PREVIEW: Senior-led Panthers aim to be in River Valley mix

The Monticello High School varsity volleyball team, first row from left: Caitlyn Cruise, Shalay Bronemann, Macy McDonough, Savanah Kremer, Rileigh Lambert, Maria Recker and Jaelynn Kraus. Second row: assistant coach Kylie McDonell, Maddie Lambert, Jordan Kuper, Corinne Gadient, Lauren Ries and head coach Stacie Breitbach. (Photos by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     A senior-dominated, tall, talented, athletic Monticello High School volleyball team has high hopes for the 2017 season.

     The Panthers finished right at the .500 mark last season at 15-15, but is counting on greater things this fall.

     “We are senior dominated, and feel with their leadership and determination, we will be strong,” said Stacie Breitbach, who is in her third year of coaching the Panthers.

     “We have a good mix of height, strength and quickness.”

     And why not? Eleven letter-winners are back, including four who were all-conference players. Senior hitter Lauren Ries, senior setter Maddie Lambert, and senior libero Savanah Kremer were all-River Valley North Division a year ago, and sophomore middle blocker Jordan Kuper received honorable mention. Also back are seniors Rileigh Lambert, Shalay Bronemann,  Caitlyn Cruise, Macy McDonough and Maria Recker; and juniors Corinne Gadient and Jaelynn Kraus.

     “We are pretty much returning our whole team of starters from last season,” Breitbach said.

     Sophomores Gabby Gadient and Carly Hayen, and freshman Beka Prull, are also poised to make an impact with the Panthers this season.

     Breitbach listed Springville, Mount Vernon and West Delaware as some of the strongest teams in the area. Within the River Valley, Tipton was among those recognized.

     “It is always a battle in the River Valley Conference, but I like our chances to be in the mix at the top,” she said.

     Kylie McDonell is the varsity assistant and head junior varsity coach. Kim McQuillen and Amy Goerdt coach the freshman sophomore team.


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