Boasting rosters of experienced players and high hopes, the Wood River High School and Carey High School varsity volleyball teams are swinging full-time into their 2018 competition seasons this week.
Wood River (1-1) played “Great Basin 10” East Division Preston Tuesday in Jerome, and visits Mountain Home today for its first Great Basin West Division 4A clash. This weekend is the Peg Peterson Invitational meet in Pocatello.
At the 1A level, Carey (2-0) debuted Thursday with 25-15, 25-16 and 25-12, 25-14 home victories over Mackay and Butte County of Arco. Carey hosts Shoshone and Lighthouse Christian Thursday at 5 p.m.
Carey coach Kathy Whitworth was pleased with the way the Panthers, anchored by four seniors and a starting sophomore, opened the season.
Leading the way against Mackay were Athana Versis (6 kills), Shantell Chavez (7 kills, 18 digs), Kylie Wood (18 assists) and Kodi Green (4 kills, 3 blocks). Top stats against Butte County were Versis (10 digs, 2 kills, 1 ace), Chavez (9 kills, 12 digs, 2 aces), Wood (12 assists) and Green (2 kills, 6 blocks).
Carey (15-7 last fall) has settled for third place in the Sawtooth Conference tournament the past two years, missing state trips with losses to Dietrich. The Panthers hope to turn things around behind All-Sawtooth first-teamer Chavez and second-team Wood.
Defending Sawtooth champ Lighthouse Christian Academy of Twin Falls, last year’s State 1A Division 2 third-place finisher, has graduated key players like first-teamers Sabrian DeJong and Haylee Grossman and second-team Chloe Gomez.
Wood River is entering its tougher “Great Basin 10” conference headed by the Century Diamondbacks of Pocatello, a perennial power that captured six consecutive State 4A volleyball titles from 2010-15.
Hailey coach Tim Richards has welcomed five seniors and five juniors on his 12-player varsity. In all, 36 players are on the varsity, junior varsity and freshman rosters.
Leading the way is All-Great Basin conference first-team middle blocker Annie Kaminski, a college prospect who was Wood River’s “Best Offensive Player” during last fall’s 14-18 campaign.
Junior outside hitter Emily Vandenberg was a Great Basin honorable mention pick also voted Wood River’s “Most Inspirational” and “Most Improved Player.”
Wood River debuts its home season Tuesday, Sept. 4 with home matches against Carey.
Here are this year’s rosters for Wood River and Carey.
Listed positions are Middle Blocker (MB), Setter (S), Opposite (Opp), Outside Hitter (OH) and Defensive Specialist (DS).
WOOD RIVER HIGH
Head coach—Tim Richards (16th year, 290-247, guided WRHS to its last of 21 district championships in 2008, and to its last of 23 state tourney visits, 2012. WRHS was 14-18 last season, #4 seed in the GBC tourney, 5th place in the tournament).
Seniors (5)—Annie Kaminski (MB); Haley Bjorkman (OH/MB); Torie King (S/DS); Patrea Topp (OH/Libero); Willa Beriker (MB).
Juniors (5)—Emily Vandenberg (OH); Sariah Nilsen (S/Opp); Cambria Morris (Libero/DS); Lauren Thomsen (MB); Annabelle Rust (S/DS).
Sophomores (2)—Emma Fahy (OH/Opp); Paige Madsen (OH/Opp).
Juniors (7)—Sam Boyd (OH); Trinity Dilworth (OH); Josie Conely (Libero/DS); Josie Saleen (MB); Sophia Morse (OH); Sam Ferguson (OH); Martina Neri (OH).
Sophomores (5)—Madison Lovell (MB); Jade Ellison (OH); Star Herron (OH); Nysa Wood (S); Natalee Morse (MB).
Willa Laski, Madie Abell, Addi Bevers, Cassidy Conely, Isabell Estrada, Kim Hidalgo, Kira Korchinski, Charlie Loomis, Caroline Seaward, Tatiana Montenegro, Kylee Meeks, Lena Gardner.
CAREY HIGH SCHOOL
Head coach—Kathy Whitworth (16th year, 15-7 last season, 2nd place in the Northside Conference regular season, 3rd place in the Northside tournament).
Assistant coach—Julie Simpson.
Seniors (4)—Shantell Chavez, Athanasia Versis, Kodi Green, Lindsey Morey.
Juniors (4)—Felicity Black, Noelia Cruz, Kourtney Black, Bailie Morey.
Sophomores (1)—Kylie Wood.
Juniors (2)—Kourtney Black, Bailie Morey.
Sophomores (4)—Lizbeth Ruiz, Shaylee Farnworth, Marika Versis, Marcela Del Real.
Freshmen (6)—Ally Colten, Kourtney Patterson, Bonique Camargo, Alexis Peterson, Nayeli Santa Maria, Rachaela Peck.