MVAC volleyball gets underway this weekend

Sports

Western Reserve meets Springfield on September 10 in a contest among last year's co-champions

Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference text over a volleyball.

All 8 schools will field a team this season

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In Ohio, the high school volleyball season gets underway this weekend. All eight schools in the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference will field teams in 2019.

Four of the eight MVAC schools won their respective sectional tournament last October. Western Reserve advanced to the Columbiana District Final before falling to top-seeded Wellsville. The Blue Devils closed out the year with an 18-7 record overall and a 10-2 mark in conference play – good for co-champions. Coach Jenn Lorenzi states that although the Blue Devils graduated 3 seniors, “we return six starters and a total of 9 letter winners. We’re working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. We have a lot of experienced players returning.”

Sharing the league title with Western Reserve was Springfield – closing out the 2018 campaign with a 17-5 record. The two teams split their two meetings. The Tigers began last year with a 9-1 mark. Springfield also closed out the season with 6 straight wins before falling to the Quakers in the Salem District Final (3-1). Gone from last year’s team is libero Makenzy Capouellez and setter Kaelen Yemma. Four senior letter winners all return in Lauren Ranelli, Jennie Smith, Lyndsey Smith and Carly Stitzel. Coach Angela Jones indicates, “We have young girls who are willing to work hard and eager to continue the success before them. The returning letterwinners will provide leadership and experience.”

Waterloo won 18 games last year and finished with a 9-3 mark in league play. Coach Paul Burnside lost MacKenzie Brannon (Hiram) and Amber Ceiplinski (Ohio) to graduation. He’ll return setter Brooke Twichell – who leads the state in assists with 939. Kyleigh Eddy and Haylee Kachner both combined for over 300 blocks. Kearstin Koontz led the team in kill percentage (40.5%) and serve percentage (95.4%). Memory Lyons and Brooke Waldeck both will be asked to contribute this coming season as well. Coach Burnside says, “We return experience, power, and athleticism. We add depth, size, and power with our newcomers.”

This past season, Mineral Ridge finished with an 18-6 mark (7-5 MVAC). Ron Lesko takes over the team in 2019 after coaching volleyball programs in Struthers, Liberty and Brookfield over an 11-year period. The Rams will rely on outside hitters such as Riley Ladd, Pryce Allen and Katelyn Lesko as they transition from defense to offense. Coach Lesko points out, “A strength of ours is being able to keep essentially the same varsity roster. With Danielle Aulet and Katelyn Lesko both playing JO volleyball at a high level for multiple years has made them both exceptional players. With Aulet setting and Lesko’s consistency as an outside hitter they make a great 1-2 punch.”

Jackson-Milton returns mostly juniors and seniors from last year’s 11-12 team. Coach Sue Prozy lost Ashley Cameron but welcomes back the likes of Julia Bogden, Rena Costello, Alyssa Deak, Bailey Estes, Megan Fultz, Logan Grunder, Grace McDevitt and Camryn Mitchell.

The Trojans return a pair of seniors in Kendra Shields and Hannah Warner and two key juniors Aebi D’Ostroph and Emma Whaley from last year’s 5-18 team. Sebring’s coach Susanne Neal points to those four returnees as the foundation of the program. “These players have been instrumental in helping to start the change of our program’s mentality to be stronger and more confident female athletes. Through this growth, they’ve maintained the compassion for each other’s weaknesses, the support for each other’s strengths and to bring the team closer.”

Lowellville opens their season with four consecutive home games including their lid lifter on Tuesday, August 20 against Springfield.

McDonald opens their inaugural volleyball season at home against Lordstown on August 17. Amy Harrison, a Mineral Ridge alum, will lead the Blue Devils as their head coach.

2019 Schedules
Jackson-Milton
Aug. 19 – East Canton
Aug. 20 – at Mineral Ridge
Aug. 22 – Western Reserve
Aug. 26 – at Springfield
Sept. 3 – at Mathews
Sept. 4 – Sebring
Sept. 5 – McDonald
Sept. 9 – at Newton Falls
Sept. 10 – Waterloo
Sept. 12 – at Lowellville
Sept. 16 – at South Range
Sept. 17 – Mineral Ridge
Sept. 19 – at Western Reserve
Sept. 23 – Lordstown
Sept. 24 – Springfield
Sept. 26 – Sebring
Oct. 1 – at McDonald
Oct. 2 – Cardinal Mooney
Oct. 3 – at Waterloo
Oct. 8 – Lowellville
Oct. 9 – Lisbon
Oct. 10 – at Wellsville

Lowellville
Aug. 20 – Springfield
Aug. 22 – McDonald
Aug. 24 – Campbell Memorial
Aug. 27 – Mineral Ridge
Aug. 29 – at Waterloo
Sept. 3 – East
Sept. 5 – at Western Reserve
Sept. 7 – at Campbell Memorial
Sept. 9 – Columbiana
Sept. 10 – at Sebring
Sept. 12 – Jackson-Milton
Sept. 17 – at Springfield
Sept. 19 – at McDonald
Sept. 21 – Badger
Sept. 23 – Heartland Christian
Sept. 24 – at Mineral Ridge
Sept. 26 – Waterloo
Sept. 30 – Sebring
Oct. 1 – Western Reserve
Oct. 7 – at Heartland Christian
Oct. 8 – at Jackson-Milton
Oct. 9 – Leetonia

