New York —
GOLDEN CIRCLE VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW
Mildred Lady Eagles
Coach: JoAnna Vaden (4th season)
2012 record: 21-19, 7-3 in district.
Players to watch: Savannah Pritchett (Jr., MH), Joanna Tapley (Soph., OH), Callie Bland (Jr., libero/setter), Morgan McCreary (OH).
2013 outlook: The loss of All-Golden Circle Player of the year Olivia Farmer, and All-Golden Circle first-team hitter Audra Springer leave big spots to fill on the court, but last year’s success in which Mildred made it to the playoffs for the first time in history speaks volumes for the program. There is a lot coming back, including Bland, who was an All-Golden Circle fist-team libero and the district libero/defensive specialist. There’s also Pritchett, a 5-10 force, and Tapley, a 5-9 outside hitter who was hurt for most of the year last season. She was one of the top hitters on the team as a freshman and sophomore before she was injured. The outlook is very good for Mildred as Vaden and her kids build on what the program has already established.
Rice Lady Bulldogs
Coach: Donna Gent (6th season)
2012 record: 21-9, 8-2 in district.
Players to watch: Hanna Owens (Sr., setter), Sadie Gent (Jr., OH), Briana Weaver (Sr., OH), Trista McGee (Sr., libero), Kamron McGee (Jr., MB).
2013 outlook: Gent, who was an All-Golden Circle first-team player and a first-team district player, returns to lead the way, and Owens was an 87 percent server who had 85 assists. Rice lost Sarah Gent, who was the All-Golden Circle Setter of the Year, and Celina Smithers, who was the All-Golden Circle Offensive MVP, but the outlook still looks good for Rice.
Blooming Grove Lady Lions
Coach: Kathy Wilganowski (2nd season)
2012 record: 4-20 and 1-9 in district.
Players to watch: Steely Southard (Sr., MB), Allie Jordan (Sr., MB), Joyce Ramirez (Sr., OH/MB), Kim Mack (Sr., DS), Falcon Thompson (Sr., setter), Rachel East (Sr., OH).
2013 outlook: Blooming Grove brings back six players, including four starters and the Lady Lions have eight seniors on this year’s team, which means leadership and experience will be a key for a team that looks to be much improved over a year ago.