The Wauwatosa West girls volleyball team is hoping that numerous returning starters will lead to a more successful season.
The Trojans will be led by senior Elise Ditscheit, a second-team all-conference selection last year, who should anchor a diverse hitting attack.
Other starters from last year are senior outside hitter Marena Leisten (outside hitter) and Emily Schaefer (defensive specialist); juniors Sarah Mraz (libero), Maddie Inman and Ali Stewart (setters), Dani Savignac (outside hitter) and A'lantra Wright (middle hitter) and sophomore Natalya Summers (right side hitter). Also returning is senior letter winner and outside hitter Molly Grennier.
Leisten and Savignac should bring a more consistent outside attack while Inman and Stewart will share the setting duties again.
"With a year of varsity experience, we look for this position to be a key component to bring our offense to life," co-coach Jerry Lahmann said. "Mraz and Schaefer played great defense last year, so we look for their leadership to bring our defense to the next level.
"Wright and Summers will bring added depth to our hitting with their talents. Grennier will compete with our outside hitters for playing time with her strong all-around game."
Co-coach Kelly Dwyer and Lahmann have some good newcomers who should give West added depth in all areas.
Leading the new faces are senior middle hitter Sarah Amoroso, junior hitters Taylor Barry and Alexis Hardy, sophomore defensive specialist Ashley Vulgaris and freshman middle hitter Clare Honan.
"We are quite excited about adding a freshman on varsity this year in Clare Honan," Lahmann said. "She brings us height, talent, and experience that is uncommon for someone so young. We see strength in all areas of her game and anticipate a significant contribution to our team success."
The Trojans participated in the Milwaukee Lutheran Tournament on Saturday.
West beat Indian Trails (25-15, 25-23) and Milwaukee Lutheran (25-21, 25-23), lost to Shorewood (25-19, 25-22) and beat Indian Trails (15-10) in a tie-breaker game.
Splitting last two
They then split their final two games, losing to Crossroads (25-19, 25-15) and beating Grafton (25-20, 25-17).
"Overall the tournament went well," Dwyer said. "We played well in the morning, moved and talked on defense. Really we only had one game that I was disappointed in which was against Crossroads.
"We didn't move, we didn't communicate. We did a lot of standing around. Overall it was a good day. The season is a marathon not a race I am happy with the progress that we have made in the first week or so."
Looking ahead, Dwyer feels there could be good things ahead for the Trojans.
"Our strength will be our experience and having the same core players playing with each other for another year," he said. "The Woodland will be a tough conference this year and is up for grabs.
"Pius is the front runner with New Berlin West and Greendale right behind them. If we play to our potential we will also be at the top of the conference."
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