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2019 VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
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The Denmark volleyball team celebrates after winning a point in its match against West Forsyth on Aug. 14, 2018 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
Forsyth Central

Coach: Brian Welsch, fourth season

Last season: 13-19 overall, 0-5 Area 5-7A

Key returners: OH Kennedy Allemand, Sr.; OH Emma Harding, Sr.; OH Shelby Smallwood, Sr.; MB Katelyn Hales, Sr.; MB Kaitlin Stokes, Sr.; RS Faith Watson, Sr., DS Ariana Cox, Jr.; RS Malone Davis, Jr.; S Emma Kiser, So.; OH/DS Megan McCarthy, So.; OH Sarah Pipping, So.

Key newcomers: DS Aly Wilson, Jr.; S Reise Johnson, So.; MB Natalie Roberts, So.

Outlook: Overall, 2018 was an improvement for Central volleyball, but the Bulldogs still could not get a win in area play, which is an obstacle they’ll be hoping to overcome in 2019. Experience will be an asset with 11 returning players, with six of them being seniors. Head coach Brian Welsch feels like his team is the most confident in serving and defense, but sees some improvement to be made in offensive consistency.


Lambert

Coach: Missey Hall, eighth season

Last season: 33-10 overall, 4-1 Area 5-7A, lost in the third round of the Class 7A state playoffs

Key returners: OH/S Ally Hall, Sr.; OH/RS Sarah Black, Jr.; MH Nidhisha Kancharla, Jr.; L/DS Clarisse Evangelista, Jr.; L/DS Miranda Hardin, Jr.; DS/S Megan White, Jr.; S Claire Mathauer, Sr.

Key newcomers: OH Gillian Mathauer, So.; MH Jordan White, Fr.; OH/RS Ella Beyer- Fr.; S Nithilaa Karthikeyan, Fr.

Outlook: Lambert lost standout outside hitter Ally Hall to an ACL tear in the middle of last year, but the Longhorns still found a way to move forward and had a mostly successful 2018. Hall has been cleared to come back for her senior season, which should be a big boost for a team that has lost some other key contributors from last year. Lambert feels like its offense and blocking should be key strengths, but are still working on serve/receive and ball control.

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Lambert's Ally Hall, a Middle Tennessee State commit, is looking to come back strong after tearing her ACL during her junior year. - photo by Ian Frazer

West Forsyth

Coach: Jake Dickey, seventh season

Last season: 24-22 overall, 1-5 Area 5-7A, lost in the Class 7A semifinals

Key returners: S Olivia Mooney, Sr.; L Kayla Goetzman, Sr.; MH Abby Kingsbury, Jr.; RS/S Carra Sassack, So.

Key newcomers: OH Lymaris Vasquez, Fr.; OH/MH Reece Rhoads, Fr.; OH Karsyn Theobald, So.

Outlook: The Wolverines peaked at just the right time to make an improbable run to the state semifinals as a No. 4 seed last year, but for 2019, there will be some changes to the roster with key players like Annie Veldhuis and Olivia Dodd now graduated. West will still have some returners from last year’s historic team, but will also have some new, younger players in key positions. West’s goals haven’t changed with the departures, though, and hopes that the new starters can step up to help get them back to the playoffs.

 
North Forsyth

Coach: Kelly and Drew Cecil, fourth season

Last season: 22-21 overall, 2-3 Area 5-7A

Key returners: MB Kate Perryman, Jr.; OH Halle Vercek, Jr.; L Alyssa Maxwell, Jr.; S Anna Grace Cheatham, Sr.; MB Kylie Hernandez, Sr.; RS Reagan Mercado, Sr.; RS Maddie Vincent, Sr.; RS Mallory Butcher, So.; RS Samantha Mehler, So.

Key newcomers: S Nathalia Quintero, Fr.; OH Maddie McCafferty, Fr.; OH Ana Colon, Jr.; DS Mia Torrence, Fr.; RS Annie Carpenter, Sr.; S Jessie Markle, Jr.; DS Hannah Hollingsworth, Jr.; RS Olivia Watterson, Fr.

Outlook: The Raiders only had one senior last year, which happened to be 2018 All-County Player of the Year Mary Ellen Enright. She’s now graduated, leaving behind a team that’s still pretty young. North still has some standout returners, though, led by first team all-county selection Kete Perryman, who should contribute well as a blocker. Blocking and serving should be the Raiders’ biggest strengths, but just like they did last year, they’ll have to contend with the inexperience of a young group.

 

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North Forsyth's Kate Perryman upped her dedication to volleyball as a sophomore and elevated herself to one of the best players in the county. - photo by Ian Frazer


South Forsyth

Coach: Steffi Legall-Riddle, first season

Last season: 25-12 overall, 6-1 Area 5-7A, lost in the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs

Key returners: MB Olivia Grady, Sr.; OH Avery Svehla, Jr.; S Phoebe Dean, Jr.; MB Katie Jacobson, Sr.; L Gaby Condes Borres, Jr.

Key newcomers: S Claire Jenkins, Fr.; OH Brinley Bramwell, Jr.

Outlook: There will be some changes for the War Eagles this season, with former assistant Steffi Legall-Riddle taking the reins as head coach and 2018 first-team all-county outside hitter Molly Bergin now graduated. Thankfully, South feels like it has depth at all positions to help replace that lost production, but there will still be some youth that needs to be overcome for the War Eagles to get back to the Area championship game.

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South Forsyth's Avery Svehla hits a bump set during the War Eagles' game against Milton on Oct. 11, 2018 at South Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Denmark

Coach: Jaime Maxey, second season

Last season: 3-37 overall, 0-7 Area 7-4A

Key returners: MB Olivia Woodard, Jr.; S Caroline Hare, Jr.

Key newcomers: DS Madeline Pittman, Sr.; OH Dominae Jordan, Fr.; MB Ella Collier, So.

Outlook: The Danes’ first season was a rough one, with just three wins for the entire season and no victories in area play. A lot of that can be chalked up to youth and inexperience, which is a factor that Denmark will be battling again this year. There is some good news, though: Everyone from last year is back, and the Danes are also bringing in some new faces that they expect to make an immediate impact. For the program’s second year of existence, Denmark will be looking to improve, and if they’re fortunate enough, make the state playoffs for the first time.

 

Pinecrest Academy

Coach: Meg Bohn, second season, sixth overall

Last season: 1-24 overall, 1-9 in Area 5 AA/A, lost in the first round of the Class AA/A Private playoffs

Outlook: Pinecrest was only able to win one game last season, but it was a very important victory. The Paladins’ region win over Mount Pisgah Christian put them ahead of winless Greenforest in the area standings, which led to Pinecrest making the playoffs. They lost in the first round, and this year, the Paladins will be rebuilding with the loss of four seniors. Inexperience will be a hurdle to overcome with several players having no competitive experience at all, but head coach Meg Bohn feels like her team is emotionally mature, with underclassmen that can contribute well above their years.