KEY: DS-defensive specialist, L-libero, LOH-left outside hitter, MH-middle hitter, RHO-right outside hitter, OH-outside hitter, S-setter
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Okemos, 2. Grand Ledge, 3. Holt, 4. East Lansing, 5. Everett, 6. Jackson, 7. Eastern, 8. Sexton
Top players: Kelli Combs (Grand Ledge), Cori Crocker (Grand Ledge), Karlie Lambie (Grand Ledge), Lizzy Ballor (Okemos), Jessica Richards (Okemos), Brooke Peiffer (Holt)
Last year: 2nd (32-12-4)
Coach: Jan Dreffs (5th season)
Top returning players: Morgan Binge (sr. S), Emily Emerson (sr. L), Mara Haynie (sr. OH)
Outlook: The Trojans are a young team but come in with high expectations. With more experience, this could be a dangerous squad toward the end of the season.
Last year: 7th
Coach: Ericka Baer (1st season)
Top returning players: Samantha Teremi (sr. OH), Audrey Karr (sr. OH)
Other contributors: Amber Smith (jr. L), Sabreea Carson-Pops (jr.), Katie Monti (so. MH)
Outlook: The Quakers are inexperienced but looking to make some noise for their first-year coach. One of the team’s strengths is Teremi, who was all-league honorable mention last season.
Last year: 4th (18-18-1)
Coach: Julie Baker (1st season)
Top returning players: Meeshon Rogers (sr. S/OH), Dayjah Stewart (sr. MH), Dalia Carpenter (sr. OH)
Other contributors: Freduh Davis (sr. DS), Toni Benson (jr. MH)
Outlook: The Vikings are making strides as a program and could climb in the league standings. Both Rogers and Stewart earned all-league honorable mention last season.
Last year: 4th (24-17-3)
Coach: Bob Alim-Young (5th season)
Top returning players: Kelli Combs (sr. S), Cori Crocker (jr. MB), Karlie Lambie (sr. OH), Alexis Lotycz (jr. MB), Megan Kramp (sr. L)
Other contributors: Hailey Baxter (jr. OH), Kari Beckley (sr. RS), Bethany Kurdnowski (DS)
Outlook: The Comets could have a Class A state title run in the near future. Combs earned all-area and honorable mention all-state last year, and NCAA Division I recruit Crocker could join her in the accolades this year. The team also returns Lambie, who made all-league.
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Kellie Sweitzer (5th season)
Top returning players: Brooke Peiffer (so. OH), Autumn Stokes (jr. S), Emma Sluiter (sr. MH)
Other contributor: Lauren Seagren (so. OH)
Outlook: The Rams graduated most of their top talent from last year but return an exciting young core. Expect Stokes to run this team offensively.
Last year: 1st (29-13-5, 10-0)
Coach: Jamie Ianni (14th season)
Top returning players: Lizzy Ballor (5-11 sr. MH), Ashlynn Schiro (5-5 sr. DS/L), Jessica Richards (5-11 sr. MH), Rachel Spreng (5-10 sr. OH), Sammy Theuer (5-8 jr. S), Marisa Dallas (5-11 sr. OH)
Other contributors: Rachel Thomas (6-1 so. MH), Kati Mead (5-8 jr. S), Daria Richards (6-1 so. MH)
Outlook: Despite losing six all-league players to graduation, the Chiefs should be strong again since they return all-leaguer Ballor and four other seniors. This is a squad that could repeat as league champs.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Haslett, 2. DeWitt, 3. Fowlerville, 4. St. Johns, 5. Ionia, 6. Owosso
Top players: Tresa Brake (Fowlerville), Courtney Brassington (Haslett), Emily Fedewa (St. Johns), Heather Holton (Haslett), Maria Kronner (Haslett), Maria Moss (DeWitt), Jenny Nicevski (Owosso), Makenna Ott (Haslett) Carly Stieve (DeWitt), Sarah Trosko (Haslett), Gina Vilona (DeWitt), Claire Whitford (St. Johns)
Last year: 1st
Coach: Christy Drayton (6th season)
Top returning players: Carly Stieve (sr. S), Gina Vilona (5-4 sr. L), Maria Moss (5-8 jr. OH), Abby Nakfoor (5-9 jr. MH), Julia Rios (5-2 jr. DS), Victoria Alverado (5-7 sr. OH), Kaitlin Setter (5-4 sr. DS)
Outlook: The Panthers should once again be in contention for a league title. With two all-area returnees in Vilona and Stieve and an all-league member in Moss, this is one of the more experienced teams in the CAAC.
