November 26, 2011
OHSL volleyball: Unknowns for Homer
There are a number of unknowns entering the 2011-2012 volleyball season for Homer Central.
The Trojans are two-time defending OHSL Freedom Division champions and the defending Section 3, Class A champions for the winter season. Homer opens its season Saturday at the Chittenango Tournament before hosting Mexico in the league opener Tuesday.
More schools defected to the recently completed fall season including Fulton, Phoenix, Marcellus, Cazenovia, Westhill and Skaneatales, which leaves the Liberty Division down on teams for the winter season. Homer is in the Liberty Division for most of its varsity teams this season based on enrollment, but the Trojans still have more Freedom foes than Liberty foes on the schedule.
Head coach Brian Fox enters his eighth season at the helm with a Trojan team in transition and what will be one combined OHSL Freedom-Liberty Division of nine teams. Joining the Trojans in this 2011-2012 division are Cortland, Chittenango, East Syracuse-Minoa, Jamesville-DeWitt, Mexico, Hannibal, Jordan-Elbridge and Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy. Fox has a career record of 87 wins and 48 losses overall with a 71-35 mark in league matches.
The Trojans lost five players to graduation including the Camp twins, Alysha and Katie, the 2010-11 Freedom Division Player and Libero of the Year respectively and honorable mention all-star Katelyn Buchanan along with Karley Brown and Havyn Bush.
“It’s not going to be easy to replace Alysha and Katie Camp,” Fox said. “We’re fortunate to have seven players returning from last year’s squad.”
As for the 2011-12 roster, Homer has seven returning players from that 20-1 sectional championship squad that ended the season with an 18-match winning streak. Leading that group is senior setter Taryn Heath, senior middle hitter Katie Sinclair and senior outside hitter Jessica Mitchell. Heath was a first-team all-star and Sinclair a second-team pick last year.
Also returning are junior middle hitter Lauren Smith, junior libero/defensive specialist Lainee Reed, sophomore middle hitter Lindsay Sears and sophomore setter Emma Gutchess.
“I’m expecting Taryn, Katie, Lauren, Lainee, Jessica, Lindsay and Emma to use their experiences from last year to help guide this year’s team,” Fox said. “We have four good players moving up from the junior varsity ranks.”
That quartet is junior right side hitter Logan McEvoy, junior outside hitter Jessica Walter, junior outside hitter Anni Wynn and freshman libero/defensive specialist Emily Cottrell.
As for the challenge of mixing familiar Freedom Division foes with the remaining Liberty teams, that Fox acknowledged in previous years play a different style, will be interesting.
“For us to be as successful as we were last year we need to be able to pass the ball and play great defense,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll be there at the end competing for the league and sectional title.”
The continuity remains in the lower levels of the volleyball program. Jeremy Cook returns as the junior varsity coach. Lynne Renner and Randi Patterson are currently coaching the junior high teams that in the middle of their season.
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