New York —
Wortham Lady Bulldogs
Coach: Johnny Ward (1st season)
2012 record: 10-4 in district.
Players to watch: Kendle Rhodes (Soph., OH), Elisha Libhart (Jr. OH), Sarah Sessions (Sr., libero) Kierra Busby (Sr., OH).
2013 outlook: Ward takes over the program from his wife, Lori, who was the volleyball coach last year. He helped out in every way a year ago, and even drove the bus, so he knows the kids and has high expectations for his team, which plays in the same district with state power Cayuga.
“Our goal is to reach the regional tournament for sure, and play Cayuga there,’’ said Ward, whose team won the first round of the playoffs last year. Wortham lost All-Golden Circle Co-Blocker of the year Amber Libhart and All-Golden Circle first-team players Kennedy Vogel and Kenzie Sessions, but the Lady Bulldogs bring back eight players, and Ward believes this year’s team could make a deep run in the playoffs. Elisha Libhart is Amber’s younger sister and Sarah Sessions is Kenzie’s cousin. They are both big hitters and Rhodes, the team’s setter, was the Newcomer of the Year in the district last season.
Hubbard Lady Jags
Coach: Sam Scribner (1st season).
2013 record: NA
Players to watch: Nakaila Banks (Sr., OH), Kate Saucke (Sr., all-around player), Jasmine Parks (Sr., MH), Amy Anz (Sr., setter).
2013 outlook: Scribner, who is Hubbard’s baseball coach, takes over the volleyball program, bringing a lot of optimism to a program that didn’t reach the playoffs last year. Banks was the leading hitter on the team last season and Saucke was the setter last season. Scribner said Saucke can play anywhere and called her “an all-around player.” With four starters back, including Sauke, one of the most talented softball players in this part of the state, Scribner feels confident his kids can have a good season.
“They know how to compete,’’ Scribner said. “This is the same group of girls who made it to the regional finals in softball, so I know they know how to compete.’’