NEW CONCORD – John Glenn ruled the Muskingum Valley League last season, going 16-0 and finishing 20-3 overall.
The Muskies lost six players from that squad, including All-Ohioan and MVL offensive player of the year Taylour Fatheree and District 12 first teamer Brittany Fraunfelter.
Seniors Sydney McCollister (middle hitter) and Leisha Price (outside hitter) and sophomores Brooke Fatheree and Maddie McGee (middle hitter) are the four letterwinners back for fifth-year coach Christie McGee, who remains focused on building fundamentals and consistency.
McCollister is a two-year letterwinner and had 97 kills, Fatheree was the leading setter with 467 assists and had 45 aces and McGee had 108 kills.
Newcomers to the varsity are senior outside hitter Saydee Baughman, junior defensive specialist Quinci Jones, sophomores Erin Dickson (setter) and Maria Johnson (outside hitter) and freshmen Mollie Founds (middle hitter) and Karlie Zumbro (outside hitter).
Craig Axline, who has coached for 34 years, takes over the Generals, who had 17 wins and lost several players to graduation, including Bailey Lotozo, Tiffany Myers, Ali George and Brittany Meadows.
Senior hitters Kaitlyn Cooke (middle) and Tessa Fry (outside), juniors Morgan Householder (outside hitter) and Donna Swinehart (setter) and sophomores Maddy Trowbridge (libero-outside hitter) and Addelyne Smith (middle-outside hitter) all return for Axline.
Five juniors, Anne Underwood (setter), Katrina Schevevront (middle hitter), Kaylee Lentz (defensive specialist), Elle Wilson (setter) and Haley Bowen (middle hitter), and sophomore outside hitter Jordyn Cipriano highlight the newcomers to the squad.
Axline sees Tri-Valley, Philo and Maysville among the favorites in the league, as the Generals will lean on their strengths.
“We lack experience and size, but we have good athletes with good attitudes and work ethics,” he said.
The Ceramics also have a new coach as Kim Russell-Reed takes over the program, which went 2-14 in the MVL and 5-15 overall. She has coached club volleyball for 15 years and been with the Crooksville program for seven.
Four players with varsity experience are back in senior defensive specialist Jordan Smith, junior hitter Jade Thompson, sophomore setter Lauren Rambo, an All-MVL honorable mention selection, and sophomore middle hitter Lacie Ebert.
Senior hitter Alli Ratliff, junior defensive specialist Jamesca Davis, sophomore hitter Alexis Duffy and freshman hitter Carson Miller are new to the varsity team.
Reed is entering this season with a new approach.
“Winning isn’t normal — every match has only one winner,” she said. “That’s why we are not training like any other program. Several people have complimented our team on our work ethic, and we are dedicated to finishing strong this year.”
This is the third of the Times Recorder’s fall sports previews. Coaches have until the end of the week to submit information via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed the form to 740-450-6759. Any questions, call 740-450-6761.