Summer competition expected to improve Centre volleyball team
After a 6-24 season last year, at least eight members of a young, 15-member volleyball squad at Centre worked together all summer to improve their skills.
They played in tournaments at Hesston, Manhattan, and Hillsboro, oftentimes against bigger schools.
The team includes two seniors, five juniors, five sophomores, and three freshmen.
One senior has seen some varsity time, and the other has not played high school volleyball before.
Athena Salamone, a blocker and right front hitter — at five feet, 9 inches — is the tallest member of the team.
Haley Meyer, the newcomer, will play the middle position.
Five of the 12 players on last year’s team were freshmen, and four lettered.
Alyssa Espinoza led the team, serving for 165 points including 45 aces. She had 63 kills and 132 assists.
Her twin sister, Samantha, delivered 23 aces and 58 kills.
“Samantha will be a middle hitter and passer, but she can play any position,” coach Karen Nickel said.
Cailey Barney and Emily Silhan are the other players who lettered as freshmen. Cailey was an alternate starter and will be the left front hitter this year. Emily will be a setter.
Juniors Gracie Luna and Emma David are returning letter winners, as well. They are right front hitters and blockers.
Allie Hird is a junior transfer from Herington, where she played under Lisa Beye. Allie played and practiced with the team all summer and will be the libero. She also will be available as a hitter and setter.
Junior Isabella Fassina is a foreign exchange student from Brazil and is still working to find her niche.
Junior Kaitlyn Hudson is a first-year player. She will play right front.
Sophomore Ashden Alcorn served as team manager last year but has joined the team and will play junior varsity.
Nickel said freshman Carly Deines might play some varsity this year as a left front hitter and back row player.
Two other freshmen, Lexis Brewer and Alex Remmers, round off the team.
Nickel said the team’s weaknesses include a lack of height and senior varsity experience, but they would make up for it with their quickness and scrappy play.
“I expect them to play to their full potential,” Nickel said. “I expect them to work hard and play every ball as a new opportunity.”
Nickel is in her second year as head coach. She was an assistant for seven years under Yvonne Burhoop. Jennifer Espinoza is her assistant.
Last modified Aug. 29, 2018