LHS volleyball teams return with gusto

Members of the Lancaster High School varsity volleyball team are (from left) Sydney Price, Leighten McCranie, Riley Molineaux, Maddie Davis, McKenzie Hathaway, Rachel Valdrighi, Rachel Woolard, Madison Giese and Shelby Rose. Courtney Croasdale and Katherine Thomas are also on the team. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Despite losing five seniors from last year’s team, coach Keegan Walters has high hopes for the Lancaster High School varsity Lady Devils volleyball team.

“We have the potential to be even better than last year due to the experience of this group,” said Walters, who enters his second season as the varsity head coach.

Members of the Lancaster High School junior varsity volleyball team are (from left) Grace Oren, Rachel Taft, Olivia Brocklebank, Katarina Zeiler, Amanda Steensma, Olivia Saunders, Carissa Davis and Blair Smith. Kayleigh Self, Liz Woolard and McKenna Jones are also on the team. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Although Walter’s squad isn’t upperclassmen heavy—he has only three seniors—most are veterans of the game. All five juniors are returners. One started last year and all of them got considerable playing time.

“I think we have a chance to compete with anyone this year,” said Walters. “And our girls are hungry to improve on last season.”

They proved that in Monday night’s season opener against Middlesex. The Lady Chargers, who are unbeaten at 3-0, edged the Lady Devils, 3-1, but not without a challenge.

After losing the two first games, Lancaster battled back for a win in the third then lost buy three, 25-22, in the fourth of the best out of five series.

Lancaster split with Class 3 Gloucester, 2-2, in a pre-season scrimmage two weeks ago.

“We’re trying to play smart volleyball this season, while minimizing mistakes,” said Walters.

Leadership this year comes from three seniors in all-around player Maddie Davis, libero McKenzie Hathaway and defensive specialist Rachel Valdrighi.

Davis served for 21 points with three aces against Middlesex, while Valdrighi had 11 serves with no errors. Hathaway had five digs.

Lancaster also returns junior setter Riley Molineaux and junior hitters Sydney Price and Leighten McCranie. Also back is junior defensive specialists Rachel Woolard and Courtney Croasdale.

Sophomores Katherine Thomas and Madison Giese are new to the team after playing junior varsity for two seasons. Thomas is a defensive specialist and Giese an outside hitter. Freshman Shelby Rose is a middle hitter who made the jump from last year’s middle school team right to varsity.

Price had seven serves with two aces and two block assists against Middlesex, while Molineaux had 13 assists and Thomas three digs. At the net, McCranie and Rose each had a solo block.

Junior varsity

The JV Lady Devils also lost their season opener to Middlesex Monday. The Lady Chargers won, 2-0.

LHS JROTC instructor William French will assist Walters as the JV coach this season. He returns several to the junior varsity squad including experienced sophomores Blair Smith, Amanda Steensma, Katarina Zeiler, McKenna Jones, Grace Oren and Olivia Brocklebank. Smith will serve as libero and rotate in and out freely on the back row, while Oren and Brocklebank are defensive specialists on the back row. Jones will set and play the back row, while Steensma and Zeiler will lead the team at the net as hitters.

Freshmen Kayleigh Self and Rachel Taft will both serve as setters and hitters, while freshman Liz Woolard will hit. Freshman Olivia Saunders will play all around and freshman Carissa Davis will play the back row on defense.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 West Point

Sept. 11 Northampton

Sept. 12 at Northampton

Sept. 15 Endless Summer

Tournament, Virginia Beach

Sep. 17  Middlesex

Sept. 18 at Colonial Beach

Sept. 20 at Essex

Sept. 25 at Washington & Lee

Sept. 27 Rappahannock

Oct.1 at King & Queen

Oct. 2 at Northumberland

Oct. 4 Colonial Beach

Oct. 9 Essex

Oct. 11 Washington & Lee

Oct.16 at Rappahannock

Oct. 18 Northumberland


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