The Lady Bowmen, with some key returnees, have some high hopes for the 2017 season

DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Katie Folsom (2), shown here in a match from 2016, is one of the key returnees for the Lady Bowmen this season. The Sherwood squad is taking high hopes into Three Rivers League play. SHERWOOD — Last year, under first-year coach Tiffany Zwick, the Sherwood High School volleyball team made a nice jump up the Three Rivers League standings.

This year, the Lady Bowmen are hoping to keep on jumping up.

The Sherwood squad, with some key returning players, as well as some talented newcomers, are taking high hopes into the 2017 season.

"Sherwood is looking to compete again towards the top of the Three Rivers League," said Zwick, who was the 2016 Three Rivers League Coach of the Year. "The girls have put in long hours and hard work in the gym all summer. With seven returners and seven newcomers, they bring a lot of experience from playing club during the off season. The team once again has goals of making it to playoffs and to state."

The Lady Bowmen did graduate a top player from last year's squad, in outside hitter Sarah Penner, who is now playing at Gonzaga University, but the squad does have some key players back from last year's team, which finished in third place in the Three Rivers League at 11-5, while reaching the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, before falling to eventual state champion Central Catholic.

Among the returnees is senior outside hitter Katie Folsom (5-foot-8).

"She was a starter last year and has really stepped up as a leader already for the season," Zwick said. "Katie brings a fire and passion to the court as well as solid defense and serve receive."

DAN BROOD - Sherwood High School senior Maddy Carbo, shown here in a Three Rivers League match from 2016, returns at setter for the Lady Bowmen this season. Senior Maddy Carbo (5-10) returns at setter for the Lady Bowmen.

"Maddy brings two previous years of varsity experience to the group," Zwick said. "She has grown as a leader and looking for her to run the show as a setter again."

Senior Grace Rivers (5-8) is back at an outside hitter spot for Sherwood.

"Grace has improved all around from last season," Zwick said. "She brings a lot of energy and leadership to the team this year."

Junior Alyssa Haslip (5-11) returns at right side. She was an honorable mention All-Three Rivers League pick last year, despite missing the last part of the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"Alyssa is back and ready to compete again," Zwick said. "She brings a competitive attitude and a strong offense to the team as well as leadership on the court."

Junior Alyssa Dillree (5-6) is back at defensive specialist.

"We're looking for her to be a top defensive specialist for the team this year," Zwick said.

Junior Kaylee Ocheltree (5-4) also returns to the varsity.

Sherwood was looking to have another returnee, sophomore middle blocker Allison Douglass, but she suffered a back injury during the summer, and will likely miss the 2017 season. Douglass was an honorable-mention all-league pick last year as a freshman.

Among the newcomers to the Sherwood varsity roster is senior outside hitter Emily Bacewich (5-7).

"Emily brings a competitive and positive attitude to the team," Zwick said. "Her quickness and court awareness make her one of our top defensive players. She also has springs in her feet and will be a top offensive threat as well."

Sophomore newcomer Allison Fiarito (5-9) will see action at setter.

"Allison will look to share time setting with Maddy Carbo," Zwick said. "Her competitiveness as well as coming from a family of volleyball players will bring experience to the team."

Sophomore Evan Parent-Korsness (5-9) will play at middle blocker and outside hitter.

"Evan is looking to be one of our top offensive threats for the season," Zwick said. "She is very coachable and willing to play any position that would benefit the team."

Sophomore newcomer Piper Harrop (5-5) could be a key player in the Lady Bowmen defense

"Piper is looking to play time at the libero position," Zwick said. "Her serve receive and quickness on defense will be a great addition to the team."

Other newcomers to the Sherwood varsity include sophomore outside/right side Claire McGill (5-8), sophomore middle blocker/right side Natalie Kapuniai-Ryan (5-8) and freshman middle blocker Gretchen Kibbe (5-10).

"We are a more-rounded team this year," Zwick said of the 2017 Lady Bowmen. "We have many players that are versatile, and can play multiple positions. We're looking to be an offensive threat from everyone on the court, and defense will be a strength."

As for the Three Rivers League this year, Zwick sees plenty of competition ahead for the Lady Bowmen.

"Once again, the Three Rivers League will be one of the toughest," She said. "Every night will be a battle, as every team has continued to improve in the off season. I think it will come down to who is the most mentally tough and who makes the least amount of mistakes. We tell our girls, 'give it your all every night, and if at the end of the night you left it all on the court and you don't come out with the win, then you'll have no regrets.'"

Helping out Sherwood in the TRL battles will be new assistant coach Heather Meeuwsen.

A 2011 Liberty High School graduate, Meeuwsen was the Class 5A Volleyball Player of the Year, when she helped lead the Falcons to the Class 5A state championship match against the Lady Bowmen. Meeuwsen also played the collegiate level, earning Libero of the Year honors.

"She brings energy, passion and much knowledge of the sport to the girls," Zwick said. "She has been a great addition to the program."

Sherwood will open its season today (Thursday) when it hosts Tigard in a Three Rivers League opener starting at 6:30 p.m. The Lady Bowmen will then play at a tournament at Southridge on Saturday. On Tuesday, Sherwood will travel to Tualatin for a TRL match starting at 6:30 p.m.

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