The Oak Glen volleyball team has a goal just like any other year - make it to Charleston and win a state championship.
The Golden Bears only lost setter Taylor Maxwell to graduation off a team that won its fourth West Virginia Class AA state championship last November with a four-set win over Ritchie County.
"The team has worked very hard during open gym this summer," said the veteran Riser. "Practice has been rigorous. They are quickly shaping into a very competitive group of young ladies. We are setting our goals high for this season.
"We are working toward making another appearance at both the OVAC and the state Tournaments. With hard work and dedication - anything is possible. We will just take it one day at a time."
Leading the way are four talented seniors.
And, leading that group is first-team all-state returner Lacee Porter. She is joined by Sydney Kell, Kaitlyn Smith and Abby Tice.
Returning letter winners as juniors are Morgan Poling and Vanessa Hissam, who had a big game in the state title match a season ago. The other two juniors are Carissa Williams and Jessica Hutton.
Jessica Stivason returns as a sophomore letter winner and the freshman are Madison Juszczak, Logan Andrews and Alex Arnott.
The Redskins and coach Crystal Hammack is in an interesting position with the array of talent on this squad.
Leading the way is junior setter Jessica Furda, who is in her third year starting at that position.
She was a District 5 first-team performer a year ago, along with being an all-Ohio nominee and all-OVAC and all-Buckeye 8.
Senior Brey Mays is a three-year letter winner for Indian Creek and was a District 5 honorable mention selection last year.
Junior Kiarra Kamarec is a two-year letter winner and can play middle or outside.
Junior Whitney Martin and sophomore Bre Berryman are returning letter winners. Martin plays on the outside and Berryman can play middle or outside.
Rounding out the squad are senior libero Ali Collaros, junior defensive specialists Hannah Webb and Mallorie Sullivan and junior outside hitter Alexis Fithen.
"We had a great level of dedication from all of our girls throughout the entire summer this year with our workouts and the starting of our summer league," said Hammack. "We return six girls from last year squad. This years team has a wide variety of skills to attribute, which not only include their athletic ability, but also in their height and quickness as well.
"It's a good and rare combination in the group that we have this year. The girls are really going to have to go out and compete each night as we have quite a few goals that we want to reach.
"We are looking for big things this year from this group of girls and I hope that they are up to the challenge."
"We lost five seniors last year but I look forward to the upcoming group of athletes to pull a great year together," said head coach Carrie Magnone.
The Red Riders are led by the three returning seniors in Erin Hawthorne, Lauren Rosnick and Haley McLaughlin.
"Along with this group of seniors I have a great group of juniors returning this year," said the coach.
Kimberlyn Persina is a powerful middle hitter and blocker who made special mention all-state a year ago in West Virginia Class AA. Ontasia Petteway also plays the middle.
Other juniors are Samantha McCartney, Michayla Dobosz, Selena Wolverton, Elizabeth Kush and there is sophomore defensive specialist Samantha Tate.
"I look forward to a great year with the girls and hope they strive for the very best they can give," said Magnone. "We may have lost five seniors but I know that the group of girls that are returning have the skills to make great things happen. I am looking forward to see how the season develops."
New head coach Renee Silvidi takes over a program that won the OVAC Class 2A champiosnhip a year ago and, although four were lost to graduation, nine return seniors and juniors return to seek two in a row.
"I'm excited about the amount of talent we have on this squad," said Silvidi. "I look forward to the seniors imparting their skills and knowledge to the underclassmen and assisting our team to a successful season. Overall, this is a great group of athletes and I am honored to coach them this season."
The four seniors are Rachel Antonelli, Tori Knight, Jenna Ogden and Rachel Rigaud. Five juniors will join them in Kamy Belardine, Monica Fischer, Maddy Gulan, Monica Rigaud and Robyn Runkel.
Coach Lynn Meyer, in her second season, has two seniors in Kayla Crites and Quinchaya Thompson, five juniors in Mytia Barker, Carmi Biasi, Brittany Bodo, Amanda Roscioe and Abby Taylor, two sophomores in Annie Nehrbas and Taylor Young and freshman Lysiah Rise.
Taylor has two letters and Biasi, Bodo and Young each have one.
Big Red lost five seniors to graduation.
"We have had a great summer of fitness and league play," said Meyer. "The majority of the team participated in all of our workouts. We have nine freshmen and will have a ninth-grade schedule, along with a JV and varsity schedule. We will start at 4:30 when we have a freshmen match.
"We have set high goals for ourselves but all of those are attainable. We definitely want to make the OVAC tournament and have a winning record. We have many positions still open and the girls are working hard and competing for those spots every day."
Coach Leah Snyder is in her second year with the Wildcats and is looking at eight returning letter winners after losing two to graduation.
