Barnstable’s volleyball starting lineup has taken a hard hit this season.
The Red Raiders graduated last year’s Division 1 Player of the Year, Kayla Crook, and All-Scholastic Regan Bristol, who played a big part in the squad’s 15-time state championship reign. Regardless, coaches still expect the Red Raiders to be in the mix this year.
“[Barnstable is] always [at the top], no matter what they ever lose,” said Newton North coach Richard Barton.
Red Raiders coach Tom Turco, who boasts a 474-23 record, returns an experienced back row with Stephanie Martin (libero), Hannah Andres and Nicole Derosier at left back, and Holly Wilson at right back.
Turco’s biggest concern is the offense, which will rely on seniors Ciara Bruning and Liz Gorrill, and sophomore Megan Dombrowski. Taking over as setter is junior Olivia Brodt and she has big shoes to fill after Crook, the Red Raiders’ all-time leader in assists (2,023).
Turco says his squad has “one of the most competitive schedules, which will allow us to grow and hopefully improve throughout the year.”
That schedule includes eight nonleague matches, one against state finalist Newton North. The Tigers return a good chunk of their squad, players among the top in the state at their positions, according to Barton. Returnees include two of the Tigers’ top three attackers, Alana King and Infiniti Thomas. Libero and four-year starter Micaela Cohen is back with setter Talya Feldman.
Barton has new setters, Tess Simmons and Sophie Taviolieri.
Lincoln-Sudbury also took a hit, graduating seven “of the best players I’ve ever coached,” said Warriors coach Judy Katalina, who deemed this season a “rebuilding year.”
If Newton South can survive the Dual County, Lions coach Todd Elwell expects to make a nice run in the tournament.
Making noise in Division 2 is defending state champion Melrose, which returns a strong back-row defense led by Middlesex League All-Star Jill MacInnes. Red Raiders coach Scott Celli’s biggest concern is trying to overcome more than 800 kills lost to graduation.
“If the frontcourt can balance with its extremely talented backcourt, then the team can make some noise,” said Celli.
Lynnfield coach Michelle Perrone expects her Division 3 state finalists’ “experience and leadership from our seniors and juniors [to] aid in preparing the team to rise to the next level of play.”
Pioneers senior captain Ashley McRae will anchor the defense as libero, and seniors Hannah Shaievitz and Katherine Lawless, and junior Emma Mancini will spark the offense.Preseason Top 20 on Boston.com/schools