Last year: 3rd (26-14-3)
Coach: Michelle Hardenbrook (12th season)
Top returning players: Tresa Brake (sr. MH), Maddie Baldwin (jr. MH), Emily Hamann (jr. MH), Aleshia Bostic (jr. L)
Other contributors: Jazmin Brake (jr. S), Megan Keifer (so. LOH)
Outlook: The Gladiators could shake things up atop the CAAC Red with three returning strong hitters and a talented new setter. Tresa Brake made all-area honorable mention and first-team all-league last season, while Baldwin earned all-league honorable mention recognition.
Last year: 1st (43-15-2)
Coach: Wendy McCann (21st season)
Top returning players: Makenna Ott (jr. MH), Heather Holton (sr. OH), Maria Kronner (sr. MH), Sarah Trosko (sr. OH), Courtney Brassington (sr. S)
Other contributors: Molly Cummings-Freund (so. LS/RS), Megan Mowid (so. S), Taryrn King (sr. RS)
Outlook: The Vikings are aiming for a state title even though they have moved up to Class A this fall. Although their chances may have been better in Class B, they bring back the core of last year’s talented squad. Ott and Kronner were selected to the Lansing State Journal Dream Team, while Holton made the Class B all-area team.
Last year: 5th (15-26-6)
Coach: Jeanna Kraatz (4th season)
Top returning players: Sarah Swartz (sr. OH/S), Anna Riccius (jr. OH), Joanna Miller (sr. L), Rachael Blackmer (sr. MH)
Other contributor: Camryn Klein (so. RH/S)
Outlook: The Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them in a tough conference, but they do have an experienced core that could lead to some quality wins.
Last year: 6th
Coach: Julie Croy (3rd season)
Top returning players: Jenny Nicevski (sr. MH), Megan Konopacke (sr. OH), Mackenzie Jones (sr. L)
Other contributor: Erin Konopacke (so. S)
Outlook: The Trojans bring back Nicevski, who made all-league last season as a junior. After finishing at the bottom of the league in 2012, the team will need improved play all around to move up.
Last year: 4th (24-23-2)
Coach: Sheri Becker (2nd season)
Top returning players: Emily Fedewa (sr. L), Claire Whitford (sr. OH), Challis Karasek (sr. MH), Mackenzie Graff (sr. ROH), Maddy Slamka (jr. MH), Katie Maloney (jr. S)
Other contributors: Chloe Waszak (jr. OH), Ashley Heyer (jr. S), Kayleigh Smith (jr. DS)
Outlook: The Redwings return Fedewa and Whitford, who both reached all-league last season. Those two players will ensure that St. Johns is always a tough team to beat.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Mason, 2. Jackson Lumen Christi, 3. Charlotte, 4. Eaton Rapids, 5. Jackson Northwest, 6. Parma Jackson County Western, 7. Waverly
Top players: Allie Dittmer (Eaton Rapids), Haleigh Haddad (Eaton Rapids), Erin McDermott (Mason)
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Dennis Richardson (18th season)
Top returning players: Kirstin Anderson (jr. OH), Emily Helfrich (jr. M/OH), Alyson Hill (sr. DS), Maggie Goeman (sr. M), Maddie Grace (jr. M), Ashleigh Reinbold (sr. S), Cheyenne Schmidt (sr. DS), Mikayla Skowronski (jr. M), Hannah Smith (sr. OH), Kylie Smith (so. M), Emily Vanderstelt (sr. DS), Kensey VanPatten (jr. OH), Stephanie Zimmerman (jr. OH)
Outlook: The Orioles are led by Class B all-area, all-leaguer Hannah Smith and all-league honorable mention pick Reinbold. With many returning players, Charlotte should contend for the league title.
