Optimistic Damsels hoping for improvement|
Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
AMESVILLE - Cydnee Sankey-Deemer's inaugural season at the helm of the Moshannon Valley volleyball program didn't go as planned, as the Damsels finished the year with a 4-14 record.
While the results weren't optimal, Sankey-Deemer's squad improved from the previous season, and the second-year head coach is optimistic that her squad will continue to improve in 2013.
Mo Valley has seven letterwinners returning to this year's team, which features a little bit of experience at every position on the court.
Along with that experience, Sankey-Deemer said, the Damsels also have a better outlook when taking to the court in the preseason and she hopes that will translate to more wins.
"I have seen a lot more effort this year than last year, a lot more willingness to try new things," said Sankey-Deemer. "We also have had a lot more intensity.
"They definitely bring a lot of intensity and they're excited for this year. I actually switched a couple of positions around and that really seemed to work in our scrimmage."
Of the seven letterwinners returning, four have "Kitko" as their last names.
Seniors Carly and Kelsey will get the nod at middle and outside hitter, respectively, while junior Lacey will be one of the team's two setters. Hannah, a sophomore, will also see time off the bench.
"We're currently running a 4-2 with four hitters and two setters," Sankey-Deemer said, "but that could always change.
"I ran Lacey as a libero a little bit last year. Each game is going to be different because each competitor is different. Our defense will really depend on who we're playing."
Joining the quartet of Kitkos are senior Kelley McCully and juniors Haley Stodart and Samantha Matchock.
McCully will be the team's libero, while Stodart and Matchock will play at the net. Stodart will be an outside with Matchock helping Carly Kitko in the middle.
The final starting position belongs to senior Lauren O'Donnell, who is out for the team for the first time. O'Donnell will be the team's other setter.
"I'm disappointed she didn't come out sooner," said Sankey-Deemer. "Lauren is a great athlete and she has great intuition. I just wish we would have had her last year to build on even more for this year. She's done great things so far and I'm excited to see what her and Lacey do together."
Juniors Shannon Beers and Ally Kronenwetter will also see time off the bench for Mo Valley, which hosts Mount Union on Tuesday.
"We improved last year from the year before," Sankey-Deemer said, "and our overall goal is to improve from last year to this year. We really want to be at .500 this year and I think that's realistic. It's not so much about playoffs as it is proving to themselves - not so much to parents or other athletes. They don't have a lot of faith in themselves and I want to build that faith."
Amber Blake, *Carly Kitko, *Kelsey Kitko, *Kelley McCully, Lauren O'Donnell, Savannah Whited.
Shannon Beers, Maggie Holenchik, *Lacey Kitko, Ally Kronenwetter, *Samantha Matchock, *Haley Stodart.
Sahara Fleming, *Hannah Kitko, Kristin Westover.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.
3-Mount Union; 5-West Branch; 12-Claysburg-Kimmel; 16-at DuBois Central Catholic; 19-Juniata Valley; 21-at Warrior Blast tournament, West Branch, 9 a.m.; 23-Curwensville; 24-at Williamsburg; 26-at Bellwood-Antis; 30-DuBois Central Catholic.
1-at Glendale; 3-at Claysburg-Kimmel; 8-at West Branch; 10-at Mount Union; 14-at Curwensville; 15-at Juniata Valley; 17-Williamsburg; 22-Bellwood-Antis; 24-Glendale.
Matches begin at 7 p.m. unless noted.