Due to weather related issues, in some areas there may be delayed deliveries of your Monday issue of the NewsTribune.
If road conditions are severe enough, your delivery person may not be able to deliver your NewsTribune at all on Monday.
In this case, your Monday edition will be delivered with your Tuesday newspaper.
We ask you to be understanding for the safety of our carriers.
Last season, the Putnam County volleyball team had its first winning record since 2004 under first-year coach Amy Kreiser.
With five starters back for her second season, Kreiser and the Lady Panthers hope to build on last season’s 15-14-2 record.
“We have quite a few starters returning this year and it’s really exciting because they already know the basis of the game and they’re excited to compete,” Kreiser said. “They have already set goals for themselves. They know where we left off last year and that’s where they want to start. It’s not a fresh start.”
The Lady Panthers hope to take a step forward by reaching the championship match of every tournament they play and winning the Tri-County Conference regular season and tournament titles, said returning setter Paige Griffth.
Along with Griffith, a NewsTribune All-Area Second-Team pick last year, the Lady Panthers return NT Second-Team middle hitter Taylor Erjavsek, senior outside hitter Taylor Pettit, junior middle hitter Kirsten Davis and junior libero Annie Miller.
“We have five varsity starters who are coming back, so I’m hoping no one will be nervous in our first game and we get off to a good start,” said Griffith, who was second in the area with 492 assists last season. “We’ve been playing really well together. Hopefully, that will continue as the season goes on.”
Along with Griffith, junior Megan Rehn is a setter, giving the Lady Panthers the option of running a 5-1 or a 6-2.
“Paige could definitely run a 5-1 and that’s an option, but Paige has worked hard on her offensive game as a hitter and I have a junior (Rehn) who ran a 5-1 last year for the JV, so she is ready to run a 6-2. Her and Paige work really well together, so we’ll see.”
Putnam County also has different hitting options with Erjavsek, Pettit and Davis along with juniors Lauren Colby, Kayte Bernardoni and Addison Pavlick.
“We’ll have a variety of things — different hits and different places we can send it so we’re not focused on one hitter,” said Erjavsek, who had 218 kills last season. “It’s important because when other teams start to figure out who the ball is going to, you get blocked, so it’s good to be able to push it around.”
With versatile hitters, the Lady Panthers are capable of switching spots and running different plays.
“The thing I’m most excited about this year is I have a good group of hitters who can play lots of different positions on the court and they are willing to hit in different positions and they’re excited about running their different options,” Kreiser said. “They’re going to be hitting outside their comfort zone more often and switching up the different plays they are running.”
Defensively, Miller is back after recording 285 digs last season. Senior Emily Whitney saw time in the back row last season and junior Jackie Ossola also will contribute on defense.
“We have a very smart group of young ladies and they have accepted all the changes that we’ve made and have learned new things,” Kreiser said. “They’re willing to make changes in a split second. It will be exciting that I can switch things up as we play different teams and make (our defense) fit our competition.”
The Lady Panthers open the season today at home against Kewanee Wethersfield.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
Login to your account:
If you'd like to comment on this article, please log in or click here to subscribe.