Last year: 5th (9-15-1)
Coach: Amanda VanDeventer (2nd season)
Top returning players: Bailey Baker (5-11 sr. LOH), Allie Dittmer (6-1 sr. MH), Haleigh Haddad (5-10 sr. LOH), Stephanie Wethy (5-7 sr. S)
Other contributors: Kathryn Mills (6-0 sr. MH), Payton Benton (5-4 sr. L), Mary Price (5-8 so. ROH), Jaime Lightner (5-8 sr. ROH)
Outlook: The Greyhounds are paced by the senior duo of all-area honorable mention, all-league selection Dittmer and all-league honorable mention pick Baker. With seven starters returning, this could be the school’s best team in recent memory.
Last year: 1st
Coach: Elisa Zwick (15th season)
Top returning players: Erin McDermott (so. S), Willow Martin (so. OH), Taylor Delbridge (jr. OH), Rachel Cook (jr. L), Rachel Kinch (sr. ROH), Tori Mires (sr. DS)
Other contributors: Dani Jones (so. MH), Kaycee Richmond (so. MH), Emily VanHavel (jr. DS), Maddie Koenig (jr. DS)
Outlook: Though they lost a talented group of seniors to graduation, the Bulldogs are once again the team to beat in the CAAC Gold. McDermott made all-area honorable mention and all-league as a freshman last season.
Last year: 7th
Coach: Ruth Lamb (1st season)
Top returning players: Talia Allen (sr.), Jayla Fleming (sr.), Natalie Henry (sr.), Selena Ledesma (sr.), Jazmyn Patterson (sr.), Mikayla Thornburg (sr.)
Outlook: The Warriors, under first year coach Lamb, are rebuilding.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Williamston, 2. Lakewood, 3. Portland, 4. Corunna, 5. Lansing Catholic, 6. Stockbridge
Top players: Jaylen Barker (Portland), Kelsey Crockett (Stockbridge), Meredith Norris (Corunna), Vanessa Reynhout (Lakewood), Charlie Smith (Lakewood)
Last year: 5th (12-30-4)
Coach: Kari Carnell (3rd season)
Top returning players: Alyssa Nickels (sr. L/DS), Jessica Cameron (sr. M)
Other contributor: Meredith Norris (6-1 fr. OH/S)
Outlook: The Cavaliers graduated a talented senior class but still could be poised for improvement. The addition of Norris might be the piece the team needs to move up in the league standings.
Last year: 1st (52-4)
Coach: Kellie Rowland (16th year)
Top returning players: Vanessa Reynhout (jr. OH), Charlie Smith (so. OH), Karlie Morris (so. L), Taylor Vantland (sr. DS)
Other contributors: Gabriella Shellenbarger (fr. S), Marie Hendrickson (jr. MB), Gracie Shellenbarger (jr. OH), Rebecca Kutch (fr. OH)
Outlook: The Vikings were Class B state champions last season but lost six all-leaguers to graduation. Reynhout, who was all-area honorable mention, returns and will be counted on to make sure the team continues to achieve success.
Last year: 4th (26-23-2)
Coach: Ryan Miller (2nd season)
Top returning players: Lauren Stoner (sr. L), Kathleen Maher (sr. S), Mia Coenen (sr. MB), Tori Watters (jr. S/ROH), Delaney Thompson (jr. MB)
Outlook: The Cougars lost seven seniors to graduation but return five key contributors. If all breaks right, this is a team that could be a factor in the CAAC White.
Coach: Jodi Woodman (4th season)
Top returning players: Jaylen Barker (jr. L), Mary Brooks (sr. MH), Mackenzie Hoort (sr. S)
Other contributors: Katie Williams (sr. OH), Mackayla James (sr. OH), Brooke Lanz (so. OH), Hannah Trierweiler (so. OH)
Outlook: The Raiders return Barker, who made all-league last season as a sophomore. The rest of the team is very young. But if they develop quickly, Portland could challenge for the league title.
