©Dale Zanine 2019_11_02 01352.JPG

Hebron players celebrate after winning the 2019 state volleyball championship against Walker at McEachern High School.

Class AAAAAAA

Region 8-AAAAAAA

Collins Hill

Head coach: Kimberlee Mankin

2019 record: 16-26

Returning starters: OH Ashanti Williams, Sr.; MB Kai Bailey, Soph.; DS Mackenzie Hamilton, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: S Constanza Arrioja, Soph.; S Sofia Munoz Angel, Fr.; DS Elise Jay, Sr.; OH Mandy Henriquez, Jr.; OH Clair Krajec, Jr.

Outlook: Collins Hill looks to improve on last year’s record with a young team and a revamped lineup led by Williams, a first-team, all-county player. The Eagles upset region champion Grayson in the first round of state last season.

Mill Creek

Head coach: Bo Adams

2019 record: 40-8

Returning starters: Nadia Carter; Alanis Bernis; Ainsley Larence; Joha Bernis; Adriana Ackerman

Other key players/newcomers: Shelby Mullins; Gaby Griffin; Jessica Freire

Outlook: A good-sized group of returning players is back from a team that made the second round of the state playoffs for the second straight season. The Hawks are out for a repeat region championship, as well as a deeper state playoff run.

Mountain View

Head coach: Stan Carpenter

2019 record: 7-30

Returning starters: Maggie McColley; Brooke Worthington; Eva Murphy; Koko Torii; Morgan Davis; Paige Nettesheim; Ava Youngblood; Savannah Milburn; Morgan Davis

Other key players/newcomers: Averi Robinson; Natalie Wilhoit

Outlook: The Bears expect to be improved after fielding a young and rebuilding team in 2019.

North Gwinnett

Head coach: Kristina Stinson

2019 record: 21-19

Returning starters: Macey Sipmann; Izzy Durnell; Laura Thomas; Micah Diffley; Lindsay Kahren; Joya Screen; Abby Taylor

Other key players/newcomers: Hannah Barber; Jayden O’Dell; Shannon Quinn; Kadyn McCarthy; Kendal Crumpler

Outlook: Stinson likes North’s strong group of senior leaders, who mesh well with the team’s newcomers. The Bulldogs reached the second round of the state playoffs in 2019.

Peachtree Ridge

Head coach: Jaileen Juan

2019 record: 26-13

Returning starters: OH Zora Thomas, Jr.; L Hannah Kluesner, Sr.; MB Kellie Watkins, Sr.; OH/MB Yara Marizcal, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: MB Genavi Oyoyo, Soph.; S Sara Kim, Sr.

Outlook: The Lions made it out of a tough region and made the state playoffs, where they reached the second round. They are after another state trip this year.

Region 7-AAAAAAA

Archer

Head coach: Sarah Parr

2019 record: 22-26

Returning starters: S Hadley Schnediers, Jr.; OH Elizabeth Parker, Jr.; OH Erin Walker, Jr.; RH Madison Holland, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: RH Lydia Stearns, Sr.; L Alexis Bartlett, Jr.; RH/OH Abby Allen, Soph.; MH Kayla Matthews, Soph.; MH Raina Hubbard, Soph. S Kelsey Barwick, Soph.; DS/L Lexy Smith, Jr.

Outlook: Archer, region runner-up last season, looks to fight for a region title in a new region this year. The Tigers must replace six seniors, including current college players Kyla Ffrench and Jernai Argilagos.

Berkmar

Head coach: Tyra Smith

Returning starters: Victoria Lawyer; Ariel Ennis; Jessica Garcia; Jessica Ogbodo

Other key players: Karyme Fernandez

Outlook: Berkmar moves into a new region with hopes of making state for the first time since 2017.

Discovery

Head coach: Beth Taylor

Returning starters: Jazzmin Roberts, Sr.; Lauren Washington, Sr.; Ava Williamson, Jr.; Taniesha St. Ange, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: Destiny Washington, Soph.; Nicole Eguwatu, Jr.; Berina Hodo, Soph.

Outlook: The Titans look to be more competitive with new foes in the region.

Duluth

Head coach: Brett Goblisch

2019 record: 12-24

Returning starters: Ivelina Teneva; Madison Bragg; Jewel Cobb; Victoria Davenport

Other key players/newcomers: Molly Burton; Kiara Navarro Rodriguez; Brooke Woods

Outlook: A change in region should benefit the Wildcats, who hope to push for a state playoff berth.

