Veteran Panthers aim for program’s first state title
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.”
Setter Rose Porch (8) and her teammate Teri Wennersten (15) are among the eight seniors returning for the Perryville volleyball team in 2016.