Prep Girls Volleyball: Poway High, Del Norte loaded with veterans
By Michael Bower
There is no shortage of talent in girls volleyball this year. Poway and Del Norte are loaded with returnees and both are threats to reach the CIF San Diego Section championship game in their respective divisions.
Meanwhile, Rancho Bernardo first-year coach Andrea Sienko is excited about her group of talented youngsters and experienced veterans.
Here is a closer look at each team:
•Coach: Breezy Ambort, 2nd year.
•Opener: Sept. 7 at Fall Classic Tournament.
•Last year: 20-14, 7-3 PL; Eliminated in SDS Division I semifinals.
•Top Returnees: OH, Becca Grant, Sr.; OH, Blair Ehrlich, Sr.; Lib., Shabnam Bonyadi, Sr.; S, Kelsey Horvath, Jr.; MB, Kendall Sieber, Jr.; OH, Haley Berner, Sr.
•Top Newcomers: OH, Paige Ehrlich, Sr.
•Outlook: The Titans are loaded with returnees, as the team only graduated four seniors from last year’s squad which lost in the Division I semifinals.
Poway is stacked with strong hitters, including 2011 All-CIF player Grant, Blair Ehrlich and Berner. Setter Horvath also returns, as Poway should have an explosive offense.
“Experience is in our favor,” Poway coach Ambort said. “We are going to try to focus on working hard and being disciplined on defense and serve receives.”
Ambort says serving will be another strong point to the team this year. Grant and Bonyadi are two of Poway’s top servers. But the Titans will need to put an emphasis on solid defense in order to dethrone defending Palomar League and Division I champion, Torrey Pines. Newcomer to the Palomar League, Canyon Crest Academy, will also be in the mix for a league title.
“Canyon Crest is definitely a team that everyone in our league will have to pay attention to,” Ambort said. “Torrey Pines had a bunch of great young players last year so they are great again.”
Still, the Titans have the experience and the depth to make a push once playoff time rolls around.
“Our goal every year is to try to make it to the finals,” Ambort said. “It is the tradition of the school.”
•Coach: Andrea Sienko, 1st year.
•Opener: Sept. 11 vs. West Hills, 6 p.m.
•Last year: 13-17, 4-6 PL; Eliminated in SDS Division I quarterfinals.
•Top Returnees: MB, Jessica Harris, Sr.; OH, Denise Meier, Sr.; OH, Tori McIntyre, Sr.
•Top Newcomers: S, Ashley Moore, Soph.; Lib, Yvette Cho, Soph.
•Outlook: The Broncos have a nice mix of experienced players and youth. The team will carry seven seniors, two juniors and five sophomores. Coach Sienko, in her first season, already loves her teams aggressive nature.
“That’s what I like the most about this team,” she said. “Being aggressive is the biggest thing for us. We have a lot of heart. We are talented and young with a little experience to lead the way.”
Ball control and defense will be the strength of the Broncos. Returning middle blocker Harris and junior Sarah White, a Notre Dame-bound pitcher on the softball team, should lead the way at the net.
Moore, a sophomore setter in her first year on varsity, should have plenty of solid hitters to feed. Senior hitters Meier and McIntyre are the likely top two targets for Moore. Sienko knows her team needs to continue to improve throughout the season in order to compete with the hefty competition in the Palomar League.
“Our goal right now is not looking at wins and losses,” she said. “I am trying to work towards our strengths right now, ball control and defense and wearing other people out. We are going to wear teams out and earn points.”
•Coach: Nathan Rendon, 2nd year.
•Opener: Sept. 7 at West Hills Fall Classic.
•Last year: 22-9, 8-2 VL; Eliminated in SDS Division III semifinals.
•Top Returnees: OH, Lexi Reddick, Sr.; OH, Sierra Rhoades, Sr.; S, Jordan Gerwig, Jr.; OH, McClaren Kennedy, Jr.; Lib., Tammy Allen, Sr.; MH, Caitlin Cole, Jr.;
•Top Newcomers: Util., Kayla Evans, Soph.; MH, Hailey Gordon, Soph.
•Outlook: The Nighthawks have officially entered their prime. The squad boasts experience, talent, depth and maturity.
Del Norte made a nice run to the semifinals last year, so the expectations — with most of that team returning — are high.
With two-time Valley League champions Canyon Crest Academy exiting the league, the road to the crown is a little less bumpy. But a league title is only one goal for these Nighthawks, a trip to the Division III finals is also on the list.
“I would hope everyone’s goal is to make it to the championship game and getting to the semis last year, unless somebody else got just as tough, I would expect us to be there,” Del Norte coach Rendon said.
The Nighthawks have beefed up their schedule in preparation, adding La Costa Canyon and the prestigious La Jolla Beach Invitational tournament. Del Norte also kept Canyon Crest on the schedule as a non-league game.
“We have six of seven starters returning and all six back are in their third year of varsity,” Rendon said. “To me, this team is much better than last year. The experience, the maturity and the newcomers are more experienced than our bench players were last year. It is just a different mind set.”
Capturing a section title will be tough in Division III with defending state champion Cathedral Catholic standing in the way. But reaching the state playoffs is definitely not out of the question for Del Norte.
No related posts.
Short URL: http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=27837