–Jada Dorman, outside/middle. Sophomores–Lauren Papi, outside; Julia Gil, offside; Madi McCoy, outside/setter; Maddie Geist, middle; Sage Chislow, offside. Freshmen–Alyssa Zupon, setter/offside; Baylee Proudfit, setter; Patty Wagner, middle

Strengths: “Defense is really good. Team that played together last year. Coachable. Seasoned setter.”

Concerns: “Always and injury and drama. Offense could be stronger, aggressiveness.”

Outlook: “We are returning a team that played last year and are all getting along. They are having fun. Our defense looks really good and offense is getting better. We will be able to hold our own if we stay consistent and play a good game. We will have a few players that will come off the bench who will be big contributors.”

Portage

Coach: Lauren Cordwell, fourth year

Career record: 25-33

Last year’s record: 9-10

Conference: WestPAC

Returning starters: Seniors–Kayley Sossong, setter; Kylie Burger, middle/outside hitter. Junior–Julia Papcun, middle hitter; Sophomore–Keira Sossong, libero.

Other returning players: Senior–Megan Semanchik, outside/middle hitter; Juniors–Sydni Sossong, outside hitter; Sydney Leturgey, defense. Sophomores–Bella Single, outside hitter; Lexi Slanoc, outside hitter

Newcomers: Sophomore–Sydney Castel, outside hitter. Freshmen–Brooke Bednarkski, setter/outside hitter; Sierra Crum, outside hitter; Annelise Davis, middle hitter; Emma Gressick, outside hitter; Tori Harrison, outside hitter; Paige Phillips, middle hitter; Trissa Smith, setter; Jada Willinsky, outside hitter

Strengths: “Our serving game will be a strong point this season. We will look to hit spots and put teams out of system right away.”

Concerns: None listed

Overall outlook: “We will look to our returning starters to guide the team this year. Our setter Kayley is returning and will need to be vocal on the court. Kylie and Julia will bring strong hitters from the middle. Keira will step into the role as libero this year after playing as a defensive specialist last season.”

Assistant coach: Brenna Wright

Tyrone

Coach: Mike Kraft, seventh year

Career record: 41-47

Last year’s record: 14-5

Conference: Mountain League

Returning starters: Seniors–Mattie Cherry, setter; Makenna Bauer, outside; Courtney Williams, middle; Miranda Goodman, defensive specialist; Anna-Lynn Fryer, middle. Juniors–Maecy Tuskovich, libero/defensive specialist; Kaitlyn Houck, libero/defensive specialist; Holly Long, outside. Sophomores–Reagan Irons, outside; Piper Christine, middle

Other returning players: Sophomores–Elaina Gehlman, right side; Gianna Maloney, defensive specialist; Vivian Sciarillo, outside; Hailey Houck, defensive specialist; Tasanee Hensley, outside

Newcomers: Freshmen–Maddy Rockwell, setter; Aliza Yazzie, middle; Ania Oliver, right side; Brianna Harris, outside; Tiffanie Tuskovich, outside; Alysa Wheland, defensive specialist/right side

Strengths: “We are returning a good bit of experience and we have some playoff wins to add to our confidence. These girls have played a great deal in the off-season and they are hungry to compete after the hiatus we had in the spring. There is more depth on this team than in any other season I have coached in the past six years at Tyrone.”

Concerns: “Our league, and District 6 for 2A is tough. Northern Cambria, Bald Eagle, Philipsburg, Forest Hills, Penns Valley and West Shamokin are all teams I anticipate competing at a high level. Of our first four games, we play Philipsburg, Bald Eagle and Penns Valley all within seven days. Those first two weeks of the season will really determine where we are and where we need to go after that. Lastly, injuries are always a big concern. We’ve already had our fair share of nagging injuries this pre-season so the girls need to do a great job of taking care of their bodies outside of the gym.”

Overall outlook: “The girls, and coaches, know that we have experience and can compete with anyone in our league and district. They are eager to begin competition and eager to be better than last year.”

Assistant coaches: Bob Oberheim, Mike Anthony, Alesha Weaver, Erin Lutz

Williamsburg

Coach: Marina Brubaker, second year

Conference: Inter County Conference

Returning Starters: Seniors–Taylor Uplinger; Makayla Kipe; Olivia Aurandt; Hayley Morgan. Junior–Krista Simpson

Other returners: Seniors–Allee England; Maggie Merritts; Madalyn Whitaker. Juniors–Morgan Reighard; Madison Haney; Ashley Richardson; Ashley Brubaker. Sophomores–Alexia Brumbaugh; Abby Merritts; Ruth Eger

Newcomers: Junior–Alissa Walker. Sophomore–Mallory Deters. Freshmen–Leah Criswell; Hannah Dixon; Billie Harnish; Emma Morgan; Hannah Brumbaugh

Strengths: “A lot have playing experience, positive attitude and team-first mentality.”

Concerns: “Lack of winning experience.”

Overall outlook: “With the high attendance at voluntary practices and a winter league, most girls got more practice in to hone their skills; hopefully, that coupled with playing experience from last year, will make for a better season.”

Assistant coach: Natalie Gorsuch

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