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By LARRY GOFFINET
LEOPOLD—Perry Central’s volleyball team has gone 24-7 and 27-5 the last two years, tying for the PLAC title in 2012 and winning it outright last year.
Despite the graduation of two four-year starters who combined to make all-conference five times, Coach Becky Genet expects similar success this year.
One reason for her optimism is the return of star setter Grace James, who has already made All-PLAC twice and has committed to play college volleyball for the University of Pennsylvania, an NCAA Division I school.
James broke her own school record with 905 assists last season and will again be the Commodores’ only setter in their 5-1 offense.
Many of her assists this year will go to 6-foot-2 senior middle hitter Jordan Sprinkle, another All-PLAC returnee.
She made 212 kills and a team-high 101 blocks last year.
“She has really improved since she started playing varsity,” said Genet.
Genet doesn’t expect the Commodores’ attack to be one-dimensional, though, as she said Maddie Hubert and 5-foot-2 Brittany Parker are also “doing real well” in spiking.
Senior Hannah Edwards, primarily a back-row player last year, and sophomore Ryann Lynch, up from the JV, will also play the front row this year. Genet said both are “working real hard” on their hitting.”
Though they graduated their top two spikers from last year, Genet said the team’s hitting is “average to above average.
“We’ve got quite a bit of quickness and I think we’ll be able to mix our offense up quite a bit.”
Parker and Edwards will play all the way around and are probably the team’s top back-row players, said Genet.
Casey James, who saw some action there last year, will also start in the back row, and Brooke Mullis and Zosha Roberson will alternate at one position there.
“I feel like our serve-receive needs work, and we’re working hard on our defense too,” said Genet.
She gave the team’s blocking a grade of B, listing Sprinkle, Hubert and James as the top blockers.
As for serving, “I think we serve pretty aggressively,” said Genet. “We’re trying to get them to use more floater type serves because we think those are harder to handle.”
She said James, Parker and Hubert are probably the top servers.
Perry Central dominated the PLAC last year and “I think we’ll do well” this year, said Genet.
She said she doesn’t know what Paoli has but expects the Rams and Springs Valley to be the Commodores’ top two PLAC opponents.
Mater Dei has won the Forest Park sectional the last four years and Genet expects the Wildcats to remain the favorites. “But we’re going to go for it. I think we’ve got a lot of potential.”
To win the sectional “we would really have to have our serve-receive and passing game on so we can get the ball up to Grace and run our quicker offense,” said Genet.