Leading the way are five seniors - Kylie Smith, Katie Davidson, Hannah Johns, Devyn Carpenter and Victoria Freeland. She has juniors Caitlin Brenstuhl, Alexis Gill, Katelyn Pollock, Kalee Neal and Maddie Williamson and sophomore Cassady Jarvis.
Smith was a District 5 honorable mention selection last year and all-OVAC the year before that. Pollock was all-OVAC a year ago and second-team District 5.
Smith and Davidson and two-year letter winners. Johns, Pollock and Brenstuh have two letters and Carpenter, Gill and Jarvis one.
"The team has put in a lot of hard work in hopes of having a great season," said Snyder. "With eight returning lettermen, this veteran squad has the ability to be great. Excitement, potential, and expectations are high as we enter the season.
"With some new varsity players pushing for top spots, the competition in the gym is tough."
New coach Jennifer Ewusiak returns six players in seniors Katie Kramer, Nicolette Sellitti and Dylan Fenske and juniors Gabrielle Sellitti, Emily Pietranton and Amanda Paul.
"The seniors have really stepped up and become leaders of the team," she said. "A lot of the girls attended camps this summer, working on and perfecting their skills. We have a strong team that really works well together.
"We are looking forward to this season and hope we can improve on our record from last year."
Rounding out the squad is senior Maddie Burchill, junior Gianna Anile, sophomore Annie Magnone and freshmen Taylor Thompson, Chloe Connor, Monica Bragg and Gabrielle Anile.
This year will be something new for coach Amy Ferri-McAfee.
"After graduating seven seniors last year, we're definitely rebuilding our program," she said. "We are a very young team this year. I'm looking forward the start of a new season with a lot of new faces. I have couple freshmen battling the front lines for this year and I'm anxious to see them play to their full potential."
Two seniors dot the roster in returning letter winner Janese Eckley and Marissa Bennett. The juniors are returning letter winners Jesse Ledger and Katie Stackhouse, along with Chelsea Toland, sophomores Lesley Decker, Sarah Thursby and Tirzah Curry and freshmen Michala Saffell and Kaylee Toland.
Coach Shelby Luther likes her team coming into the season.
"We have six returning letterman this season and we are very excited about the season.," she said. "The girls have put in a lot of time and have worked extremely hard preparing for this season. We have four seniors who have shown great leadership on and off the court. We are looking to improve our record and to show off all the hard work and time we have put into preparing for the season."
Luther, in her fifth year, has seniors Kayla Fillipovich, Becca Rector, Kaylee DeCesare and Amy Balk, juniors Morgan Staten, Morgan Fedorko, Preslie Renforth, Ashley Taylor and sophomores Kierstyn Czuchran, Lexus Fedorko, Amanda Barbarossa, Erika Wick, Kala Petrella, Hailee Hoover, Kylie Lovinski and Bailee Morroco.
The Red Knights finished 1-16 a year ago under new coach Chelsey Fletcher, but, now in her second season, Fletcher is ready to see the benefits of last season.
"Although last year's record ended with more losses, I am able to say we were successful," she said. "Last year's team was very receptive to all changes and ideas implemented; which led to huge improvements throughout the season. This year's program is no different.
"Our senior class is comprised of remarkable young women who have truly embraced the concept of leadership. Once again, we added to our off season training and summer league schedule. These ladies gave us everything they had to enhance their skills, knowledge, and ability.
"I am already extremely proud of their efforts and accomplishments since June. I believe this season will prove to be exciting."
Toronto has five seniors in Cari Horne, Taylor Linn, Mykenna Risler, Lisa Scalley and Shane Sears. It has six juniors in Chelsea Anderson, Amber Fuller, Emily Kosikowski, Kristen Pursley, Katie Spadafora and Mykia West and six freshmen in Emily Anderson, Carlie Elson, Josey Jones, Olivia Kosikowski, Miranda Robinson and Sydney Troski.
Jefferson County Christian
The Royals are coming off back-to-back five-set losses in the SouthWestern Christian Athletic Conference championships and are seeking to take that extra step this year.
If done, it will be behind seven seniors - Theresa Recznik, Lani Moro, Alyssa Beadle, Meadow Jackson, Melanie Lewis Mary-Bernadette Miravalle and Margie Kissinger - and two juniors, Kassie Lucas and Breona Brown.
"The girls know what we expect out of them," said coach Kathy Mathison, who is in her final year. "They know who is first and we follow from there.
"The seniors chose Ecclesiastes 7:8 as the team verse and I think it fits our team perfectly. They have worked hard and done all that we have asked. We have to be able to pass well in order for our offense to work. We will be a scrappy team that will get to just about any ball.
"Like everyone else, we still want to win. But, more importantly, we all have testimonies to keep and share and our players know what is expected out of them.
"Having the right attitude toward God and their teammates is paramount on this team."