Veteran Sherwood squad is ready to go
The Sherwood High School volleyball team looks like it very well could have a lot going for it during the 2019 season.
The Lady Bowmen boast a strong group of veteran players, a lot of determination and strong teamwork.
"As a program we look forward to competing at a high level this season and showing our opponents perseverance and tenacity," Sherwood coach Jenette Brotnov said. "The varsity team has several young ladies who have been playing volleyball together for several years and they truly are a team. They encourage, inspire, and lead each other through practices and games. They have the desire to work and push each other to rise above adversity. It is an amazing group to watch and see them continue to grow academically and athletically."
Sherwood returns nine players, including eight seniors, from last year's squad that tied for third place in the Pacific Conference standings at 7-5, while going 10-9 on the season and qualifying for the Class 6A state playoffs.
Among the key returnees for the Lady Bowmen is senior outside hitter Alli Douglass, who is starter her fourth year on the Sherwood varsity. Last year, Douglass was a first-team all-Pacific Conference selection. She'll be one of the Lady Bowmen's captains this season.
"She is a dynamic outside hitter, who leads her team through her actions," Brotnov said of Douglass. "We, as coaches, are encouraged by her becoming a vocal leader on the court. She will be playing all the way around on the court as her leadership commands excellence from her teammates."
Senior libero Piper Harrop, in her third year on the varsity, will be the other captain.
"She is an amazing encourager and vocal leader on the court," Brotnov said. "She is the team's libero this year and will run down any ball that is touched and has an amazing eye for reading hitters. She is always in the right spot digging the ball or serve-receiving."
Senior setter Allison Fiarito is in her third year on the Lady Bowmen varsity. She was an honorable-mention all-conference pick last year.
"She has amazing hands and knows the court well," Brotnov said. "She works hard all the time and has a good attitude that inspires her teammates to work hard as well. Her sets are placed perfectly for her hitters to attack."
Senior outside hitter Claire McGill returns for her third year on the Sherwood varsity.
"Claire has an explosive approach and is a strong outside hitter as well," Brotnov said. "She works hard all the time and has a good attitude."
Julia Leitzinger, an honorable-mention all-conference pick last year, returns at outside hitter.
"Julia has an amazing sense of court awareness and she does a great job keeping the ball in play," Brotnov said. "She has been working hard on improving her defense and serve receive. She is focused and determined to improve her volleyball skills, but also has a great sense of humor, which we all need and love."
Senior Natalie Kapuniai-Ryan, another all-conference honorable-mention pick from a year ago, also returns.
"Last season she was a middle blocker, but has decided to be a right-side hitter this season," Brotnov said. "Natalie is a strong and powerful hitter. She brings a lot of effort and determination at practice, which carries over into games."
Senior right-side hitter Evan Parent-Korsness returns for her third season on the Lady Bowmen varsity.
"Evan is a pleasure to have on the team and always has a smile and a good attitude," Brotnov said. "She is a smart player and is able to capitalize on her opponent's weakness. Her ball placement is so strategic and on point, a skill that is hard to learn and perfect, which Evan has."
Senior Josie Wilson returns at a middle blocker spot.
"She is a vocal leader with inspiring quotes and encouraging words," Brotnov said. "She will be a strong middler blocker this season and has quick footwork, amazing hops and big hands for blocking."
Sophomore Alyssa Kapuniai-Ryan returns at setter.
"She continues to grow as a setter and learning the role of a setter in the high school varsity setting," Brotnov said. "She has a good attitude and has a good work ethic on the court.
Among the newcomers to the team is senior defensive specialist Kaylyn Jackson.
"She is quiet on the court but is able to defensively put herself in the right spot to dig hard hit balls as well as being a strong serve receiver," Brotnov said.
Sophomore newcomer Emma Wagner will play at middle blocker.
"She is stepping into her varsity role as a middle blocker well," Brotnov said. "She has a great attitude, strong work ethic, and she is eager to improve her volleyball skills. She is the type of player that immediately applies what she has been taught and does it successfully with a smile on her face."
Senior newcomer Tess Widney will play at middle blocker, or on the right side.
"She is tall and strong, she is able to read the hitters, set up a block, and stop the ball at the net," Brotnov said. "She has a great attitude accompanied by humor. She works hard on and off the court."
Sherwood will be looking for all of its players to contribute, and to be leaders this season.
"As coaches, we feel that all the girls on the team are leaders, they all have their own leadership qualities, whether by example, vocally, encouraging," Brotnov said. "We believe that because of the shared leadership the team is cohesive."
As for the Pacific Conference this season, Brotnov sees plenty of competition ahead for the Lady Bowmen.
"The Pacific Conference has seven teams that are evenly matched, it just depends on which team will show up and compete," Brotnov said. "Sherwood will compete, the girls will bring all they have to every game, they will face adversity and persevere. All of their hard work will pay off this season with many wins."
In addition to Brotnov, Nicole Kilian returns as a varsity assistant coach for the Lady Bowmen. The program also has three new coaches this year in Alexa Jablonski, Rebecca Moran, and Jenna Garske.
Sherwood will next be in action on Thursday, when it hosts Westview in a non-league match starting at 6:45 p.m. The Lady Bowmen will open their Pacific Conference schedule on Tuesday, when they travel to Glencoe for a 6:45 p.m. match.
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