|2009 SVC Volleyball
By Shayne Combs
One way to view the league this year is to use the old clichÃ©, different yearâ€¦same story. This applies to the
race for the top spot, because as usual over the past two decades in SVC Volleyball that league title looks like it
will run through Frankfort. After that, things start to get kind of interesting. You could argue that some of the other
top-half teams have taken small steps back, and the bottom-half teams have taken small steps forward. What does
that mean? I think it could mean lots of parity and lots of four and five-set thrillers in trying to sort out this years
standings â€“ especially in spots two through eight.
It was well documented a year ago, the great senior class that Adena said goodbye to; however, I doubt Coach
Smith will get much sympathy from the other SVC schools seeing how she returns four key pieces (and adds a nice
move-in) from last yearâ€™s team which was one match away from the Final Four. This group of players includes
sophomore setter Cadie Cory, who I think is the leagueâ€™s best setter. It also includes middle hitters Kelsey
Bielanow and Allison Morgan â€“ two players who are as improved as any players in the league, and Kirsti Yates â
€“ arguably the leagueâ€™s best overall female athlete.
One story that jumps out at me after watching Saturday nightâ€™s action is Westfall. Here is a team that due to
graduation, move-outs, and injuries has lost nearly their entire line-up from a year ago, yet two or three returners
joined by Olivia Cobb â€“ who I think is this yearâ€™s top incoming freshman in the league â€“ and what you
have is an example of how great programs simply reload instead of rebuilding. If this team can get solid play from
the setter position I believe Westfall could definitely challenge for the two-hole in the league standings.
The Lady Mustangs will have plenty of company in the fight for that two spot. Unioto has some great size and are
extremely athletic, but they seemed to struggle with ball control. In their defense, Adenaâ€™s offensive attack has
a lot to do with that, but I still think it is fair to label their passing game as a major question mark. I also think it is
going to take time for the Lady Shermans to find that next go-to player. With Katelyn Jinks no longer around,
where will the purple and gold go with the game on the line?
I also think Zane Trace, Huntington, and Southeastern belong in this discussion. The Lady Pioneers have experience
back at the setter position and they are led by one of the leagueâ€™s top players in Jessica Roepke. Roepke is
dominate at the net, has proven to be a solid passer who can also hit out of the back row, and her jump serve
produced a league-high 58 aces a year ago. As for Huntington, they too have some experience back. Junior Megan
Fultz returns as an all-league selection from a year ago, and Southeastern â€“ a team that took giant strides last year
â€“ returns a solid setter in Kaitlin Duarte with great size at the net.
Piketon and Paint Valley are two teams that mirror each other from the perspective that both have some athletes
that SVC fans recognize from other sports, but they are all still gaining experience on the volleyball court. Piketon
has great athletes at the net, but will have to pass better in order to give them a chance to have an impact, and Paint
Valley has some athleticism, but they really lack size and experience at the net.
It is hard to put records on predictions, but after Adena, if the league beats up on each other the way I think they
could, I could see nine or 10 wins earning second-place (keep in mind last year 9-5 was the fourth best record in the