Local teams try to derail Rams
Central Catholic is unbeaten in league matches over the last six seasons, last losing to Gresham in the 2005
The Mount Hood Conference has long been the states superior league when it comes to volleyball, claiming 14 big-school crowns over the last 20 years.
It wouldnt be the Mount Hood Conference if we didnt have some of the best teams in the state, Barlow coach and former Bruin player Jessie Camp says.
Central Catholic has taken that dominance to a whole new level recently winning three straight 6A titles with their only losses during that span coming to out-of-state teams during an elite tournament in 2010.
Greshams run of four straight titles (1988-91) is the longest stretch in state history, but Central can tie that mark by backing up its stance as preseason favorites this fall.
Well have to put a road block into that one, says Gresham coach Lori Anderson-Cook, who was a key member on those Gophers championship teams. Central is getting a lot of great athletes through their program, so its hard but youre always trying for a state title.
With 10 players back from last years championship team, the Rams will have a chance to match last years perfect 33-0 record.
We look to have some pretty good practices, Central Catholic coach Rick Lorenz says. Weve got 13 athletes on the varsity team, and the all want to work and improve and compete.
Lorenz has a 1,056-171 (.861) career coaching record in high school volleyball.
Even with all the returning Rams, Lorenz has one big hole to fill Â that of Martenne Bettendorf, who is playing as a freshman at the University of Oregon after earning high school state player-of-the-year honors.
She had 49 percent of our kills last year, Lorenz says, so it will be interesting to see who will get the balls Martenne did and if the results can be the same.
The other loss to graduation was defensive specialist Abby Lewis.
The list of returnees consists of four seniors, two juniors and four sophomores. And the three additions to the varsity are two freshmen and one sophomore.
Leading the way in the middle for Central will be seniors Raina Hembry and Kailee Johnson. Hembry, 6-3, has committed to Tennessee. Johnson, 6-3, is a basketball standout on a path to a Division I career in that sport.
The Rams host a key early-season tournament Saturday, Sept. 8, at The Courts in Beaverton; the 12-team event includes state contenders Jesuit, Clackamas, Gresham, Barlow and Sheldon with four pools of three teams each.
Following are previews of the five East County schools:
After starting the league season with back-to-back losses last year, the Bruins went 9-1 down the stretch to finish second in the final standings. The Bruins took that momentum into the playoffs where they knocked off Sprague and Roseburg to finish fourth in the 6A championship tournament.
They developed a really strong desire for competition, Camp says. They know they were able to take fourth because they competed hard and never gave up.
The Bruins return plenty of weapons to stay in the title mix this fall with seniors Cassidy Winters and Kassy Tuma returning to the middle of the net, while Brynna Dougharity and Danelle Woodcock bring big swings from the edges. Many of the Barlow veterans spent time together during open gym sessions in the summer.
Its a chance to swing hard and regain that love of playing, Camp says. Our points can come from anywhere. All of our hitters are swinging hard right now, and we have players who can switches sides of the court easily.
Senior Rachel Woodcock returns to the setter position, taking over duties from graduated Becky Sheller who is playing at Pacific this fall.
The Gresham High basketball teams may not be happy come this winter, because this years volleyball team has a batch of heavy hitters capable to leaving dents in the hardwood. Leading that charge are seniors Haley Crouser and Alex Frazier on the outside, along with Abby Bryant in the middle.
Most of our hitters are able to stay on the floor throughout the rotation and that creates a lot of consistency, Anderson-Cook said. We have those big hitters and a great supporting cast that makes us a really versatile team.
Directing the attack is senior setting Jayde Folsom, who was the teams main distributor last year, as well.
We are so fortunate to have someone who can deliver the ball well, Anderson-Cook said. Its like football. It doesnt matter how fast your receivers are if they dont have someone that can get them the ball.
Senior Anna Huber returns to the back-line in the libero role.
The Raiders forced the top-tier teams in the MHC to take notice last season, picking up an early-season upset over Gresham and taking sets from the Gophers and from Barlow later in the year.
Reynolds finished fourth with a 6-6 record in league play, but held a quick lead and pushed Three Rivers co-champion Lake Oswego to five sets before losing in the 6A playoffs.
Theyre pretty hungry to come back and prove themselves, not only in the Mount Hood, but in the state, Raiders coach Debbie Swoboda says.
Reynolds returns five seniors to the court with Jazmyn Boyd-Clark and Celena Maxwell in the middle, along with Anna Setter and Brenna Huwe on the outside. Savanah Burk and Nicki Gibney give the team additional scoring threats, while Madison Byer returns on the back line.
We have experience, but were still not really big, Swoboda said. Were working on our defense and mixing things up a bit trying to find the right combination of hitters.
The Eagles escaped the brutal league schedule early last season and picked up a title at a Lakeridge tournament, which started with a straight-game sweep over MHC foe Reynolds.
Centennial will see if some of that success can carry over to a 2012 squad that is directed by third-year setter McKenzie Olson.
Shes always taken on a leadership role. Its like having another coach out there, Eagles coach Rob Olson says. Shes very confident in what shes doing.
McKenzie will be setting the stage for hitters Sydney Olson, Salina Castaneda and Chelsea Kline this season.
If we play with a ton of energy and excitement we can be effective, Rob Olson says. We dont have the terminators out there, so well have to be diligent in taking advantage of other teams mistakes.
The Scots look to rebound from a season that saw them finish without claiming a set. The team has some returning weapons in the senior tandem of setter Paige Martin and middle blocker Tess Kuehl both standouts for the softball team.
Jordan Keeney adds another blocker in the middle, while sophomore newcomer Nahshona Zerufael is a threat from the edge.
Were hoping to speed up our play all around, Douglas coach Janeen Rainey says. We have some strong hitters and want to take advantage of that.