Fort VB expecting a good season

BEVERLY – Last fall, the Fort Frye volleyball team claimed its first sectional championship since 2001 and eventually bowed out to West Muskingum in a Division III district semifinal matchup at Cambridge High School.

Head coach Sam Skinner and his Lady Cadets are hoping to build off of that success in 2013.

“Our expectations are high this year,” said Skinner, in his second year at the helm for Fort Frye. “We’ve got a good group of girls. We expect to win a bunch of games. Hopefully be able to roll with it, start out hot and roll into the tournament season. We’re looking for a good year.”

Gone from last year is standout Deidra Combs, as well as Lexi Huck, Abby Baker and Ellie Schwendeman

The Cadets will be led by a pair of three-year letter winners in senior setter Alli Hesson and senior outside hitter Bailey Thieman.

Fort Frye also has a “big middle” in senior Natalie Smith, while fellow senior Alyssa Skinner is a returning letter winner at setter.

“We have our group of seniors,” Skinner said.

“Those four will do us really good.”

A pair of juniors, libero Lexi Skinner and hitter Megan Pennock, figure to round out the starting lineup for Fort Frye.

Skinner said there are also some underclassmen that will step in and play a big role this year.

“We’ve got some young girls that gotta step up,” he said. “They’ve got to make some progress for us and really step into a position of being able to put the ball down on the court.

“I need some of the young girls to step up and play well at the net for us. Us getting the ball down is gonna be the key for us this year.”

Coming off of a district appearance and a 15-7 record a season ago, the Lady Cadets have elevated their goals for this year.

“That is the standard we want to set,” Skinner said. “We want to win that sectional title, go to district and try to advance farther this year. We want to win the league, we want to go to OVAC, play in the tournament and win sectional and district. That’s our standard this year.”

Skinner views Shenandoah as the biggest threat in the Pioneer Valley Conference, but believes the league will be tough from top to bottom. “We’re expecting to compete with them and hopefully take the title this year,” Skinner said.