Young Tigers say they have potential

The Tigard High School volleyball team looks to battle for a playoff spot
by: DAN BROOD, ELDER TIGERS — Amanda Stone (left) and Laura Craig are the only two seniors on the Tigard volleyball roster.

TIGARD - The Tigers are young. Real young.

But that's OK, they say. They'll be just fine.

The Tigard High School volleyball team heads into the 2006 season with just two returning players from last year's squad that went 5-11 in Pac-9 play. While that means that the experience won't be there, there should be plenty of promise.

'I see some potential,' said Tigard opposite side hitter Laura Craig (5-foot-8), who is one of the Tiger returnees. 'We'll put it together. It's quite a change from last year, but we'll deal with it.'

Craig is just one of two seniors on the Tiger varsity roster. The other is outside hitter Amanda Stone (5-9), who also is a returnee from last year's team.

'Things are going pretty good,' Stone said. 'We're excited about the season. We've got a lot of juniors and sophomores. But, just because we're young doesn't mean we can't get it done.'

Stone's sister, senior Danielle Stone was also slated to return to the varsity this year, but a shoulder injury will keep her out of action. That leaves the Tigers with just the two senior returnees.

'That's tough,' Tigard coach Robert Coelho said. 'Our question mark will definitely be our youth. I expect that our seniors will provide some stability. They'll give us some experience.'

Meanwhile, freshman outside hitter Allie Moss (5-8) could end up playing a key role for the Tigers.

'I'm expecting some good things from her,' Coelho said. 'She's a good passer and a good volleyball player.'

Sophomore Dianni Freeman (5-4), sophomore Courtney Gehring (5-6) and junior Danya Altringer (5-6) are all vying to be Tigard's setter.

Another key sophomore will be McKenna Brown (5-9), who will play in the middle or at an outside hitter spot.

Junior Alysha Brannon (5-11) will be at a middle blocker position. Other players on the Tigard roster include sophomore defensive specialist Stephanie Sieg (5-4), junior outside hitter Meredith Masters (5-6) and junior outside hitter Libby Brallier (5-6).

'We've got a lot of young girls who will get a lot of court time,' Coelho said. 'We've got a lot of players who can play a number of positions. We won't be afraid to move the line-up around.'

'I think our strength will be our offense,' Craig said. 'We've got some strong hitters. I'm looking forward to the season.'

So is Tigard's other senior.

'Everyone has a good attitude,' she said. 'I think we can be good at about everything.'

As for the Pacific Conference this season, Coelho sees defending league champion Canby as the favorite.

'They'll be real strong,' he said. 'McMinnville and Tualatin will be strong. I'm hoping we can make the playoffs. We can compete for that third or fourth spot.'