Last year: 6th (0-6)
Coach: Natalie Learned (1st season)
Top returning players: Kelsey Crockett (sr. MB), Breanna Taylor (sr. OH), Katie Kramer (sr. OH)
Other contributors: Savahanna Mancini (jr. L/DS), Madelyn Armstrong (jr. DS), Jessica Taylor (fr. DS)
Outlook: The Panthers have all-leaguer Crockett back and “strong presence in the middle and outside.” Learned is hopeful that, with improvement in passing, Stockbridge can compete with any team.
Last year: 2nd (21-15-7)
Coach: Sarah Conklin (1st season)
Top returning players: Caitlyn Chick (sr. S), Ella Kraft (sr. L), Paige Dutcher (jr. OH), Madison Seaman (jr. OH/RS)
Other contributor: Renee Sturm (so. OH)
Outlook: The Hornets had a strong senior group last season and will be looking for players to step up and fill their shoes under first-year head coach Conklin.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Potterville, 2. Pewamo-Westphalia, 3. Dansville, 4. Laingsburg, 5. Bath, 6. Fulton, 7. Fowler, 8. Portland St. Patrick, 9. Saranac
Top players: Elizabeth Beachnau (Portland St. Patrick), Victoria Hedemark (Dansville), Amber Morton (Dansville), Candace Martin (Pewamo-Westphalia), Katie Peterson (Potterville), Sarah Peterson (Potterville), Alexis Snider (Laingsburg), Andrea Spitzley (Pewamo-Westphalia), McKenzie West (Potterville)
Coach: Kristen McIntyre (30th season)
Top returning players: Sadie Bass (sr. OH), Kylie Adams (sr. OH), Allison Goward (sr. OPP), Shianne Dilday (jr. S)
Other contributors: April Svendsen (so. MH), Emily Angell (fr. MH), Jessica Stoskopf (fr. OH)
Outlook: The Bees have a young team that will likely hover around the middle of the pack this season in the CMAC. With one of the most experienced coaches in the state, expect that young squad to develop quickly.
Last year: 5th (21-16-5)
Coach: Heidi Bumpus (1st season)
Top returning players: Amber Morton (sr. MH/OH), Caitlyn Sollid (jr. MH), Loren Laux (sr. L/DS), Taylor Bullion (sr. S)
Other contributors: Victoria Hedemark (jr. OH), Taylor Hoefling (sr. OH/MH)
Outlook: The Aggies are led by Morton, who earned second-team all-league last season. Coming off a district title, this team could take another step forward in 2013.
Last year: 8th (18-26)
Coach: Patty Feldpausch (8th season)
Top returning players: Kelsie Feldpausch (sr. OH), Brianna Feldpausch (sr. L), Danielle Piggott (jr. M)
Other contributors: Aubrey Snyder (jr. OH), Kara Schafer (jr.)
Outlook: The Eagles return both Feldpausch girls, who were honorable mention in the CMAC last season. Overall, it’s a young team but one that could still make some noise.
Last year: 3rd (7-5)
Coach: Tracy Beadlescomb (16th season)
Top returning players: Amanda Madden (5-5 sr. OH), Hannah Baker (5-7 sr. OH), Monica Tabor (5-6 sr. S), Brooke Seida (5-5 sr. DS), Kali Nicholason (5-2 sr. DS), Morgan Ritz (5-6 sr. M)
Outlook: The Pirates lost six seniors from last year’s team and how well they are replaced will be the key for 2013. The team will look to Madden to lead them, since she made the all-league second team last season as well as Class D all-area.
Last year: 4th (24-24)
Coach: Tennille Whitmore (12th season)
Top returning players: Alexis Snider (jr. S), Hayley Smith (sr. DS), Angela Juhl (sr. DS), Kirsten Johnson (sr. MH), Emily Lancour (jr. S), Alexa Danek (sr. MH)
Other contributors: Lindsey Smith (so. S), Caitlyn Kane (so. MH), Jalynn Mitchell (so. MH), Sara Hurst (jr. LOH), Sam Mentus (so.)
Outlook: The Wolfpack are led by Snider, who was honorable mention all-conference last season. With plenty of returning varsity players, this is a team that could make the jump to the next level.
