Balanced spiking attack will help Tell City team

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By Larry Goffinet

TELL CITY—Strong hitting at every position could propel Tell City’s volleyball team to a winning season.

The Marksmen finished 14-14 last season after posting a school-record 24 wins the previous year. But they return four senior hitters who lettered for both those teams and they have some talented underclassmen as well.

Sometimes they have had one or two good hitters and opposing defenses would key on them. But this year “we’ve got hitters in every spot that I feel comfortable going to,” said fourth-year Tell City coach Dalonda Hayes.

Senior Elizabeth Kohnert “is probably the top hitter power-wise,” said Hayes. “Leslie Poole is probably the most consistent. Brittney Harth is another power hitter. So are Josalyn Ress and McKenzie Hayes.”

McKenzie Hayes is a freshman, and another freshman, Mackenzie Weyer, could see varsity action, as “she’s looking good hitting-wise,” said Dalonda Hayes.

The coach is somewhat concerned about the team’s lack of varsity experience. “Just our four seniors played a lot of varsity last year,” she noted.

She said she’s not sure who will start other than the four seniors: Kohnert, Poole, Harth and Jamie Brinksneader.

The lack of experience is most pronounced at setter, where McKenzie Hayes and sophomore Hana Reed, who played mostly junior varsity last year, will try to replace graduated Julie Davis, who did nearly all the setting last year.

“For being as young as they are, the setting’s not bad,” said Dalonda Hayes. “They’ve both got really good hands. And they’re so competitive that they’re not going to let anything drop.”

Junior Miranda Zuelly is another candidate for a setter position in the Marksmen’s 6-2 offense.

Playing her at setter could free Reed to play the libero position at times, as Reed “is probably one of our best defensive players,” said Hayes.

Back-row passing and serve reception were the Marksmen’s weakest areas last year and remain “a big concern,” said Hayes.

She said Poole and Reed are the team’s top back-row players “if we can get Leslie’s hamstring well. She’s been out of practice the last two days (Monday and Tuesday) and if she misses another day with it she won’t have her (IHSAA-required) 10 practices in before our first match.”

Cassidy Barnhill is another candidate to play the back row.

Juniors Ress and Megan Austin will probably play the front row when some of the back-row starters rotate there.

Hayes said the team’s blocking is “all right. Elizabeth Kohnert and McKenzie Hayes are probably our top two blockers.”

Kohnert led the team in blocks last year and was second in kills.

Poole led the team in points served last year and Hayes thinks “we’ll serve really well” this year.

She said Brinksneader is probably the team’s top server. “She has a power serve. So do Miranda Zuelly and Courtney Young. Elizabeth Kohnert’s pretty consistent placing it.”

Hayes said the PAC race is “wide open,” though “Southridge is always going to be strong, Forest Park is going to be strong, and Gibson Southern didn’t lose anybody.”

As for the Marksmen, “we can be at the very top or the very bottom,” said Hayes. “If our passing is there, we’re going to be hard to beat. Our goal is to be right in the clinch of things and hopefully win it. We should be in the top three at least.”

She said passing is also the key to the Marksmen’s chances in the Class 2A sectional because she expects the rest of the offense to be strong then.

“By sectional time I think our setters are going to know where our hitters like the ball. We hope to run a faster paced offense (to give defenses less time to react to hits).”