Season Preview: Carlinville Volleyball
Lady Cavaliers look to keep winning
tradition alive in Hammann’s
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The foundation has been laid for the Carlinville Lady Cavaliers’ volleyball team. The next step will be to build the house.
In 2018, Kaitie Hammann had a lot of pressure on her shoulders to keep Carlinville’s winning tradition alive when she took over Fran Struble’s head coaching position. She didn’t quite reach the Struble-signature 20, but 19 wins was still quite impressive – especially with a large core of youth up and coming.
Hammann expects the Cavies to take the next step this year. However, this task will have to be done following the departure of an elite senior trio – Adriann Welte, Jordyn Houseman and Lexi Egelhoff.
Welte was selected as last year’s Most Valuable Player. Her other milestones included New Berlin Tournament Most Valuable Player, first team All-SCC, Macoupin Country Tournament All-tournament team, State Journal Register all-area team, Springfield Capitol Radio Group Player of the Week and the Alton Telegraph Small School Volleyball Player of the Year. She finished with 152 service points, 32 aces, 222 kills, 270 serve receptions, 30 blocks, eight assists and 420 digs.
Houseman racked up 130 service points, 13 aces, six kills, 479 serve receptions, three assists and 393 digs as the Cavies’ libero. Her ball-controlling skills earned her a spot on the SCC all-conference third team and New Berlin all-tournament squad. She was the CHS Defensive Player of the Year.
Egelhoff was a seasoned middle blocker at the net and earned the Cavies’ Offensive Player of the Year award. Her statistics read 109 service points, 29 aces, 150 kills, 44 blocks, one assist and 42 digs.
“These girls are going to be hard to replace,” said Hammann.
But, the Cavies have something in 2019 that they were somewhat lacking in the previous campaign – the added team depth and experience that will be necessary in achieving team goals.
In addition to returning a larger senior group, Carlinville is expected to bring a variety of balance and talent at all four grade levels.
Sarah DeNeve is coming in off of a stellar junior season that included a second team All-SCC selection, Carlinville Invitational All-tournament honors and the CHS 110 percent award. DeNeve finished 2018 with 166 service points, 46 aces, 104 kills, 14 blocks, 529 assists and 246 digs as a setter. Hammann is expecting DeNeve to make a lot of big plays as one of the veteran captains.
Kelsey McKee (59 kills, 11 blocks, 81 digs) is another returning senior that will be a driving force at multiple positions.
Sydney Bowman (107 service points, 13 aces, 13 kills, 165 serve receive receptions, 11 assists, 244 digs) will take over for Houseman as the new libero.
Outside hitter Gracie Reels chalked up 117 service points, 50 aces, 98 kills, 260 serve receive receptions, 12 blocks, 18 assists and 271 digs last year – and she was only a sophomore. Hammann looks for Reels to continue building her confidence on both sides of the ball.
Middle blocker Haley Wills (84 kills, 35 blocks, four digs) will have an increased role in being a force at the net plus stabilizing the Cavies’ serving game.
Hammann is additionally expecting a breakout season from 2018 Junior Varsity Player of the Year Olivia Turley and Jill Stayton. Maycee Gall, Lexy West and Adrienne Tracy will also be returning from last year’s varsity squad.
DeNeve, Bowman, McKee, Turley and Wills make up this year’s senior class.
Gall, Reels, West, Paris Cousett, Matilda Mitchell, Whitney Stahl and Loralei Wofford are the juniors.
Tracy, Stayton, Karly Lambert, Catie Sims and Ella Walker are returning as sophomores.
Freshmen Jenna Beck, Malia Buford, Morgan Carrino, Lizzy Clarkson, Acacia Dyer, Bella Hanner, Melanie Murphy, Riley Rosentreter, Lanna Vanderpoel, Chloe Velasquez, Sara Wiese and Ella Wise round out the 2019 CHS rosters.
“This year’s expectations are the same as they are every year,” said Hammann. “Even though we lost some great players, I expect us to compete in every game. We play a tough schedule with Raymond Lincolnwood, Springfield Lutheran and Rochester. We have also added in the Bethalto Civic Memorial tournament. Our conference is always tough, too. There were no easy contests last season and we expect that to be the case again this time around. These girls work so hard, so I definitely expect us to be playing our best volleyball come postseason time.”