Last year: 1st (49-4-3)
Coach: Lauren Iszler (2nd season)
Top returning players: Candace Martin (5-8 sr. OH), Andrea Spitzley (5-10 sr. MH), Breanne Wieber (5-5 sr. S), Jessica Hengesbach (5-8 sr. OH)
Other contributors: Maria Heckman (5-9 jr. MH), Shannon Wohlfert (5-8 jr. MH), Erica Hanses (5-6 sr. ROH)
Outlook: The Pirates graduated LSJ Dream Team selection Madison Smith and three members of the Class C all-area team after advancing to a state quarterfinal. Their departures will make a repeat of last year very difficult. The key returnee is Class C all-area honorable mention senior Martin.
PORTLAND ST. PATRICK
Last year: 6th (19-21-6)
Coach: Randy Hodge (12th season)
Top returning players: Amber Wieber (sr. OH), Amy Wieber (sr. OH), Sydney Bartlett (sr. S), Amelia Cook (sr. MH), Haley Kihn (sr. L), Riley Smith (jr. OH), Elizabeth Beachnau (jr. MH)
Other contributors: Bailey Schneider (jr. S), Jill Spitzley (jr. MH), Amanda Beachnau (jr. OH), Grace Pearson (jr. OH), Savannah Hodge (jr. S)
Outlook: The Shamrocks bring back second-team all-leaguer Amber Wieber and honorable mention all-leaguer Elizabeth Beachnau. Although they had a losing record last season, the Shamrocks could climb in the league standings.
Last year: 2nd (32-12-2)
Coach: Don Peterson (6th season)
Top returning players: Katie Peterson (sr. OH), Sarah Peterson (sr. S), Dacey Cook (sr. MH), McKenzie West (sr. MH), Jackie McElhaney (sr. OH)
Outlook: The Vikings return five starters from last year’s highly sucessful team, including all-conference players Katie Peterson, Sarah Peterson and West. This will be one of the better teams in the area.
Coach: Julie Quist (1st season)
Top returning player: Sadie Guernsey (sr. MH)
Outlook: The Redskins are a young team that has just two seniors. It will be the first year of a rebuilding effort for Quist.
Last year: 21-18-4
Coach: Casey Hilts (3rd season)
Top returning players: Kelsey Smith (5-7 sr. MH), Meggan Andrew (5-7 jr. MH), Megan Seifert (5-3 sr. S), Megan Reed (5-8 sr. OH), Jenna Gross (5-7 sr. OH), Kyla Edgar (5-6 sr. ROH), Josi Denman (5-0 sr. L)
Other contributors: Sierra Belongia (5-9 so. OH), Katie Fabus (5-9 jr. OH), Sammy Dunlap (5-4 jr. OH/S)
Outlook: The Bears return all six starters and the starting libero from last year’s squad. Both Smith and Andrew were first-team all-conference last season and each had more than 400 kills in 2012. Seifert was accorded all-league second team honors.
Last year: 2nd (24-17-11)
Coach: Megan Merlo (3rd season)
Top returning players: Jaylin Fisher (sr. S), Mackenzie Geister (sr. OH), Tori Christiansen (sr. MB)
Outlook: The Eagles are coming off a strong season and have their sights set on a league title. Fisher was a first-team all-league selection, while Christiansen made honorable mention all-conference.
Last year: 5th (26-14)
Coach: Kevin McMillan (2nd season)
Top returning players: Abigail Brenke (5-10 jr. OH), Taylor Busse (5-8 sr. OH), Brianna Scanlon (5-7 sr. S), Maddie Delau (5-5 sr. L)
Other contributors: Kelsey Finch (5-10 so. RS), Chasity Potter (5-10 jr. MB), Courtney Smith (5-11 sr. MB)
Outlook: The Ramblers return a strong core and appear poised to challenge for their first district title in 23 years. Brenke made second team all-league last season and — joined by seniors Busse, Scanlon and Delau — gives the team a veteran edge it has lacked in the past.
Last year: 3rd (22-21-6)
Coach: Brandy Gutting (7th season)
Top returning players: Barbie Broomfield (5-9 sr. MH), Marilynn Decker (5-7 sr. DS), Kendra Miller (5-7 sr. S)
Other contributors: Averi Munro (5-9 so. OH), Mackenzie Adams (5-10 so. OH)
Outlook: With all-league honorable mention pick Broomfield and Decker returning, the Orioles have the experience to contend for a league title. The key will be several younger players that will need to step up.
