Best of the best in ECI volleyball

Best of the best in ECI volleyball


Best of the best in ECI volleyball


Offensive attack

New Castle: Wapahani certainly merits consideration with three talented terminators in Lindi Thomas, Aubreigh Applegate and Brittany Cline, but all of its punch comes from the outside. The New Castle attack features the best hitter in the area in Lauryn Gillis, arguably the best setter in Taylor Patterson, and two middles capable of scoring in Payton Anderson and Laryssa Welch. Advantage New Castle.

Ball control

Yorktown: This volleyball hotbed lost arguably its best ball-control class in history to graduation, so there will be a drop-off in that aspect. Yorktown graduated an NCAA Division I talent in libero Kati Vasalakis, yet the Tigers still stand out as the best in the land. Outside hitter Nikki Box is exceptional at serve-receive and the fundamentally-sound tandem of libero Harlie Holding and defensive specialist Katie Miller blanket the back row. Burris transfer Halle McKibben will be eligible for the Tigers after sectional play, if they advance beyond that stage. McKibben played libero for Burris last season.

Coaching staff

Yorktown: This is like choosing the best sports car among a Lamborghini, Porsche and Ferrari. No other area in the state compares to this one in coaching talent. Six of the nine head coaches at high schools in Delaware County have guided their respective teams to state titles. If just evaluating the head coach, Central stands out with Wes Lyon and Wapahani follows closely with Mike Lingenfelter, but defending Class 3A state champion Yorktown surges to the top when taking into account the assistant coaches, too. Head coach Stephanie Bloom still has the same staff she assembled in 2008 when she first took over the program. One of her assistants, Kenna Jones, coached the Tigers to their first state title in 2000. Fellow assistant Rhonda Murr played at Ball State and has a wealth of volleyball knowledge. The final piece to the puzzle is Jeri Owens, who Bloom leans on as the mother-figure of the group.

— Thomas St. Myer


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