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Auburn, Auburn Riverside, Auburn Mountainview volleyball previews | AT A GLANCE
AUBURN TROJANS: AT A GLANCE
• Coach: Kimberly Farris, seventh year
• Last year: sixth in SPSL North 4A with a 3-4 league record, 5-9 overall.
• Top returners: Brooke Good, outside hitter, senior, 5-11; Katie Porter, senior, libero, 5-7; Kelsey Zeiger, senior, setter, 5-8; and Tasia Bruton, sophomore, right side, 5-9.
• Impact newcomers: Makaela Kindell, junior, middle hitter, 5-6.
• Outlook: This year the Trojans look to team captain and returning all-SPSL North 4A second teamer Good to set the tone. Good is still recovering from a torn ACL sustained in club play this last spring but is expected to be ready when Auburn starts league play on Sept. 19 against Kent-Meridian.
“On the court she is definitely the most intense player I’ve had,” Farris said. “She gives it everything she can every time she touches the ball. She makes everybody on the court play up to her level. She demands that everybody wants to win and plays as hard as they can, because that’s what she does.”
Farris added that this year’s squad’s unity will also be a strength.
“This is probably the closest group of girls I’ve had in the last four years,” Farris said. “They’ve done four sleepovers, just team bonding stuff, already. The senior leadership is really strong. Usually there is always a little bit of something going on between the group. But not with this group. They motivate themselves in games and drills so far, so I’m expecting more of that.”
AUBURN RIVERSIDE RAVENS: AT A GLANCE
• Coach: Christine Leverenz, 17th year
• Last year: fifth in SPSL North 4A with a 4-4 league record, 7-9 overall
• Top returners: Brenna Bruil, senior, middle hitter, 5-10; Carson Heilborn, sophomore, setter, 5-10; Lexi White, junior, setter, 5-7; Katherine Hood, senior, outside hitter, 5-8; Sydney LaValley, junior, outside hitter, 5-8; Drea Burton, senior, outside hitter, 5-7; and Taylor Santos, junior, outside hitter, 5-9.
• Impact newcomers: Austyn Lawrenson, junior, middle hitter, 5-11; Kaysey Holland, freshman, middle hitter, 5-10; Precious Atafua, sophomore, outside hitter, 5-9.
• Outlook: The Ravens swing into the season shy a pair of SPSL North 4A all-leaguers in Lauren Johnson and Alison Wuerch. But senior hitter Bruil (a second-team all-SPSL North 4A pick last season) is back to lead a young, talented group.
“My strength is my setters,” Leverenz said. “I’ve got Heilborn and White, they’re two very talented setters, probably two of the top setters around. They’re steady and consistent, and good setting makes good hitters great.”
The team also boasts a bevy of incoming players, including Atafua, who Leverenz is convinced will mature as a force on the court.
“And the whole team really gets along well; they’re very cohesive,” Leverenz added.
The Ravens begin league play at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 20 against Kent-Meridian at Auburn Riverside.
AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW LIONS: AT A GLANCE
• Coach: Nicole Claudon, first year
• Last year: first in SPSL 3A with 9-1 league record, 17-6 overall. Qualified for the state 3A tournament, where the Lions went 1-2.
• Top returners: Sam Odren, senior, setter, 5-foot-8; Molly Cichosz, junior, outside hitter, 6-1; Maya Williamson, junior, inside hitter, 6-0; Alexia Elliott-Free, senior, libero, 5-3; Savanna Cappa, junior, libero, 5-2
• Impact newcomers: Kaylie Paul, sophomore, libero,
• Outlook: The Lions continued their streak of qualifying for the state 3A tournament last year, snagging the SPSL 3A title along the way. Although SPSL 3A MVP Kelsey Fausko and all-league first teamer Caitlin Carr are gone, as is teammate Courtney Schroeder, the Lions still boast plenty of talent in Chichosz, Odren, Elliott-Free and Williamson, who all earned all-league nods last season.
“We’re a pretty scrappy group on defense. They’re going to lay down their bodies for any ball to make sure it doesn’t hit the ground,” Claudon said. “They’re pretty aggressive at the net as well, as far as blocking and taking swings there. They’re going to try to attack as much as possible.
“I’m pretty comfortable we’re going to make it to state,” she said. “We’ve got big plans for the rest of the season. I’m excited to play into November.”
The Lions host the Puget Sound Adidas Invitational Volleyball Tournament beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday at Auburn Mountainview High School. The event features 24 of the best teams in the state, including Auburn, Auburn Riverside, as well as powerhouses Bellarmine Prep, Tahoma and Seattle Prep.
Auburn Mountainview begins league play at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 20, hosting Bonney Lake.