Clackamas returns nine lettermen from last years team that went undefeated in the TRL and placed third at state

by: JOHN DENNY - Clackamas senior co-captains (from left) Shelby Torgerson, Taylor Agost and Bailey Bremer believe that Clackamas will be a power in the state, as well as in the Three Rivers League, again this fall. The Cavaliers have won at least a share of the TRL title and they have placed at state in each of the last three seasons.Clackamas High School’s volleyball team has been a Three Rivers League and state powerhouse the past three seasons, and that is unlikely to change this fall.

The Cavaliers were TRL co-champions in 2010 and 2011, and they won the league championship outright and went undefeated in league last year. They placed third at the state tournament last fall and in 2010, and they were fifth in 2011.

“We hope to win league, make the final eight (in the state), and bring home a state championship....,” said Clackamas coach Jim Stultz.

“We’re hoping to go 10-0 in league and also make the state tournament and win state,” echoed Clackamas senior co-captain Shelby Torgerson.

“I think (a state championship) is definitely a possibility,” said senior co-captain Taylor Agost. “I could see the team getting there. We have a lot of talent and we have that potential. If we put in the work and put in the time, it could happen.”

Agost, a 6-2 outside hitter/middle blocker, and junior Lauren O’Brien, a 6-1 outside hitter/middle blocker, return to lead the Cavalier attack. Agost is a third-year starter and she’s made a verbal commitment to play volleyball at the University of Oregon; O’Brien is a third-year starter who is being recruited by three NCAA Division I schools — Utah State, University of Portland and University of San Francisco.

“I think we’ll be really competitive,” said Stultz. “Our freshmen and jayvee teams won league last year and we’ve got two Division I hitters in Taylor and Lauren. Plus we’ve got several other good hitters. It’s going to be a matter of getting them the ball.”

Missed the most from last year is Stultz’ daughter, Hannah Stultz. Hannah, who has been the Cavaliers’ starting setter for the past three seasons, is at D-I Murray State University, where she received a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball.

Attempting to fill Hannah Stultz’ shoes are 5-5 junior setter Marissa Rhodes and 5-8 senior setter/opposite-side hitter Shelby Torgerson.

“Marissa has an incredible work ethic,” said Clackamas senior co-captain Bailey Bremer. “She’s put in the time and she’s improved a lot. And Shelby flies all over the floor to get the ball up. They are not Hannah, but they are working hard to fill that position, and they’ll do just fine.”

Agost and O’Brien are not the only Cavaliers with varsity-level experience from last year. Seven other lettermen return, including: seniors Bremer (5-11 middle blocker/outside hitter), Torgerson (5-8 setter/opposite-side hitter), Emma Chizum (5-10 opposite-side hitter), Tara Deaver-Noblisse (5-7 defensive specialist) and Cassidy Scott (6-0 middle blocker); and juniors Rhodes (5-5 setter) and Caroline Combs (5-10 middle blocker/outside hitter).

Bremer, Chizum, Rhodes and Combs all saw starting action last year. Rhodes moves from defense to play setter.

Rounding out this year’s varsity roster are: seniors Celeste Coryell (5-5 defensive specialist) and Julia Jenkins (5-2 defensive specialist); juniors Ally Atkeson (5-8 outside hitter) and Jensen Perrick (5-6 defensive specialist); and sophomores Emiko Kahler (5-9 opposite-side hitter) and Anjola Oladapo (5-11 middle blocker).

“We’re very different (from last year),” said Torgerson. “Last year we had a lot of natural talent. We still have natural talent, but this year I feel we’re more of a ‘team.’”

“We have really good chemistry,” said Bremer. “Everyone cheers for each other and we all get along.”

“We always encourage each other — a lot,” said Agost. “We’re there for each other on and off the court.

“And we’ve got a passion that we didn’t have last year. You can see it in their eyes. How everyone wants to be here and everyone wants to play.”

Stultz said he expects Lakeridge to be highly competitive in the TRL this year. The Pacers return most of last year’s team, including six players who received TRL all-star honors last fall. Lakeridge seniors Saskia McNairy (middle blocker), Malia Scott (setter) and Madison Marshall (middle blocker) were first-team all-league selections in 2012.

Lake Oswego returns talent in the front line, with first-team all-league outside hitters Taylor Beckman and Heather Pippus back in their lineup.

Agost was a first-team all-league and a second-team all-state selection last season. Bremer and O’Brien received honorable mention in the 2012 league all-star balloting.

Stultz said that Jesuit and Central Catholic should figure in the hunt for the Class 6A state title this year, along with his Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers will get an idea of where they stand early on. They were to meet Central Catholic in their Sept. 3 season-opener. They vie in a tournament at Central Catholic this Saturday, and they play Jesuit on the road next Tuesday.

“We have a lot of talent,” said Agost. “The key will be every girl on the team giving 100 percent every day. If everyone works hard and gives their all, we could have an amazing season.”

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