Last year: 0-8
Coach: Brooke Kemler (2nd season)
Top returning players: Alexis Lyons (sr. S), Sammie Drivers (sr. MH), Emily House (sr. DS)
Other contributors: Alex Elowsky (so. L), Clare Theriautt (jr. OH)
Outlook: The Spartans should improve on last season’s performance due to a strong senior class. Drivers, Lyons and House were honorable mention all-conference last year.
Coach: Sarah Carpenter (5th season)
Top returning players: Kandys Larsen (sr. S), Hadley Joppie (sr. OH), Marissa Pierce (sr. DS), Olivia Ricketts (jr. MH)
Outlook: The Lions have plenty of talent back that includes Larsen and Ricketts, who both made honorable mention all-league last season.
Last year: 5th (13-14-2)
Coach: Kelly Offrink (15th season)
Top returning players: Aleena Janousek (jr. MH), Loren Westlake (so. L), Chelsea Meeker (sr. OH), Jessica Griffin (sr. S)
Other contributors: Taylor Holmes (so. S), Sarah Sharp (jr. MH)
Outlook: The Eagles appear poised to improve on last year’s record. Janousek made all-league and is one of the most talented players in the area.
Last year: 9-25-2, 2-5
Coach: Jamie Mallia (1st season)
Top returning players: Maddy Seeley (sr. S/MH), Cali Anderson (jr. OH)
Other contributors: Alicia Seeley (jr. MH), Falynne Hudecz (sr. RH), Marissa Clark (jr. MH/ROH)
Outlook: The Panthers are a young team but are led by a standout in Anderson, who earned first-team all-conference and all-area. Add in Seeley, who was second-team all-conference and honorable mention all-area, and Alma has one of the better duos in the league.
Last year: 6th (11-32-2)
Coach: Doug Long (29th season)
Top returning players: Sarah Dobski (sr. OH), Jessica Constine (sr. MB), Michaela Fabus (sr. OH), Cheyenne Pfeiffer (sr. S), Amber Drury (sr. OH), Ashlee Engels (sr. OH), Paige Conley (sr. OH/MB)
Other contributors: Logan Trefil (jr. OH/S), Megan Black (jr. MB), Brooke Denovich (jr. DS/S), Lacey Micka (jr. OH)
Outlook: The Marauders are a young team but one that looks like it might make a jump under one of the more experienced coaches in the area.
Coach: Jon Thelen (1st season)
Top returning players: Hunter Hart (sr. MH), Stephanie Neff (sr. ROH), Jenna Kolloff (sr. DS/S)
Other contributors: Allison Harrison (jr. OH), Katlyn Bennett (jr. ROH/S), Leigha Kobus (so. MH), Sadie Prieskorn (jr. DS/L)
Outlook: The Blackhawks have a new coach and a new system but could be a team on the rise in 2013. There is plenty of young talent and potential for growth.
Coach: Marty Valley (1st season)
Top returning players: Kelsey Cox (sr. OH), Rosemarie Falsetta (sr. DS/S), Rachel Porter (sr. L/DS), Lauren Royce (sr. DS/L), Gwyneth Wortz (sr. M/OH)
Other contributors: Kelsey Blood (jr.), Nikki Rakestraw (jr. MH), Morgan Valley (so. S)
Outlook: The Pilgrims are playing as an independent this season. With several seniors, the squad will have some experience to draw on from past success.
Last year: (6-10 in Mid-South Conference)
Coach: Cassandra Carter (5th season)
Top returning players: Monesha Harris (5-10 sr. MH), Chynna Caldwell (5-4 sr. OH), Twikia Harris (5-4 sr. S)
Other contributors: Madelyn Vanderlaan (5-11 so. MH)
Outlook: The Hawks return a pair of second team all-league seniors in Monesha Harris and Caldwell and look to make a run at the Mid-South Conference title.
— David Cassilo and Jack Dowd