Can Bucs end Caroline’s title hold?
QA’s sports height, skill and experience
The big story last season on the high school volleyball scene was the rise of Kent Island, which defeated perennial Bayside Conference champion North Caroline in the Class 2A East Section II final.
North Caroline had beaten Kent Island twice during the regular season before the Buccaneers got revenge in the postseason. However, the top Mid-Shore team in the playoffs was no match for Rising Sun, which won the region and state championship, losing only one game the entire postseason.
Perryville won the 1A East title with a 3-0 win over Pocomoke before falling to state champion Smithsburg 3-0 in the state semis.
That was last year. Every starting lineup and every roster has changed. What will unfold this season?
Here’s a look at the local teams:
Kent Island The Buccaneers graduated three senior starters and suffered the loss of two prominent sophomores to relocation, but should again be highly competitive.
“This year we are striving to be a good defensive team and hope to contend in the Bayside Conference. We still have our nucleus intact from last year and are looking to build around them,” head coach Patrick Hopkins said.
The Bucs 13-player roster consists of seniors Oksana Fesz (OH), Hannah Moran (MH), Daryn Hajtun (RH), Chelsea Johnson (D), Julien Campbell (middle blocker), Macey Strunk (OH) and Jahtera Kiah (RH), juniors Jennifer Houston (S) and Nina Kellnhauser (D), and sophomores Desiree Hanks (L), Ronnie Meyr (D), Bethany Doyle (S) and Victoria Zens (MH).
“Our goal this year is to improve offensively and defensively with each passing game in order to finish strong in the Bayside Conference. This team communicates well and plays tenacious defense,” Hopkins said.
Queen Anne’s The 2A Lions should be very competitive with height, skill, and returning experience. They return nine seniors and three juniors and picked up five newcomers.
Seniors Kailey Boomer (OH), Rebecca Clay (OH), Emma Feaga (OH) and junior Allie Harris (MB) are projected to lead the offense at the net.
“They have been working diligently with senior Kayla Blann (S) and are making great connections,” head coach Kim Rementer-Betts said. “I am confident that Kayla will take command of the court and continue to make adjustments to spread out our attack.”
Betts also likes what she’s seen from junior libero Sydney Parsons. “She has made huge gains with her overall ball control, defense, and coverage, and I look for her to cover a lot of court this season.”
Queen Anne’s topped Wicomico 3-0 in the opening round of the 2A East Section II playoffs last year before falling to surging Kent Island 3-0 in the semis. The Lions hope to extend their postseason this year.
“This a very special group of girls — all competitors and all business. They work hard. They are focused. They motivate and push each other, and they are always seeking feedback. I am super excited to open the season,” Betts said.
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Colonel Richardson’s Morgan Willoughby, center, spikes the ball for a kill against Pocomoke in the Class 1A East Section II final last season.