WEST VALLEY PREPS

West Valley Preps catches up with boys volleyball

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Last week marked the beginning of the high school boys volleyball regular season. West Valley Preps coaches to take a look at their teams:

Centennial Coyotes

5A Northwest Region

Coach: Cari Bauer (15th year as Centennial boys coach)

2019 Record: 8-10

Top Returnees: Jaxon Williams Sr., MB.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? I feel like I had a handful of kids play club this season and it has helped us to not have to dust the cobwebs off as much. This is a great group of guys that represent Centennial phenomenally in more ways than just volleyball.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We are working on consistency…and now our setting position has more experience so that should be something we can attain.

Who are your team leaders? Seniors Micah Davidson, Bradley Safranske, Owen Dow and Jaxon Williams.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Sophomore setter Landon Corrie will step in to help right away … also there are some kids from last year’s JV squad that have made statements for court time:  Gavin Gohre, Zach Norman, RJ Short.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Just focus on getting better every day so we can be playing our best volleyball at the end of the season.

Deer Valley Skyhawks

5A Phoenix Region

Coach: Eric Palmer (17 years as a coach in the program. 8 years as Co-Head Coach. 1st year as Head Coach after the 30 year Hall of Fame career and retirement of Kim Ulrich-Suss.)

2019 Record: (20-13 overall, 7-1 region, lost in first round of 5A playoffs)

Top Player: Senior MB Brady Kuhn (70 kills, 30 blocks)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? This is a season of opportunity… with only one returning varsity player, this group is young and talented who have been working extremely hard for their opportunity to play varsity. This season will be a process in which we grow together, improve together, and win together. We will work hard and improve everyday so we are ready to peak at the end of the season when it counts the most.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Gain confidence through experience, learn how to win close games, and attack our process by being the very best version of ourselves everyday.

Who are your team leaders? We are led by senior captain Brady Kuhn, a third year varsity member, and the lone returner from last year’s team. Brady will impact our team on the court with his smart aggressive play at the net.  His confidence to stay aggressive when it counts the most will help us win matches.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Senior Josh Erickson will impact our team at the net, Senior Michael Morris will help secure us defensively, and all the juniors have worked extremely hard for this opportunity to make the leap to varsity. 

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Win enough games to qualify for the 5A state tournament.

Estrella Foothills Wolves

5A Independent

Coach: Michael Matteson (first year as Estrella Foothills coach)

2019 Record: Did not play (this is the first season at boys volleyball at the school)

How many years have you coached boys volleyball? I have been coaching boys volleyball since 1998, but this is my first high school varsity program. I have coached club, middle school, girls and basketball.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? This is our first season with a boys program, but we have had such good interest, that we had enough boys try out to have a Varsity and JV squad in our first year. Our best attribute has to be the drive of the boys in making this program happen.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Since we are starting from scratch, it is hard to express what our improvement will be, but I can say that I am really impressed with the improvement in basic skills I have seen from all of the boys. We have some athletes who have club experience, some who have only played in middle school, and others that this is their first experience in playing volleyball. All of the boys have made huge gains in just the few short weeks we have had.

Who are your team leaders? As far as leaders go, my sophomore libero, Mason Robinson, has really stepped up to lead experienced and inexperienced teammates alike. Some other notables are freshmen setters Ryan Bugs, and Brenden Matteson, freshmen outside Noah Amenhauser, junior outside John Coleman, and senior middle Ashton Massey. All of which have stepped up to really make our program look like one that isn’t in its inaugural season.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament, or achieve the goals you have set this season?Due to our program’s infancy, we aren’t even sure if we will meet the requirements to make the state playoffs this season, but we are already looking forward to next season. We are expected to be in 4A after the new divisions are made next year, and our region looks like one we can definitely be competitive in, if not outright win next season. It is just really exciting to be part of a new program, and part of a growing sport that the boys truly enjoy playing.

Ironwood Eagles

5A Phoenix Region

Coach: Marcy Robb (30 years as a high school volleyball coach)

2019 Record: 14-12 (Reached quarterfinals)

Top Returnees: Nate Guzman Sr., OH; Mathew Holmes Sr., L.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Nine returning athletes.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Pulling the team together because several of my returning starters are on our Soccer team and they are in the semi-finals and I am not expecting to have them back until after my pre-season scrimmage.

Who are your team leaders? Nate Guzman, Evan Lauer and Mathew Holmes.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Freshman Josef Moeschf and senior Ronald (Junior) Shima

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to stay focused and get our whole team here so we can start practicing together.

