|Now is a time for questionsâ€¦
answers come later
|EMAIL: SVCsportszone.com, I wanted to get your take on this yearâ€™s
volleyball league. I have been around SVC volleyball for a long time and have
worn a lot of hats along the way. I think this year could be fun to watch. When
you consider how close second through sixth was in last yearâ€™s league and
combine that with what Adena lost, I believe this could be the year that SVC
volleyball gets its first shakeup in a long time. What are your thoughts on this
yearâ€™s league? Is Adena the best still? I think Huntington, Westfall, and
maybe Unioto and Zane Trace could close the gap. Southeastern will better too.
Preseason favorites are always based on â€œpaperâ€� in terms of what teams have done, what they
bring back, and what a person thinks is going to happen. With this in mind, I could see where people are
predicting more parity; however, the persona of Adena volleyball over the past two decades make it
tough not to label them the favorite every year until someone actually proves different throughout the 14-
game conference schedule.
I realize Adena lost one of the great SVC setters in recent history in Cadie Cory as well as an incredible
threat at the net in Olivia Arledge. They also lost some key back row pieces. The thing with Adena is they
have lost talented pieces in bunches before, and they seem to always reload rather than rebuild. I believe
this yearâ€™s Adena team could be a great example of this ongoing talent. The Warriors return a lot of
solid players from last yearâ€™s Final Four run and Coach Smith has a 17-2 JV squad from a year ago
that should give some â€œvarsity readyâ€� talent as well.
Beyond Adenaâ€™s incredible tradition, I definitely see why someone could objectively analyze this yearâ
€™s volleyball league and think shakeup. Huntington has elite talent at the top of its roster. Jackie
Kellough is a POY candidate. Alayna Lytle is the elite back row player in the league, and Halie Ingram
returns as a 5-1 setter who quarterbacked the green and white to a 10-4 SVC mark and a Sweet 16
postseason run. With Cory and Uniotoâ€™s Lauren Stout gone to graduation, Ingram is definitely the
premiere all-the-way-around setter returning in the SVC in 2012
Obviously, if a team is arguably the best at half the spots on the floor, they are going to be a title
contender, but I think Huntingtonâ€™s question marks come as Coach Magill fills out the remainder of
her rotation. Huntington is usually a team that plays really hard and plays big at the net, but the Lady
Huntsmen have holes that sometimes make them vulnerable to lesser talented opponents as well as to
talented, well-coached teams capable of attacking certain areas on the court. With the exception of Lytle,
this is a team that struggles to pass consistently. As for this yearâ€™s depth for Huntington, I do think
they have a few options to fill some spots, but only time will show the improvements of their role players.
Keep in mind we are talking about some great athletes in this discussion such as Layne Beasley who could
possibly take on a bigger role this fall.
Westfall is going to be good. Olivia Cobb is an incredible talent and she is going to have some great size at
the net to complement her great setting and hitting ability. The biggest question mark here comes in the
back row play. How well will the Lady Mustangs pass? If the answer is well, this team could become
dominate at the net with Cobb and Company; however, if the answer to this question is not so well, this
team could struggle to beat the elite teams.
As for Unioto, they definitely have a hole to fill at setter, but I do think this team is going to be much more
athletic than in yearâ€™s past. It is hard to comment in detail on actual positions at this point for this team,
because it is hard to say what the rotation will look like. I do believe this is a program with a very talented
sophomore class such as Alexis Overly, Taylor Overly, and Karee Neff to name a few, that should
provide Unioto with more depth of athletes at the net and across the back row. Coach Ridenour does
have key roles to fill; however, just based on personnel, this could be a very talented, young volleyball
I think this is a year that will see Zane Trace take great strides. This yearâ€™s junior class led by Hayley
Carle has always been very good at volleyball and it appears it could be adding some key pieces back to
the rotation. I look for this team to be a year more experienced at setter, and if the passing holds up, I like
the athletes that Coach Merriman is going to have available to her at the net. This team showed some signs
at times last fall, but more consistency will be needed in 2012 if they are going to become a legitimate top-
As for Southeastern, I am not sure they can be a true title contender. I do give them credit for their ability
to compete with some of the best teams last year. The Panthers beat Zane Trace once and took both
Huntington and Westfall to the five-set limit.
As the calendar turns to July, we are getting close to SVC fall sports. Continue to check the website this
month as I take a look at a few other emails pertaining to fall sports. Also feel free to send your own
comments and/or questions to email@example.com.