By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
Preview leaves fans left to wonder
Saturday night in Bainbridge, the eight SVC schools got
together for the 2010 volleyball preview. Each match
consisted of two games to 21 (they start the scoreboard at
a 4-4 tie and still played to 25) and the two teams played
two sets.

Like any sport, many SVC volleyball coaches mixed and
matched their lineups throughout the night not showing
everything to the league and allowing their entire rosters to
get a taste of varsity volleyball. In volleyball - a game that
relies so much on organization, teamwork, timing, and
chemistry, it can really lead to some inconsistent play.

What fans do see even in a preview setting is the
individual improvements around the league as well as
some of the newcomers to the league. This was quite
evident in the night’s first match-up between host
Paint Valley and the Lady Pioneers of Zane Trace. Zane
Trace is anchored by their senior setter Jenna Wiget.
Wiget no longer has last year’s Player of the Year Jess
Roepke to set up; however, she does have several athletic
hitters at the net including freshman Haley Carle who is
sure to make an impact in this year’s league race. For
Paint Valley, the Bearcats played 15 kids at the preview
so it was tough to gauge where they are at going into the
season. They do return a great athlete in Abbie Walls who
is going to play libero this season. They also have a solid
freshman in Taylor Baker who appears to be one of the
setters in Coach Knight’s 6-2 offense. As for
Saturday’s action, Zane Trace rolled in both sets.

In the second match between Piketon and Westfall, I
thought Piketon appeared to be much more athletic than a
year ago. They return Alex Southworth and now insert
freshman Aleah Pelphrey giving the Lady Redstreaks two
6-0, all-around athletes who can really impact the game in
a big way. As for Westfall, the Lady Mustangs split their
lineup making it tough to truly see what their team will
look like come Tuesday night. The biggest thing that
caught my attention was a healthy Olivia Cobb. A year
ago as a freshman Cobb was solid when able to play, but
she battled injuries. This year she appears to be getting off
the floor extremely well, and I believe she is ready for a
monster season. In this match, the two teams split the
two sets with Piketon winning the first and Westfall
winning the second.

Adena and Unioto took the floor in match number three.
Adena was very impressive as they have a long list of
things to be excited about this season. The Lady Warriors
welcome back setter Cadie Cory to run their 5-1 offense
after Cory missed all of last season with a knee injury.
Senior Hannah Halcomb shows her great all-around
volleyball skill as she after setting the Warriors all the way
to the state finals a year ago will now wear the different
colored jersey at the libero position. Adena will be
without Kelsey Bielanow due to injury, so hitters like
Jenny Grigsby, Olivia Arledge, and a very impressive
sophomore Alyssa Kennedy will share the role of carrying
the offensive load for the Lady Warriors. As for Unioto,
they appear to have a lot of pieces in place to have a great
season. They have great size and athleticism at the net led
by Madison Davis. The lefty Davis is joined by great size
including Hannah Miller, Sydney Coman, and Jenna
Carman. My biggest concern here is their ability to
consistently allow their hitters to attack. The Tanks are
bringing along some setters who are new to the varsity
level, and outside of Madison Trainer and Kristen
McCarty, they could have some trouble passing the ball
consistently. In fairness to Unioto, they were defending
Adena’s hitting attack and returning Adena’s
serving, so it may not be as big of issue as it appeared to
be Saturday night. As for Saturday’s scoreboard,
Adena took both sets in this third preview match-up.

In the nightcap, Southeastern and Huntington split two
sets with Southeastern winning the first set and
Huntington winning the second. The Panthers are led by
some great athletes like Merrilee Dresbach and Brianna
Weese, but the girl who really caught my eye was a much
improved sophomore in Morgan Jones. Jones looked a lot
more comfortable at the net than a year ago and looks like
she is going to be a major difference-maker for
Southeastern this season. As for Huntington, Megan Fultz
returns as one of the elite players in the conference and
Jackie Kellough returns as well. The Lady Huntsmen also
have a few role players that can impact the game at the
net, but their major question mark will be their ability to
consistently pass and set to allow these elite players at
the net to attack.

As for my predictions, it is tough to say off of tonightâ
€™s action. Adena without question is the major favorite
to win another gold volleyball, but after that, you could
make an argument for four – maybe even five – teams
to finish in that two hole. I don’t know if this yearâ
€™s league is going to provide as good of volleyball as the
SVC fans are accustomed to seeing in years past, but I do
think the parity in the middle and bottom of the league
will provide us all with some four and five-set thrillers.

Action gets started this upcoming week…click
here to
see the week one schedule.