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Downriver League volleyball preview PHOTOS

  • Photo by Tom Alexander Allen Park’s Alyssa LaFace is back for her final outing as a Jaguar and will look to lead her team to another Downriver League title.
  • Senior middle blocker Reagan Kusibab is back in the lineup this year for Roosevelt. News-Herald File Photo
  • Lincoln Park senior Brittany Richmond will serve as a captain for the 2014 Railsplitters squad. News-Herald File Photo


Last year the Allen Park Jaguars had their best season in school history, making it all the way to regional finals, but dropped the match to the Bedford Mules in four. They finished with a 12-1 record, claiming the title as Downriver League Champs, which they shared in 2012 with Woodhaven.

The Jags have some rebuilding to do, losing four starting seniors; Stephanie Maseah, Abby Dawson, Veronica Leonard, and Carly Cox.

Anchored by their seniors, setter Felicia Bozman and outside hitter Alyssa LaFace, Allen Park will be looking for other returning players Erin Fish, Natalie Schlesinger, and Audrey Newstead to take on more of a leadership role this season.

“Losing four seniors will be tough to overcome. I am looking for Alyssa and Felicia to really step up and have their talent and experience available to the team to develop the confidence of the younger players. Both are great players, captains, and role models for the program so I have high standards set for them,” said Coach Chris Bozman.

Coach Bozman and the team have goals set to place in the top five in their league, as well as to work hard to make it to gold playoffs in the three tournaments they are scheduled to attend, and to appear in the district finals again.





Roosevelt



With seven returning varsity players, including three starters, the Bears have high hopes of building off of their success in 2013.

Roosevelt will move into 2014 with two new head coaches at the reins; Al Edwards and Megan Fronczak.

Returning to the starting lineup are senior middle blocker Reagan Kusibab, junior outside hitter Alea Kainz and junior defensive specialist Alyssa Stringa.

Other returners include senior setter Alicia Hanna, senior outside hitter Ally Peterson, junior defensive specialist Selene Pauley and junior middle blocker Amanda Ynclan.

New comers include junior middle blocker Tayiah Abraham, junior outside hitter Karly Bourasaw, junior outside hitter Madison Lipinski, sophomore defensive specialist Andrea Baker, sophomore setter Hannah Lavis and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Miller.

Also new to the roster are freshmen setter/middle blocker Madison Hamilton and setter/outside hitter Katie Thorington.

Edwards is excited about his team’s possibilities this season.

“Their ball control and defense is really good (and) the team depth looks pretty good,” he said. “We’re about four deep in every position.

“It doesn’t seem like anybody is lagging behind and they’re working each other and pushing each other in practice.”





Trenton



Little has changed from the 2013 season to this upcoming one for the Trenton Trojans.

The program lost one key player to graduation last year, but is returning four strong seniors; Marissa Sims, Aevah Hebda, Gabby Maciag, and Lauren Solano, junior Sarah Davis, and sophomores Shelby Kersten, Izzy Olds, and Vanessa Litchard.

The girls have also welcomed juniors Cassie Vandenberg and Makayla Jorgenson to the team.

“I look forward to the growth of our two newcomers to the team this year as well as to see how our returning sophomores perform, “ said Coach Lynn Oakley. “They have improved and will be a vital asset to our success this season.”

Most of the team has been playing together for almost three years now, so they have been able to get know each very well on the court, helping them claim third place in the Downriver League last year finishing with an 8-4 record and going 22-12-3 overall.

“Our goals this season are to be strong, consistent, and aggressive every time we step on the court,” said Oakley. “The girls enjoy each other and work well as a team, they will be fun to watch, and if they stay consistent and healthy they will be tough to beat.”





Carlson



After a fifth-place finish in the Downriver league in 2013, the Carlson volleyball team is looking only to improvements this season and Coach Patrick Rice is optimistic.

“With seven returning players, including five starters, the team hopes to continue to grow as the season goes on,” he said. “We hope to be competitive in the league and are focused on playing the best volleyball we can.”

