GIRLS' VOLLEYBALL: Familiar face returns to take over perennial power Susquehannock
GLEN ROCK — There were few dry eyes last October when Rob Marrison announced to his Susquehannock girls' volleyball team that he was stepping down as head coach.
The loss of a coach with Marrison's pedigree was understandably disappointing. After all, he led a powerhouse Warriors program for eight years, including a PIAA Class AA state runner-up finish in 2008.
Still, the girls that return this season appear to be in good hands.
Darla Pennewill is back at the helm in Glen Rock. Pennewill, who was the varsity coach back in the 1990s before starting a family, is familiar with many of the girls that she will lead this season. A coach with the junior high program the past three years, Pennewill is eager to see what her team is capable of accomplishing this season.
"I definitely have some big shoes to fill," Pennewill said. "But the girls are working hard. I'm letting my experience and (the girls') experience just come together."
With Labor Day occurring later in the month of September than normal, the Warrior girls have had a lot of time to get ready for what they hope is a promising season. They'll finally get to see some outside competition this Saturday when they take part in the Lancaster Mennonite Tournament.
"We've been in preseason a long time, so (this weekend) will be exciting to finally get to play and show off what we've been practicing," senior setter Kelly Franz said.
A lot of recent Susquehannock squads have featured some outstanding NCAA Division I-caliber hitters. Last year, the Warriors had Abby Bentz, who has since moved on to the University of Maryland, but this season figures to be a bit different.
"There's not really one player that stands out," senior Laura Savin said. "So it's not like it's always going to go to the outside it's going to be more of like a team (effort)."
While the hitters may be different at times, one constant that has become a hallmark of the program over the years has been fundamentals. The Warriors rarely beat themselves, a trait that Pennewill has noticed throughout the past couple weeks of practices.
"Their ball-control is really good," she said. "They're very self-motivated and work very hard."
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Division I: Coming off a season in which they captured their first outright division title since 1985, the Central York Panthers (11-1 in 2014) appear to be in a good shape to repeat.
The Panthers return a pair of talented seniors in Allison Rife and Emily Poole. Poole, a 6-foot-2 Lehigh recruit, figures to be a dominating force in the middle, while Rife will provide support on the outside.
Red Lion (9-3 in 2014) will have junior outside hitter Lindsey Blevins returning after a promising sophomore campaign. The 5-foot-9 standout was one of two York-Adams players to make the PIAA Class AAA all-state team a season ago. Dallastown, Spring Grove and South Western also figure to be competitive in Division I this season.
Division II: West York (11-3 in 2014) and York Suburban (11-3 in 2014) shared the division title a year ago. But the Trojans figure to be the main competitor with Susquehannock for this season's crown. Jordan Landis returns along with setter Georgia DuMars and middle hitter Ciara Buckingham for the Trojans.
Division III: While there may be intrigue in the top two divisions entering this season, there's a clear-cut favorite in Division III.
Delone Catholic, winners of the past three York-Adams League championships, return a couple of all-state players back into the fold this year. Katie Laughman, a setter, and Sarah Senft, an outside hitter, will look to take the Squirettes (12-0 in 2014) back to the state title contest as seniors.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.