The Swanton volleyball team has the proper foundation for another winning season in 2021. A year ago, they finished 19-5 and were co-champions of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
“We are very optimistic about this coming season,” stated head coach Kyle Borer. “With our experience returning and finding a few more pieces, we can have another successful season. That success will depend on improving on our weaknesses and maintaining the consistency we need in order to play at a high level.”
The Bulldogs did lose six letter winners from last year’s squad, but they return the same amount to hopefully balance it out.
Returning for Swanton are outside hitter Brooke Dockery, middle blocker/outside hitter Trista Eitniear, defensive specialist Brie Williams, setter Sofie Taylor, outside hitter/middle blocker Katlyn Floyd, and outside hitter Morgan Smith.
Dockery, an honorable mention all-league selection a season ago, returns after recording 78 kills, 173 digs and 26 blocks as a junior. Eitniear recorded 145 kills and 17 blocks in 2020.
Floyd, also honorable mention all-league, filled up the stat sheet with 220 kills, 77 digs and 42 aces. Smith finished 2020 with 117 kills.
“We return a good core of experienced players from last season, six letter winners and a few others who got some varsity experience,” said Borer on the main strength of his team.
Perhaps the main piece returning to the Bulldog offense is setter Sofie Taylor. She was first team All-NWOAL as a sophomore and second team in District 7.
Sofie Taylor recorded 651 assists, 43 kills, 41 aces, and 198 digs in 2020. “We have a junior who is a very experienced setter running our offense,” explained Borer.
Promising newcomers looking for playing time are outside hitter Morgan Pettit, defensive specialist Bailey DeKoeyer, defensive specialist Saylor McNally, middle blocker Madison Smith, outside hitter Mackenzie Secory, defensive specialist Olivia Gowing, defensive specialist Mika Levin and setter Samantha Nelson.
“We have a nice group of diverse and strong hitters who can play multiple positions,” added Borer of his team’s strengths. “We are also a very effective serving team.”
Weaknesses he cites include ball control consistency in the team’s passing, court communication, along with depth in certain positions.
Notable losses from last year are libero Samantha Taylor (first team all-league, honorable mention District 7) and middle blocker Avril Roberts (second team all-league, honorable mention District 7).
Samantha Taylor had 322 digs and 41 aces a year ago. Those digs helped her get to 1,065 for her career.
Roberts finished last season with 242 kills and 49 blocks.
Also gone are outside hitter Kailey Brownfield (60 kills, 79 digs), defensive specialist Bailey Arnold (176 digs, 39 aces), defensive specialist Emma Operacz (121 digs, 27 aces) and defensive specialist/outside hitter Savanha Jaqua.
According to Borer, multiple teams have the talent to vie for a NWOAL title this season.
“I foresee the NWOAL to be very competitive as it usually is,” he said. “I believe there will be a few teams that will compete for the top spot and we will do our best to be up there to accomplish that team goal.”
Swanton begins the season by hosting Edon Saturday, Aug. 21 at approximately 11 a.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.