With four returning starters, Geneva’s volleyball team is looking to see improvement this fall and that success begins with the Eagles playing consistently in each match.
The Eagles, who finished 7-13 overall and 3-5 in the Chagrin Valley Conference last season, have two key holes to fill but plenty of talent to meet their needs.
“We have a lot of talent spread around,” said 19th-year head coach Annah Haeseler. “We have some great players in every rotation. Our offense will be our strength as long as we can get the ball to our attackers.”
Geneva returns most of its front-line hitters but graduated its setter and a libero.
“We have filled them with able and strong junior players,” Haeseler said of the holes in the lineup. “We’re looking forward to them filling those shoes and playing their own game.”
Junior Gianna DeLuca will set and play outside hitter. She recorded 119 assists along with 50 kills last fall in earning honorable mention All-CVC honors.
“Gianna is a returning setter for us and will be also one of our main go to outside players,” Haeseler said. “She has a strong attack and is an aggressive player.”
Junior Alex Nugent will step in at libero.
“Alex is a tough defensive player that is not afraid of anything and will run down any ball that comes her way,” Haeseler said. “She is filling some big shoes, but has just enough grit and skill to get the job done.”
Sophomore Brooke Richmond also will see some time at setter. A versatile player, she also can play outside or middle.
“Brooke will be playing many positions for us this season,” Haeseler said. “She will set and play middle. She is a solid all-around player that is just coming into her own. She is very talented in all aspects of the game.”
Seniors Kennedy Landrus and Kaitlynn Minarik, junior Lilly Rhodes, and sophomore Sydney Park will lead the Eagle attack.
Landrus, a middle, recorded 71 kills and 24 blocks last season in being named second-team All-CVC, and Minarik, an outside/middle, hammered 108 balls last fall. She also was named second-team all-conference.
“Kennedy is one of our senior captains. She is a strong attacker and will be our leader on the court. Her serve will also be a strength,” Haeseler said. “Kaitlynn is our other senior captain. She is a versatile player that will play all around for us. You will see her in every position on the court.”
Park and Rhodes both are outside hitters. Park recorded 85 kills last season and earned honorable mention All-CVC honors.
“Sydney will continue to be a strong outside for us this season. She is a year stronger and smarter this year and will be a force. I’m looking forward to seeing her find her rhythm,” Haeseler said. “Lilly has put in a ton of work in the offseason to improve her game and it shows. She will be a strong right side for us and am looking for her to make some huge plays at the net.”
While Geneva has the pieces and parts to be successful this season, the Eagles have to find consistency early in the season and maintain a high level of intensity in every match.
“Our team needs to stay consistent and play each night with vigor and excitement,” Haeseler said. “I plan to use our offense in a variety of ways, keeping all playing active in their roles. We have strong attackers at every position, so using them all will be key.”