Thursday, February 2, 2023

Eagles hungry for more

After sharing the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division title with Perry last fall, Geneva returns three starters and several others with varsity experience.

The Eagles, who finished 19-4 overall and 11-2 in league play, must replace two outside hitters, including CVC MVP Jordan Vencill, and the starting setter, but head coach Annah Haeseler, the Co-Coach of the Year, is confident her squad is up to the challenge.

“I think we are a well-rounded team with a deep bench,” Haeseler said. “I’m hoping to fill those (holes) with some young players that will add a new dimension to our team. I’m looking for our seniors to help lead the younger players and for our junior middles to take the lead.”

Geneva will focus on one service at a time but Haeseler also wants her players to play aggressively.

“I want the new players to push and to take chances,” Haeseler said. “With (being) young comes a lack of experience under pressure, but I’m hoping the seniors take away that pressure.”

Seniors Chrissy Oros and Morgan Stoltz both earned All-CVC honors last fall.

Stoltz was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district after recording 28 service aces, 40 assists and 333 digs with a school record 4.5 digs per set average.

“Morgan is a tough libero with the experience and knowledge of the game like no other,” Haeseler said. “She will be a key factor in our success.”

Oros, a setter, was named honorable mention all-CVC. She recorded 43 aces, 49 digs and 270 assists.

“Chrissy is calm and cool,” Haeseler said. “She leads with a positive attitude. Her setting is on point and she will play all-around for us this season.”

Junior middle Kennedy Landrus will be counted on to step into Vencill’s role.

She recorded 63 kills and 23 blocks last season.

“Kennedy will have big shoes to fill, but she will be one of our biggest attacking threats this season,” Haeseler said. “She will be in the middle and maybe some outside. She is powerful and a smart player.”

Junior outside hitter Kaitlynn Minarik returns after recording 85 kills last season.

“Kaitlynn will fill in on the outside this season,” Haeseler said. “Every year, Kaitlynn gets more aggressive and more confident. She will be a go-to player for us this season.”

Sophomore setter/outside hitter Gianna Deluca and freshman outside hitter Sydney Park round out the projected starting lineup.

“Gianna will be setting and also playing some front row for us this season. She is smart, strong and quick with solid defensive play,” Haeseler said. “Sydney is a freshman that will be playing quite a bit for us this season. She is a smart player and a strong all-around player. I’m looking forward to her adding to our offense.”

Seniors Olivia Wayslaw, Kaylee Caswell and Rachel Raymond, sophomore Lilly Rhodes and freshman Brooke Richmond will provide depth for the Eagles.

Wayslaw is a middle hitter while Caswell and Raymond are outside hitters. Caswell also can fill the defensive specialist role.

“Olivia will be playing middle or backside for us this season. She adds a strong block and a solid offensive play in the middle,” Haeseler said. “Kaylee is a strong all-around player that will be looking to fill in many roles this season. She will be a rock star in any position she plays. Rachel is a strong outside and backside player. She will play tough and put up a solid block wherever she plays.”

Rhodes is a rightside hitter and Richmond can play on the outside or in the middle.

“Lilly is a strong lefty player that is looking to dominate the right side. She is strong and comes in with a full swing,” Haeseler said. “I’m looking for Brooke to take charge of the middle this season. She jumps well and has smart net play. She has great hands and with experience and confidence, she will be unstoppable.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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