Mineral Ridge
Aug. 20 – Jackson-Milton
Aug. 22 – Sebring
Aug. 24 – at Lisbon Tournament
Aug. 26 – at Liberty
Aug. 27 – at Lowellville
Sept. 3 – at Western Reserve
Sept. 5 – Waterloo
Sept. 9 – LaBrae
Sept. 10 – McDonald
Sept. 12 – at Springfield
Sept. 17 – at Jackson-Milton
Sept. 19 – at Sebring
Sept. 23 – Garfield
Sept. 24 – Lowellville
Sept. 26 – Western Reserve
Sept. 30 – Newton Falls
Oct. 1 – at Waterloo
Oct. 3 – at McDonald
Oct. 7 – at Columbiana
Oct. 8 – Springfield

McDonald
Aug. 17 – Lordstown
Aug. 20 – Western Reserve
Aug. 22 – at Lowellville
Aug. 24 – at Columbiana
Aug. 27 – at Waterloo
Aug. 29 – Springfield
Sept. 3 – at Warren JFK
Sept. 5 – at Jackson-Milton
Sept. 7 – Leetonia
Sept. 10 – at Mineral Ridge
Sept. 12 – Sebring
Sept. 16 – at Southern/WV
Sept. 17 – at Western Reserve
Sept. 19 – Lowellville
Sept. 24 – Waterloo
Sept. 26 – at Springfield
Oct. 1 – Jackson-Milton
Oct. 3 – Mineral Ridge
Oct. 5 – at Leetonia
Oct. 8 – at Sebring
Oct. 10 – Warren JFK

Sebring
Aug. 17 – at Campbell Memorial
Aug. 19 – at Heartland Christian
Aug. 20 – Waterloo
Aug. 22 – at Mineral Ridge
Aug. 27 – at Western Reserve
Aug. 31 – at Leetonia
Sept. 4 – Jackson-Milton
Sept. 5 – Springfield
Sept. 10 – Lowellville
Sept. 12 – at McDonald
Sept. 14 – Our Lady of the Elms
Sept. 17 – at Waterloo
Sept. 19 – Mineral Ridge
Sept. 21 – Southington
Sept. 24 – Western Reserve
Sept. 26 – at Jackson-Milton
Sept. 30 – at Lowellville
Oct. 1 – at Springfield
Oct. 8 – McDonald
Oct. 10 – Heartland Christian

Springfield
Aug. 19 – at Girard
Aug. 20 – at Lowellville
Aug. 22 – at Waterloo
Aug. 26 – Jackson-Milton
Aug. 29 – at McDonald
Sept. 4 – at Columbiana
Sept. 5 – at Sebring
Sept. 10 – Western Reserve
Sept. 12 – Mineral Ridge
Sept. 16 – Poland
Sept. 17 – Lowellville
Sept. 19 – Waterloo
Sept. 24 – at Jackson-Milton
Sept. 26 – McDonald
Sept. 30 – at Brookfield
Oct. 1 – Sebring
Oct. 3 – at Western Reserve
Oct. 7 – at Struthers
Oct. 8 – at Mineral Ridge
Oct. 10 – Cardinal Mooney

Waterloo
Aug. 17 – at United
Aug. 20 – at Sebring
Aug. 22 – Springfield
Aug. 27 – McDonald
Aug. 29 – Lowellville
Sept. 3 – at St. Vincent-St. Mary
Sept. 5 – at Mineral Ridge
Sept. 7 – at Southeast
Sept. 10 – at Jackson-Milton
Sept. 12 – at Western Reserve
Sept. 14 – GlenOak/Chippewa
Sept. 17 – Sebring
Sept. 19 – at Springfield
Sept. 21 – at Barberton
Sept. 24 – at McDonald
Sept. 26 – at Lowellville
Oct. 1 – Mineral Ridge
Oct. 3 – Jackson-Milton
Oct. 7 – East Palestine
Oct. 8 – Western Reserve

Western Reserve
Aug. 17 – at West Branch Tri-Match (Southeast, West Branch)
Aug. 20 – at McDonald
Aug. 22 – at Jackson-Milton
Aug. 27 – Sebring
Sept. 3 – Mineral Ridge
Sept. 5 – Lowellville
Sept. 7 – Crestview
Sept. 9 – Austintown Fitch
Sept. 10 – at Springfield
Sept. 12 – Waterloo
Sept. 16 – at Cardinal Mooney
Sept. 17 – McDonald
Sept. 19 – Jackson-Milton
Sept. 23 – Columbiana
Sept. 24 – at Sebring
Sept. 26 – at Mineral Ridge
Sept. 30 – Girard
Oct. 1 – at Lowellville
Oct. 3 – Springfield
Oct. 8 – at Waterloo
Oct. 9 – Wellsville

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