Carlinville volleyball hopes to spike competition
By Eric Becker
The Carlinville volleyball team has won regionals five of the last six years.
They hope to continue that trend heading into the 2017 season, as the Cavaliers prepare for another season of high school volleyball.
The Cavaliers were 22-11 last year, 7-2 in the conference under head coach Fran Struble, who returns at the helm of a team that features five seniors.
“They’ve taken some major steps forward,” said Struble. “We played this summer in tournaments but we never had everybody there (at the same time). So we were always playing with a combination of players, some of them not even in their right spot.”
The Cavaliers should be another formidable foe for opponents this season, despite the loss of talented senior group last year.
“The girls are working extremely hard,” Struble said. “Our captains – our five seniors – are awesome – great leaders. Very positive. The whole feeling in the gym is very relaxed and no one rocking the boat.”
Returners include senior Anna Chew, who has two years of court experience, at middle blocker.
Alyssa DeSpain switches positions this year, moving to outside hitter this year from defensive specialist. She has played varsity since her freshman year.
Taylor Wills is a senior libero, while Sydney Bates returns as the team’s setter. Emma Griffith, the other senior, is an outside hitter who has a huge swing, according to Struble.
Juniors include middle hitter Lexi Egelhoff; Adrianne Welte, right side hitter and Jordan Houseman, a defensive specialist. Sophomore Sara DeNeve, playing right-back defense, also should see playing time at varsity.
Struble said Greenville, the team’s first opponent, will be a strong team in the conference this year. Hillsboro, Pana and Roxana also figure to be in the mix for a conference title.
The team also participates in the early season Edwardsville tournament, something Struble says is very important.
“We go down to Edwardsville to get our annual beating up,” Struble said. “That’s good for us. That’s such an eye-opener. It helps us prepare for what we must learn to do.”
As well as the varsity, Struble said the JV and freshman teams are looking solid thus far.
“Our JV looks really good, and our freshman are learning the ropes,” Struble said. “It’s such a different world between middle school and high school. So they’re learning that the ball moves so much faster and harder in high school.”
Carlinville will also host it’s own invitational on Sept. 30 and the CHS gyms will host the Macoupin County tournament Oct. 8, although Southwestern is the official host.
The regular season concludes with the Pawnee tournament Oct. 21, with regionals starting two days later.
Members of the 2017 Carlinville varsity volleyball team, front row, from left: Lexi Egelhoff, Jordyn Houseman, Taylor Wills, Sydney Bowman, Corin Stewart, Gracie Reels. Back row: Haley Wills, Kelsey McKee, Sarah DeNeve, Adriann Welte, Anna Chew, Emma Griffith, Sydney Bates, Alyssa DeSpain, manager Shelbey Syrcle.
Carlinville freshman volleyball
Members of the 2017 Carlinville freshman volleyball team, front row, from left, are: Eryn Seal, Matilda Mitchell, Whitney Stahl, Lexy West. Back row: Loralei Wofford, Maddie Wieties, Maycee Gall, Paris Cousett.
Carlinville JV Volleyball
Members of the 2017 Carlinville junior varsity volleyball team, front row, from left, are: Gracie Reels, Eryn Seal, Sydney Bowman, Corin Stewart, Lexy West and Paris Cousett. Back row: Riann McClain, Olivia Turley, Kelsey McKee, Haley Wills, Allison Smith, Emily Barr.