By Chris Parker
Seneca is poised to build off of last season’s 15-13-2 campaign with a strong group returning in coach Timothy Hedger’s third year as head coach of the Lady Indians.
The biggest building block will be senior Sarah Hoover. Hoover was the only non-senior selected to the all-conference first team last year in the Big 8. She led the Lady Indians in kills with 171 with a .265 hitting percentage.
“Sarah is a six-rotation outside hitter. Her hitting and passing has become far more consistent over the past three years, and I expect her to continue to improve in her senior season,” Hedger said. “She has worked hard in the off season going to collegiate camps to improve her game.”
Haley Miller and Taylor Mailes return for their junior and senior seasons after earning all-conference honors last year. Miller is a utility player for Seneca as she was second on the team in kills (122) and third on the team in digs (83) as a junior. Mailes, a multisport star, had 91 kills in her junior season last year. Last year was her first season playing volleyball.
“She (Mailes) uses her athleticism to dominate the net at a middle blocker,” Hedger said. “Her offensive game improved dramatically towards the end of the season last year, and she will continue to improve and be a force at the net.”
Junior Jessica Gorham will provide a steady hand at setter after accounting for 470 of Seneca’s 505 assists last year.
“Jessica continues to improve with her consistency and placement,” Hedger said. “The hitters are familiar with her and will enjoy having consistency in the setting game. She continues to work on bettering her setting game.”
The consistency returning in the attack from last season’s 15-win squad will be an asset for Seneca this year.
“Having four hitters and a setter coming back from last season’s squad is exciting,” Hedger said. “Our offense will flourish this season as we continue to work on consistency and ball placement. They are getting wiser with every practice. However, we know that we can’t run an offense without consistent passing, so that is currently our focus.”
The rest of the roster is influx, but Hope Cummings and Ashley Collinsworth along with a strong freshman class led by Rylee Darnell should factor into the varsity equation.
Seneca volleyball is expecting big things in 2018 with a strong mix of veteran returners and newcomers.
“After placing second at districts two years ago and tying for second in our conference last season, this senior class is hoping to leave a mark on Seneca volleyball by placing first at districts and in our new conference,” Hedger said. “There is a long road ahead, but they are ready for the time and work required to reach their goals.”