The presence of three returning starters will anchor the hopes of the OFA Girls Volleyball team in the upcoming Northern Conference season.
That presence will be expanded by the versatility of seniors Sky Hoover and Emma Hart and the precise setting of junior Taylor Perry.
Hoover and Hart are both three-year varsity performers and both earned All-NAC West honors last year.
“Sky Hoover is one of the best hitters in the entire section. She is powerful at the net with blocking capabilities, she is one of our primary passers and plays great defense,” says OFA Coach Sue McLean about her second year captain.
“Emma Hart is one of the most talented all-around players you will see. She is our best server and she can set and hit. She plays great defense, passes well and she can be used as a hitter, setter and libero.”
Taylor Perry shared setting duties with Hart last season but as junior will be called on by Coach McLean take on sole setting duties so Hart can play more defense and hit more.
The trio will anchor an effort by the Blue Devils to replace three graduated starters in First Team All-NAC selection Taylor Fisher, starting middle hitter Paige Perry, starting libero Jessie Logan, starting outside hitter Adrianna Compeau and another hitter in Shanice Wallace.
Reserves from last season looking to expand their contributions to the team are: senior captain and defensive specialist Sarah Richer, senior middle hitter Brooke Richardson, senior defensive specialist Grace Mashaw and senior outside hitter Jennie Dalton.
Moving up from a strong junior varsity team coached by Jon Cole are juniors in Ruthanne Middlemiss (setter), Marissa Foster (hitter) and Ginny Weir (hitter) and sophomores Kelsi Donaldson (middle hitter) and Shelby Adams (middle hitter).
Last season the Devils saw their hopes to win the NAC West thwarted by two losses to Potsdam and then fell to the Sandstoners in the Section 10 Class C semi-finals.
“We would like to think that the division and Class C are up for grabs as far as we are concerned,” said Coach McLean.
“We will focus on our goals daily by overcoming our weaknesses and building upon our strengths.”
The OFA coach feels that the team’s strength is the talent, work ethic and experience of Hoover, Hart and Perry, excellent setting and the unselfishness of all the players who have shown a willingness to play any role to help the team.
To capitalize on those strengths McLean cites communication and consistency to improve on receiving, passing and setting.
The Devils will once again play in the NAC West with Potsdam, Canton, Edwards-Knox, Madrid-Waddington and Gouverneur. In the postseason OFA, Canton and Gouverneur will be joined by perennial contender Salmon River of the NAC East in Class C.
NOTES: OFA will open its season at the Coca Cola Tournament in Massena on Saturday (10 a.m.) start and will visit Tupper Lake of the NAC East on Sept. 9...All OFA varsity volleyball games are scheduled as 6 p.m. starts...OFA will once again field three levels of volleyball with Alysse Claxton returning as coach of the modified squad...In regional play the Section 10 champions will travel to face the Section 2 champions with the winner moving to meet the Section 7 representatives.