Meadowcreek

Head coach: Jessica White

2019 record: 11-22

Returning starter: L Ashley Hernandez

Outlook: The Mustangs look to build around Hernandez, the only returning starter back from 2019.

Norcross

Head coach: Jeff Cerneka

2019 record: 39-8

Returning starters: S Bella Murray; L Reesa Schroeder; OH Claire Catterton; RS Anna Amason

Other key players/newcomers: MB Maya Ballerstedt; DS Isabella Casagrande

Outlook: Norcross is strong again after reaching the Class AAAAAAA Elite Eight last season. The returning players include all-state selection Murray at setter along with Catterton (second on the team in kills) and Schroeder (top serve receiver and digs leader).

Region 4-AAAAAAA

Brookwood

Head coach: Stacey Bennum

2019 record: 31-17

Returning starter: Abby DeLoach, Jr.

Other key players: Lauryn Latimore, Sr.

Outlook: Graduation took a heavy toll on the Broncos, who won the Region 7-AAAAAAA championship last season and reached the state quarterfinals. Much will be asked of DeLoach and Latimore as leaders of a young team.

Grayson

Head coach: Vanita McGough

2019 record: 26-20

Returning starters: Cadence Thomas; Kelly Clarke; Kayanna Bowden; Justyce Sheard; Makenna Bowens

Other key players/newcomers: Madison Sheard; Mia Wiltshire; Syniah Hudson

Outlook: The Rams made the state playoffs last year, and are hopeful of a return in 2020.

Parkview

Head coach: Jenell Godfree

2019 record: 30-16

Returning starters: S/OH Jordan Godfree, Sr.; S Sarah Ramsey, Sr.; MH Tai Ragland, Sr.; L Meg Youngblood, Sr.; OH/RS Mia Mattson, Jr.; OH/RS Abby Schirm, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: MH Kayla Turnbow, Jr.

Outlook: This year’s seniors are special to Jenell Godfree, who coached them on the inaugural eighth-grade team at Trickum Middle School. Those veteran players provide leadership for a team that reached the second round of last year’s state playoffs.

South Gwinnett

Head coach: Taylor Emmons

2019 record: 19-13

Returning starters: Alira Allen; Jayla Caldwell

Other key players/newcomers: Sarah Smith; Nya Williamson; Doris Onyeanula; Deborah Aikwowo; Tamiaya Threatt; Janae Jean-Jacques

Outlook: The Comets, in a new region, have a goal of returning to the state playoffs after qualifying in 2019.

Class AAAAAA

Region 8-AAAAAA

Buford

Head coach: Hadli Daniels

2019 record: 28-13

Returning starters: S Grace Adams; L Macy Upshaw; H Mikayla Hayden; H Ashley Sturzoiu; H Kiana Polk; H Parker Venable

Other key players/newcomers: Sydney Austin; Gracyn Miller; Carleigh Hillier; Chloe Kerr; Mary McSwain

Outlook: The roster returns intact after having no seniors on last year’s state semifinal team. The Wolves have seniors this season in key leadership positions with Adams at setter and Upshaw at libero. Hayden was the region player of the year and Sturzoiu was an all-state selection —  both are powerful hitters. Polk and Venable also are proven hitters, while Kerr and McSwain also are experienced players.

Central Gwinnett

Head coach: Mike Yocca

Returning starters: Carmelita Onuoha; Raevyn Jordan; Aden Eshetu; Mariangely Aquino-Velazquez

Other key players/newcomers: Nehemia Jinks; Kimora Rainey; Mewan Salih; Morgan Jefferson; Cesilia Martinez-Castro; Jomairy Pena

Outlook: The Black Knights hope to continue their improvement as they move into a new region.

Dacula

Head coach: Jason Berube

2019 record: 15-30

Returning starters: S Anna Beth Stokes, Jr.; OH Arissa Shepherd, Jr.; L Kaya Gusaeff, Sr.; DS Abby Askue, Jr.; S Claire Smith, Sr.; MH Loryn Liechty, Sr.; OH Nataly Flamenco, Sr.; RS Emily Noce, Jr.

