STAUNTON – Grace Christian’s volleyball team is tired of tying for the VACA North regional volleyball crown, and this year the Warriors would like to do something about it.
“Our goal is to win the regional outright,” said Warrior coach Jody Lohr. “We’ve tied (United Christian Academy) three years in a row. After that, we would like to win the first round of state, and be in the tournament at the end. Eight teams go to the state. We would like to be in the top four.”
If VACA doesn’t pan out, the Warriors are also in VISVA (Virginia Independent Schools Volleyball Association). Last year, Grace Christian was 12th in Division III and had to play the No. 1 seed. “Our goal is to be in the top six this year,” Lohr said.
To accomplish those goals, the Warriors will send eight players to the court. Of those, all but two were on the team last year. All told, the team lost four starters, three of whom were seniors.
Overall, the Warriors should be a good serving team this year, and the squad has power. Consistency, however, is a concern.
“It’s mostly a timing issue,” Lohr said.
Height-wise, the team is average, in the 5-foot-9 to 5-11 range.
Danielle Hagenseker returns to the rotation. “She was a setter last year, but she’s also an outside hitter,” the Warrior coach said.
Also back is junior Marigrace Grow who plays the middle. “She has a 23-inch vertical jump, so she will hopefully be our powerhouse,” Lohr said.
Freshman Laura Shaw played the back row last year, and will be one of the team’s setters this time around.
Hope Campbell is the lone senior on the team and is one of its middle hitters. “She is the second middle hitter we have,” Lohr said. “And she does a lot of blocking for us.”
Sophomore Merav Yeomans is slated to do some of the setting, as well as play defense while junior Natalie Stevens is the team’s libaro and defensive specialist.
Emma Elam is the youngest player. She is an eighth grader with a lot of skills. She is an outside hitter who can play the middle.
Two freshmen, Jacqueline Showalter and Marina Ridenour, will probably play both varsity and jayvee.
In VACA North, Lohr again said as always that tough competition will come from UCA. He also sees Stuart Hall as a good team.
Also, Timberlake Christian from VACA South is a formidable foe. Timberlake Christian was second in the state last year, and it is the Warriors first opponent this season with the contest on its floor on August 22.