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Lincoln High Volleyball preview: 2011

Looking to move up in PVL standings
By: Andrew Hazard Gold Country Media Correspondent
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The Lincoln High School varsity girls volleyball team is hoping to improve on 2011’s disappointing 4-6 Pioneer Valley League record (12-11 overall). The first thing head coach Amanda Retallack must do is find a way to replace the Fighting Zebras’ team captain Brittany Browand. The setter was fourth in the PVL last year in assists per game (4.1), she had 230 saves overall, 173 digs and 16 serving aces. Junior libero/setter Taylor Emerson looks ready to take over the leadership responsibilities from the graduated seniors. Last season Emerson was second in the PVL in digs per game (5.1). She had 287 digs overall; seven serving aces, and six attack kills. Lincoln must also replace its other team captain, middle hitter Samantha Whalen. Whalen led the league in blocks per game (0.6), she had 35 blocks overall in 2010. Whalen recorded 79 digs, 69 attack kills, 15 serving aces, and averaged 1.2 kills per game last season. The Fighting Zebras should have a replacement for Whalen in junior middle hitter Briana Brown. As a sophomore on the varsity squad last season, Brown had 33 attack kills, 12 digs and eight blocks. Brown can also play at the outside hitter position if needed. Lincoln could use Brown’s help at outside hitter with the loss of Jordyn Ceccato, who graduated. Ceccato had 63 digs and 30 attack kills in 2010. However, Lincoln could be strong at outside hitter with seniors Emily Bell, Stephanie McMillan and Caylin Shaw all expected to return. Senior Kennedy Kumar could replace Shelby Jones at opposite hitter. The graduated Jones recorded 34 attack kills, 25 digs and 17 assists in 2010, while Kumar had 18 digs. With Colfax expected to return nine players from last season’s 8-2 team, and the PVL’s 2010 champion Placer High School is expected to return seven players, the Fighting Zebras are up for a challenge. Bear River should also be a tough match for Lincoln. The Bruins are expected to return 14 players in 2011. Even though Lincoln is in a tough division, the Fighting Zebras went through the growing pains last year and should be ready to compete for a PVL title this season with a good mixture of talent and experience returning. E-mail News Messenger Sports at jiml@goldcountrymedia.com