Millennium Tigers

5A Northwest Region

Coach: Shawn Brannick (fourth year as Millennium coach)

2019 Record: 30-8-2 (Reached 5A quarterfinals)

Top Returnees: Nathan Avitia, Jr., S (905 assists, 148 digs); Austin McKee, Sr., OH (300 kills, 167 digs)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We are a veteran team with great chemistry.  We have ten seniors and three juniors returning from a state quarterfinal appearance last year.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? To continue to grow as a team, we have entered three tournaments this Spring.  We will be appearing in the Chander Wolf Howl, Kellis Invite, and Brophy Invitational.  All these tournaments will give us the opportunity to battle some of the best competition Arizona and Nevada have to offer.

Who are your team leaders? Austin McKee (OH) and Nathan Avitia (S) are our captains for the season.  All of our seniors play a huge part in leadership and mentoring the younger levels.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? We bring back six of our seven starters from last year. Juniors Gabriel Garcia and Bernard Conrique have been high impact players for us so far on the outside.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Our goal is to focus on each singular match ahead. Boys volleyball is continuing to quickly grow in the Valley and in doing so, has created a very competitive 5A field to navigate through this spring.

Peoria Panthers

5A West Valley Region

Coach: Steve Treguboff (ninth year at Peoria)

2019 Record: 9-18

Top Returnee: Israel Rivera, Jr., OPP

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? They are a great group of guys who are having a good time playing the game and working on a common goal.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We are a very young team as we lost nine seniors last year so, we have young players of which six are sophomores and two players are in their first year playing volleyball.

Who are your team leaders? Israel Rivera is our most experienced player and is this years captain.  He brings great passion for the game, leadership for our team and knows how to bring the guys together.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Xavier Vierra a junior and Jared Lyda a freshmen are first year players with great athletic ability and a natural aptitude for the game.  Also, Huy Vo is new to our school, from Vietnam but come with some experience and is fun to watch progress his game.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? Keep learning the game, continue to gain experience and allow the process to move forward.

Shadow Ridge Stallions

6A Desert Valley Region

Coach: Joe Volkman (Second year at Shadow Ridge, 20 years as volleyball coach)

2019 Record: 5-13 (Reached 6A play-in round)

Top Returnees: Austin Smalley Sr., MB/OH (17 kills, 15 blocks), Aidan Volkman Jr., S (28 assists).

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team value of Ohana (family).  We take great pride in playing for our Ohana = Our Community, our school, the staff and students, the players who came before us, our blood family, and each other.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Game play speed and awareness.

Who are your team leaders? Austin Smalley, Aidan Volkman, Kyle Springer

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Cody Makert, senior outside hitter and Kaden Cooper, freshman outside hitter — both of these young men have some amazing athleticism with high flying attacks.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We qualified for state last year and the expectation is to return and go deeper in the tournament. In order for that to happen we need to trust the process, work diligently, and play with passion for our Ohana. If we do that we should return and do well.

Sunrise Mountain Mustangs

5A Northwest Region

Coach: Tony Gale (17th year as coach)

2019 Record: 2019 record: 23-13 (Reached 5A first round)

Top Players: Hayden Creel, Sr., MB; Kyle Berger, Soph., S.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We are young but experienced; many players are now playing club in the off-season and that has helped with their development. 

Who are your team leaders? Kyle Berger, Radu Iosifescu and Chris Middleton.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Kyle Andersen, Brock Hammond and Connor Riley

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We will need to be more consistent on serving, play to our abilities and give every opponent our respect and maximum effort.

Willow Canyon Wildcats

5A Northwest Region

Coach: Matt Overfelt (second year as coach).

2019 Record: 4-18

Top Returnees: Marquis Kelly, Jr., OH/S (69 kills, 111 assists); Taron Sadler, Jr., DS (22 digs).

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? This is the second year of boys volleyball at Willow Canyon. We are raw in our volleyball technique, but we are a very athletic team.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We have a lot of new volleyball players. We need to get used to the speed of the game and get better at playing out of system balls.

Who are your team leaders? Marquis Kelly and Taron Sadler gained valuable experience in the USAV club program this past year. We expect them to lead and teach our younger players.

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad that could make an impact? Daniel Redmond has earned the other outside hitting position and has already started having an impact. Cody Guest and Hayden Diekmann are two new players who bring height and athleticism to the front line.

What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season, or reach the goals the program has set? We need to be able to overcome mistakes immediately in game and have the confidence and trust in our teammates to make plays. 

 

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