Lady Bison volleyball looking for boost from underclassmen|
Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
HYDE - The Clearfield volleyball team has improved by leaps and bounds in head coach Sarah Fye's first three seasons at the helm of the program.
The Lady Bison struggled in Fye's first year in 2010, but advanced to the District 9 playoffs each of the next two seasons.
Unfortunately for the fourth-year head coach, she will have to replace her top two hitters and a three-year setter from a team that has just 12 players on the roster.
"We need a lot of underclassmen to step up," said Fye, "and so far it has been very promising. I have a lot of underclassmen willing to be leaders and take on the leadership roles on the court. Losing Krystal Wriglesworth and Dakota Farmery (at the net) will be a big loss for us, but I have kids that are competitive and want to step up to take their place."
Even though Fye lost a lot of experience from last year's team, she does have three letterwinners returning in 2013.
Sophomore Devynn Ireland, who played on the outside a year ago, will miss the season with an injury, but her twin sister Victoria will move from the middle to take her place.
Senior Khushali Patel is Clearfield's captain and the best server from a year ago.
"Khushali, as a letterwinner and a senior, is the captain of our team," Fye said, "and she knows where people need to go on the court. She's our best server and I'm looking for big things out of her.
"Victoria stepped up in the middle position last year, but this year we're moving her to the outside. She knows what she needs to do and she's very aggressive. I'm looking for big things out of Victoria, too. ... Devynn being out for the season is a big blow to our program."
While the loss of Farmery and Wriglesworth at the net will be felt throughout the season, the Lady Bison might miss the play of setter Amber Claycomb the most.
The reliable Claycomb was responsible for getting the ball to her teammates a season ago, in addition to being the team's general on the floor.
"Amber was my varsity setter for three, straight years," Fye said. "She was the leader of the team and she controlled us on the court, so trying to fill her position has been difficult. I have two girls working very hard to fill that starting role."
Victoria Ireland and Patel have spots at outside hitter and opposite sewn up, respectively, while the rest of Fye's lineup will feature girls relatively new to the sport.
Junior Sarah Lash, who enters her second year in the program, will join Ireland on the outside, while sophomore Dariann Pastelok and junior Olivia Smith will be the team's middles.
Senior Hannah Riley and junior Macala Leigey will each start with one taking over for Claycomb, while the other will be the libero after the smoke clears.
"We're still looking to put the pieces of the puzzle together," said Fye. "I have four new freshmen and I have a junior out for her first year, and I also have others playing new positions that they didn't play last year. The kids are working really hard and I appreciate their willingness to go that extra mile to learn something new.
"Sarah Lash was new to the program last year, but she is a gamer. I love her enthusiasm and attitude, on and off the court. She's one of those kids that you'd love to clone because she just tries her best all the time. She is playing a lot because she worked a lot on her passing and her hitting.
"Dariann Pastelok has worked a lot on her passing, and Macala Leigey is another great kid, who just wants to get out there to play and do her best."
Wriglesworth and Farmery's graduation took away a majority of the team's height, so Fye's roster will look to utilize its quickness in filling the void defensively.
"We have been working a lot on our serving and a lot on our defense," Fye said. "Our best asset is going to be our quickness and our fundamentals for passing and serving. Due to the lack of height on our team, those are going to have to be our strong suits. We also have some girls that work hard and can do the fundamentals at the net to help with blocking."
Clearfield opens the season on Saturday at the Central Mountain tournament.
Khushali Patel, Hannah Riley.
Sarah Lash, Macala Leigey, Olivia Smith.
Devynn Ireland, Victoria Ireland, Dariann Pastelok.
Maci Coleman, Paige DeCasper, Justine Gaylor, Kaycee Gisewhite.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.
31-at Central Mountain tournament, 8:45 a.m.
5-at Central; 9-Brookville; 10-Bald Eagle Area; 12-at Tyrone; 16-Curwensville; 17-Bellefonte; 19-at Huntingdon; 23-Central Mountain; 24-at Penns Valley; 26-Philipsburg-Osceola; 30-at Brookville.
1-Central; 3-at Bald Eagle Area; 8-Tyrone; 10-at Bellefonte; 14-at Central Mountain; 15-Huntingdon; 17-Penns Valley; 21-at Curwensville; 22-at Philipsburg-Osceola.
Matches begin at 7 p.m. unless noted.