Senior-laden Elderton has lofty goals
The goals for Elderton's volleyball team are they same ones the Lady Bobcats have had the past five seasons: win the section and go far in the playoffs.
Coming off its fifth consecutive section title, Elderton faces one question: How far can it go in the WPIAL playoffs?
"We have most of the pieces to the puzzle that were major last year," Elderton coach Dan Spencer said. "We're more athletic. We can got to where we want to go, but when you are small, there's no taking a night off."
Just like last season, when Elderton reached the WPIAL quarterfinals, the team lacks size. And, just like last year, the Lady Bobcats will be led by Landis Hohl and Brandy McCourt.
Hohl is the libero, and McCourt is the setter. Spencer called Hohl "the rock" of the team, and he said that she and McCourt are "critical for our success."
"They both set the tone for what we do," Spencer said. "If they are having a good game, we have a good chance. If they are having a bad game, start the bus."
Hohl and McCourt are two of four seniors who have started since they were freshmen. The other two four-year starters are Leah McCoy and Theresa Totts.
Spencer described his team as being "top heavy" with seniors, with some underclassmen playing key roles.
"The seniors can only take us so far," he said. "We need the underclassmen to come through to be successful."
Last season, West Shamokin gave Elderton a run for its money in section competition. The Lady Wolves made the playoffs under first-year coach Justin Nolder.
West Shamokin lost in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs, too. But, unlike Elderton, the Lady Wolves lost seven seniors.
"We have a young group this year," Nolder said. "They're just as talented as last year's team, but not as experienced."
West Shamokin's three seniors are Laura Renosky, Brianna DeVivo and Kristal Galbraith. Renosky, an outside hitter, is the only returning player on the team who will play the same position from last year.
"We're very quick offensively, which I think is important with the way high school volleyball is today," Nolder said. "I don't see why we wouldn't make the playoffs."
A team with high expectations entering the season is Freeport, which only lost one player from last year's undefeated team. The Lady Yellowjackets have gone undefeated in two consecutive regular seasons.
Freeport is led by seniors Emily Kinter (middle hitter), Brittany Turley (setter) and Samantha Campbell (outside hitter). Campbell broke a school record with 161 kills last year. She also recorded 32 aces.
Kinter made 60 blocks, and Turley averaged 28 assists per game. Though the team went undefeated last season, Freeport lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Players to watch
• Samantha Campbell, Freeport, Sr., outside hitter
• Brianna DeVivo, West Shamokin, Sr., outside hitter
• Laura Gartley, Apollo-Ridge, Sr., outside hitter
• Landis Hohl, Elderton, Sr., libero
• Emily Kinter, Freeport, Sr., middle hitter
• Brandy McCourt, Elderton, Sr., setter
• Leah McCoy, Elderton, Sr., middle hitter
• Ellen Reilly, Apollo-Ridge, Jr., middle hitter
• Laura Renosky, West Shamokin, Sr., outside hitter
• Brittany Turley, Freeport, Sr., setter