Other key players/newcomers: MH Abby White, Jr.; OH Anna Haselden, Soph.

Outlook: Berube said the coaches and players weren’t happy with last year’s record, and they enter the season with urgency to improve and to chase a state playoff berth. The Falcons return 12 players from last year’s roster — eight seniors and four juniors — and added two more players who figure to make a quick impact.

Lanier

Head coach: Ted Deppe

2019 record: 29-16

Returning starters: RH/DS Courtney Howerton; OH MyAhn Byrd; OH Cameron Davis; MH Bailey Bradford; L/DS Maia Rowland

Other key players/newcomers: L Reign Jarin; OH/RH Kate Scheessele; MH/RH Jaid Ray; S/DS Alexa Sherman

Outlook: The Longhorns made the state playoffs as a No. 4 seed last season, and aim for another trip with a mix of returning talent and capable newcomers. Lanier had to fill vacant middle hitter, setter and a defensive specialist spot heading into this season.

Shiloh

Head coach: Rachel Ciceron

Returning starters: Lashae Brewton; Nneka Ibebunjo; Alexandria Powers

Other key players/newcomers: Maya Anderson; Carmen Jamison; Tola Ibisanmi; Kendra Coppage

Outlook: Ciceron took the Generals to the state playoffs last season, and they hope to repeat that feat again in 2020.

Class AAA

Region 5-AAA

Greater Atlanta Christian

Head coach: Rachel VanderPol

2019 record: 26-14

Returning starters: Lexy Taylor, Sr.; Naya Ohuabunwa, Soph.; Autumn Clark, Jr.; Janie Stinchcomb, Soph.; Colson Dennis, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: Gracie Rose, Fr.; Maddie Burrough, Fr.

Outlook: Five regulars are back from the Spartans’ state semifinal team, leaving high hopes for the 2020 season.

Class A Private

Region 5-A

Hebron

Head coach: Taylor Davis

2019 record: 45-7

Returning starters: DS Elizabeth Farmer, Jr.; RH Malia Fisher, Sr.; DS Cherokee Terryy, Jr.; OH Emma Tennant, Sr.; MH Carly Heidger, Sr.; DS Macy Maynard, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: S Angelia Bonner, Sr.; S Morgan Smith, Jr.

Outlook: The defending state champions lost some key players to graduation — 2019 Daily Post player of the year Hayden McGee, outside hitter Rebeca Olariu, setter Abbi Luke and middle hitter Katie Marrero were among the losses — but Davis likes the potential of this team. The Lions can rely on eight seniors, including experienced hitters like Fisher and Tennant.

Providence

Head coach: Katie Bailey

2019 record: 28-20

Returning starters: Maisy Hufford, Sr.; Makayla Gillespie, Jr.; Parker Smith, Jr.; Taylor Lewis, Soph.

Other key players/newcomers: Zoey Volk, Sr; Savannah Walker, Jr.; Ryan Jeremiah, Soph.; Aria Mears, Jr.; Callie Chapman, Soph.; Gabi Hartley, Soph.; Virginia Compton, Soph.; Rylan Johnston, Fr.

Outlook: Five Storm players graduated off a state playoff team full of experience and talent. Providence will have a young team this season, but Bailey is excited about its potential. Among the returning players are Lewis, whose 111 aces last season broke a school record, and Hufford, who led the team in blocks and served as a captain.

Wesleyan

Head coach: Ted Russell

2019 record: 30-17

Returning starters: L Lauren Van Wie, Soph.; MH Alden Pridgen, Sr.; OH Sophia Shaffer, Soph.; RS Grace Carroll, Sr.; MH Parker Tidwell, Soph.; S Riley Bryan, Sr.

Other key players/newcomers: DS Jessica Strohmeier, Jr.; MH Annabelle Lawson, Jr.; DS M.J. Reinhard, Soph.; S Emily Godfrey, Jr.; OH Amber Mathis, Jr.; OH Avery Daum, Fr.; MH Savannah Johnson, Soph.

Outlook: The Wolves have a new assistant coach in Sydney Leimbach, who won a state title at Marist and a national championship at Emory. She joins assistant Maggie Smith, a Wesleyan alum with multiple state titles, on a staff that Russell said makes him “the luckiest coach in the county.” They will coach a 2020 team with six returning starters off a team that reached the second round of the state playoffs last season.

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