JOHNSONBURG – Johnsonburg volleyball brings a senior-laden group into the 2011 season, a group which experienced reaching the District 9 Final Four last season.
“Things are going well, they’re a coachable bunch,” Johnsonburg coach Bill Shuey said. “They’re eager to learn and get better at their skills. I think we’re going to surprise some people this year.”
The Ramettes won on the road in playoff matchups against Cranberry and A-C Valley last season to reach the Final Four. Johnsonburg won one of the three matches last season as the Ramettes took on Clarion, Elk County Catholic and Oswayo Valley.
“I don’t know if we’ll make the Final Four, we hope to, but one thing’s for sure,” Shuey said. “The girls had that experience last year and you can see they are excited and are showing some very good leadership skills knowing that possibility exists again this year.”
Shuey said a strong point of the team entering this season is their chemistry and their willingness to learn.
“I think they’re a really close-knit group,” Shuey said. “Chemistry should be a good foundation to build on. We do have some very skilled players as far as passing and serving. I think we’ll be competitive.”
Johnsonburg has five seniors on this season’s roster which are Brianna Fabris, Katie Galsick, Kiana Myers, Kiesha Dornish and Sarah Bevacqua. Shuey said the leadership provided by the seniors will be important.
“It’s very important especially when they had that taste of success last year as we made our run toward the Final Four,” Shuey said. “They know what it means and what it took to get there.”
With improvements, Shuey wants the volleyball players to improve on their entire skill sets.
“Just continue to improve on the skills which allow you to be competitive,” Shuey said. “Be able to read, anticipate and pass the ball and move without the ball, all those things.”
As the season begins, Shuey is looking for the players to get better as matches accrue.
“I think it’s important for us to see improvement game after game after game,” Shuey said. “They haven’t been bored with what we’ve been doing. They still have the same enthusiasm as the first night of practice. They are starting to see improvement in their game.”
Johnsonburg opens the season with the Union Tournament on Saturday.
The varsity team roster consists of: Emilee DeMay, Elena Solorio. Allyson Wheeler, Samantha Bevacqua, Sarah Bevacqua, Brianna Fabris, Kiesha Dornish, Lisa Feronti, Kiana Myers, Chelsea Benson, Brittany Watts, Katie Galsick and Lydia Hefright.