Westmont won a regional title last year and advanced all the way to the sectional final before bowing out in three sets.
This year, the Sentinels are looking for more success after their 24-win season last year. However, there are many new faces after the loss of several contributors from last year’s team.
Leading the way are returning seniors Madeline Lubeck, a setter, and Halley Pardy, and outside hitter. Both were all-conference selections.
Senior middle/outside Amanda Prete also is back.
They have an influx of newcomers, led by seniors Hannah O’Malley (OH) and Maddy Debs, a defensive specialist. Juniors Sarah Schlacks (S/DS), Morgan Arens (M/Opposite) and Rachel Chorney (Opposite/M) will round out the lineup.
“Working towards another 20-plus win season will take some work and effort for sure,” Westmont coach Jennifer Gilwa-Bell said. “But everyone has been working extremely hard this summer and preseason, so we are hoping things come together by the time conference play begins. We are always pushing to be in the top three in conference.”
To have another strong season, hard work will be needed.
“Lots of repetition in all skill areas will be necessary if we want to improve and accumulate some wins,” Gilwa-Bell said. “Being focused, determined and disciplined are essential for our growth. Discipline, determination and control will be the key to our success this season.”
Lisle is looking for improvement this year on the volleyball court after placing 10th last year in conference.
Leading the way for the Lions are returners Roby Griffin, a senior middle, senior Melissa Ericson, a senior defensive specialist, junior outside Nicolette Provenzano and junior setter Hope Kiesling. Sophomore outside and middle Francesca Wagoner is joining the lineup this year.
“We need to utilize the outside attack, get consistent service and serve receiver and strong defense on the net,” Lisle coach Kristen Oros said.
Oros, the first-year coach for Lisle, feels Seneca is the team to beat in the Interstate-8.
“Seneca has historically been a tough team with a lot of talent, size and conscious decision-making at the net,” Oros said.
Overall, Oros is excited to see how the season plays out.
“As the new varsity head coach, I am looking forward to working the Lisle varsity team and program,” she said. “I see talent and potential in my athletes, and it’s clear the athletes are willing to work hard to reach success. We’ll have to work hard now that we are competing as an IHSA Class 3A team, but I’m confident we will do big things this season.”
The Trojans have an experienced team back this year as five starters are back from last year’s 22-15 team.
Seniors Leah Rogoz (outside hitter), Mary Helen Beacom (setter) and Lexi May (middle blocker), junior Kendall Tucker(moving from defensive specialist to libero) and sophomore Clare Delaplane (outside hitter).
They will be joined by outside hitter and opposite Margaret Mahlke, a freshman.
“This team has the ability to do better than last year as we continue to gain experience given the youth of key positions,” Downers North coach Mark Wasik said. “We need seniors playing like seniors and providing leadership while the younger players grow into their roles.”