WATERFORD - If Waterford's volleyball scrimmage against visiting Shenandoah on Aug. 8 is any indication, the Lady Wildcat netters could have another productive run on the floor this upcoming season.
"We played well against Shenandoah, and I think we're going to be all right this year," said Waterford head coach Jandy Drayer, who guided the Cats to a 20-5 overall record last fall. "We've got the talent, and it's in the girls' hands."
Last season, seniors' Brooke Drayer, Chelsey Paxton, and Jayde Heiss helped lead Waterford to a 14-2 runner-up finish to Eastern in the Tri-Valley Conference-Hocking Division and an Ohio Division IV sectional championship before bowing out to the Eagles in a Southeast district title showdown match at Jackson. Drayer, an outside hitter and "pounder," finished as both the D4 Volleyball Player of the Year and the TVC-Hocking's Most Valuable Player, while Paxton, one of the best passers around, was an all-distract and all-league honoree.
Times file photo
Waterford’s Madison Sury (9) attempts to hit the ball over the net as two Fort Frye players jump to block it in a match last season. Observing the play were Waterford’s Taylor Hilverding (16) and Brooke Drayer (22). Visiting Waterford won in four games.
"We lost some pretty good seniors, who will be tough to replace," Jandy Drayer said. "The seniors we have this season are going to have to step in and step up for us."
Waterford's 2013 VB roster will be featuring five seniors - Alyssa Miller, Laura Hill, Haley McCutcheon, Katie Semon, and Jesse Reynolds, a first-year varsity player.
The 5-foot-7 Miller figures to be the Lady Wildcats' main setter again in the team's 5-1 court alignment. Last season, she was all-district and all-TVC with 615 assists, 53 digs, and 37 service aces (93 percent). A jump server, she occasionally went on the attack, and was credited with 31 blocks.
Hill, another jump server, who has a nice down spin on the ball, was the backside, and finished her junior year with 87 kills, 51 blocks, 43 assists, and 36 aces.
Her attack and kill percentage was 85 and 21 percent, respectively. Basically, one out of every five balls that she hit went in for a kill.
The 5-10 Hill, who's also expected to be the backup setter to Miller, was credited with 100 digs last season.
"Laura is such a versatile player," Drayer said. "She can play a number of positions for me. She's a huge asset."
McCutcheon is a 5-6 outside hitter, who had 22 kills and 14 blocks last season.
And, the 5-4 Semon, who recorded 79 digs in her junior year, will be the libero.
Taylor Hilverding and Maddy Sury are the two juniors on the 2013 team, and both have a lot of potential.
Last fall, the 5-10 Hilverding, a middle hitter, finished with 133 kills, 95 blocks, and 44 aces. Her attack and kill percentage were 83 and 30 percent, respectively.
Sury, an All-Ohio track and field honoree this past spring, is listed at 5-8 but plays more like a 6-footer on the volleyball court. A quick jumper, she was a non-starter as a middle hitter with 51 kills, 14 blocks, and three aces last season. Look for her in a starting role this fall.
The Lady Wildcat sophomores are outside hitter Dani Drayer, hitter Regan Porter, and defensively specialist Lydia Beardsley. Beardsley can also play at the libero position.
"I look for Dani to help us out a lot this season," Jandy Drayer said.
Waterford, which has finished second to Eastern in the TVC two straight years, is scheduled to host Federal Hocking in its season opener on Aug. 27. The Cats will then compete in the Athens Tournament in The Plains on Aug. 31.
"Eastern, even with a new coach, will be our biggest challenge again in the league," Drayer said. "We have a lot of respect for their volleyball program.
"Right now, we're working a lot on passing in practice, and we're just going to take it one game at a time."