Key returners include seniors Jessica Bilot (outside hitter), Jezri Rinehart (outside hitter), Sarah Ettore (setter) and Bethany Barton (Libero).

New to the roster this season are juniors Hannah Theodorovich (middle blocker), Jessica Dillon (defensive specialist), Autumn Egan (setter/outside hitter) and Kaitlyn McCormack (outside hitter).

Rice is excited about the possibilities of his squad this season.

“We will continue to be a scrappy team and are excited about some of the new offensive capabilities we will have this season,” he said.





Anderson





The Southgate Anderson Titans volleyball program will have an assorted of fresh faces on the court this season. Last year they graduated eight seniors.

Returning this year and looking to lead their team to a winning season are seniors Liz Piesz, Amber McAllister, Kim Campau, Katelyn Shivel, and Kaelyn Sharkey.

The Titans are working hard to claim a district title this year, falling short to the Riverview Pirates in 2013.

“Our goal for this year is to limit our mistakes and to play as a team. It should be an exciting year,” says head coach Josh Short.



Woodhaven



A new coach and a few veteran players are teaming together this season with hopes for a successful 2014 campaign.

Kim Maher took over at Woodhaven and says while her team will have to battle at times, she is optimistic about the future.

Key returners for the Warriors this season include Cheyenne Licinski, Chelsea McLennon and Connor Camplin.

Also on the court is libero Christina Cobetto who Maher expects a strong season from.

“I have eight juniors and four seniors, so we’re kind of young,” Maher said. “We’re gonna get it handed to us at times, but they’ve really improved since the summer and that’s encouraging.”

Most recently the Warriors were in the Taylor tournament where they were second in pool play and advanced to the semis, losing only to Kennedy and Riverview.

“We are living day to day and our main focus is just getting better every single day so that when districts roll around we’re clicking,” Maher said. “I told the girls we’re not big, tall girls … we have to be quicker and we have to be smarter.

“We keep getting better. They’re learning where they need to be on defense and that’s 70 percent of the battle.”

The Warriors have a rematch with Kennedy to open the 2014 Downriver League season next week.



Melvindale



With nine seniors this season, the Cardinals can expect some good veteran leadership as they head into 2014.

Coach Kari Ennis says each one is a key returner and expects the team to gel together well.

“They already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and have been working together to make sure everyone has a chance to get better this year,” she said. “They are driven to win and it’s the first year since I have been coaching that I have a group of girls who want to win.”

Ennis is especially excited about Idallas, a junior outside hitter.

“She is a force to be reckoned with as she is learning how to play with this group of seniors,” she said.

The team will be led by setters/backside hitters Alyson Bradley and Marissa Wolnowski and outside hitter Chelsea Worrell this season as captains.

Overall, Ennis has high expectations for her team.

“Our overall goal is to finish higher in the league than we did last year, get to the second round of districts and make Melvindale into a volleyball program that is respected in the league,” she said.





Lincoln Park



There are many changes that are happening in the Lincoln Park Railsplitters’ volleyball program this season. Head coach Ashley Maynard will be making her debut coaching at the high school level.

Seniors captains Olivia McKinney and Brittany Richmond are looking to lead the team to many victories this year with the help from fellow classmates Madison Moore, Savannah Ferrante, Brenae Perkins, Amie Lackowski, Mallory Evans, and Akiba Stewart.

“I am very excited to display the new program being implemented here at Lincoln Park,” say Coach Maynard. “The Downriver League will be pleasantly shocked on how well this team has improved and are working to be major contenders this year.”

Maynard expects a lot out of her players this season, both newcomers and returnees, to see how the new program will influence their playing abilities.

“Our biggest goal for this season is to just keep improving. I’m already seeing it every day with these girls,” says Maynard. “I want to use our tournament games to prepare us better for conference matches. The league is competitive this year, the girls have a lot of fight in them and are ready to bring their all.”



Samantha Elliott contributed to this report

Last Updated: 9/3/2014 4:00:35 PM EST

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