There are a lot of construction zones outside River High School these days. Because of the remodeling underway, athletic teams are not able to practice. But, with Pilot Head Volleyball Coach Jim Turner at the helm, new players have brought a new attitude and the Lady Pilot Volleyball Team is definitely a work in progress.
The Lady Pilots will be an extremely young team this year with several sophomores and freshmen playing at the varsity level. "There is an adjustment period, but I'm pleased with how well things are going so far," said Turner.
"Practices have been held at Powhatan Elementary School where some of the home games are scheduled to be played, along with some games being played at Magnolia. And that could take a toll on some players. But, not mine. The girls are extremely young, but, they have had great leadership from the upperclassmen and all of the athletes have shown great chemistry.
The 2012 River Pilots Lady Volleyball Team is pictured. In no particular order, they are Annie Turner, Hannah Jones, Leslie Young, Brittany Harrigan, Mikayla Ciezeski, Mackenzie Wade, Mackenzie Marshall, Monica Curtis, Amanda Bennett, Jensen Caretti, Brielle Williams, Abby Caldwell, Elizabeth Bremenkamp, Tiffany Conners, Baylee Figel, Nicole Fisher, Shayla Kuzma, Erika Logston, Keyalya Mundt, Haylee Winkler, and Head Coach Jim Turner.
We have more height and athleticism than in recent years, and I hope that can lead into more wins for our program."
Seniors lost to 2011 graduation were Maggie Morrow, Brittany Conners, Stephanie Murdock, Anna Rufener, and District 12 honoree Torey Potts. However, the team does return five seniors led by four-year starter and first team District 12 selection Annie Turner at the setter position. Hannah Jones, a three-year starter and District 12 honoree last year, is slated to play the libero position again this year. Leslie Young, a front line player who started last year at middle, and defensive specialists Brittany Harrigan and Mikayla Roberts round out the senior class.
The lone junior is newcomer Mikayla Cieszeski, who is returning to the sport after not playing since junior high.
Four sophomores are led by returning letter winner Mackenzie Wade, Mackenzie Marshall, Monica Curtis, and Amanda Bennett. All four sophomores will see varsity time.
There are 11 freshmen this year: front line players Jensen Caretti and Brielle Williams, who will both be seeing plenty of time with the varsity. Defensive specialist Abby Caldwell may also see some varsity time.
The rest of the freshman class includes Elizabeth Bremenkamp, Tiffany Conners, Baylee Figel, Nicole Fisher, Shayla Kuzma, Erika Logston, Keyalya Mundt, and Haylee Winkler.
The Lady Pilots will open the season on the road against Caldwell, Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m. and will host Buckeye Trail at Powhatan Elementary Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. On Sept. 5 the Lady Pilots will face Frontier at Magnolia High School, with the opening serve scheduled for 5:30 p.m.