Vet­eran Pan­thers aim for pro­gram’s first state ti­tle

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By KYLE RUS­SELL

Spe­cial to the Whig

An­other year, an­other re­gion ti­tle for the Per­ryville High School vol­ley­ball team. The Pan­thers en­ter their fourth sea­son un­der head coach Matt Bor­relli hav­ing claimed the last five 1A East Re­gion ti­tles.

Bor­relli is hop­ing his ex­pe­ri­enced squad is pre­pared for the chal­lenge of tak­ing the next step and push­ing for the pro­gram’s first-ever state cham­pi­onship.

“These eight se­niors have all been play­ing to­gether for four years now,” he said. “We are in kind of a unique sit­u­a­tion where we have a lot of lead­er­ship. That con­ti­nu­ity they have de­vel­oped over the past few sea­sons, we are look­ing to have this be our best sea­son out of the last four years.”

Two of those se­niors, Gabby Good­now and Rose Porch, are re­turn­ing Al­lCounty play­ers from last sea­son, and will lead the pur­suit of that goal. Good­now, a mid­dle hit­ter, paced Per­ryville with team-highs in kills (148) and blocks (48) in 2015, while Porch dished out 428 as­sists as the team’s pri­mary set­ter.

Other no­table se­nior re­turn­ers in­clude two-time honor­able men­tion de­signee Teri Wen­ner­sten (mid­dle hit­ter), de­fen­sive spe­cial­ists Erin Mur­phy and Kadi Davis, and out­side hit­ter Gil­lian Bumba.

“The girls have been re­ally fo­cused, and they are re­ally com­mit­ted to work­ing hard and do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to help us reach that goal,” Bor­relli said. “Our com­pe­ti­tion at prac­tice has been bet­ter, and that has been driv­ing us to get bet­ter and bet­ter each day.”

Libero Hai­ley Jones is also back in the fold af­ter earn­ing an All-County honor­able men­tion nod af­ter her sopho­more cam­paign last sea­son. Per­ryville will also ben­e­fit from a trans­fer from Tome, Meghan Lane, who will line up as an out­side hit­ter. Ju­niors Brooke Reynolds (de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist) and Bea Mus­cella (out­side hit­ter) were also listed among key ad­di­tions.

The Pan­thers per­formed ad­mirably in their first sea­son in the Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion in 2015, fin­ish­ing 9-3 in the di­vi­sion and 14-4 over­all. If they are go­ing to take the next step on the state tour­na­ment stage, Bor­relli knows they have to go out­side of

their al­ready-tough up­per-di­vi­sion sched­ule to pre­pare for teams like peren­nial 1A con­tender Smiths­burg.

“North Caro­line [High School] hosts a big tour­na­ment ev­ery year, and I think we are go­ing to be one of the few 1A schools there. The rest are some of the top 2A, 3A and even some 4A schools, so that is go­ing to help us see some tougher com­pe­ti­tion to make us bet­ter,” he said. “And those two games against Ris­ing Sun, we are re­ally look­ing for­ward to those games. Ob­vi­ously they are just an out­stand­ing team, and we would like to play against them as much as we can be­cause that’s what makes you bet­ter.”

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Set­ter Rose Porch (8) and her team­mate Teri Wen­ner­sten (15) are among the eight se­niors re­turn­ing for the Per­ryville vol­ley­ball team in 2016.

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