Five teams to watch
Camanche: Gone are four starters, including all-state outside Madi Parson, but the Indians still should be in upper-half of the River Valley Conference North Division. Tarah Wehde, off an all-state softball season, will be Camanche's top attacker. Junior Emmy Seeser fills the setter role and junior Maddie Michels is the libero. "We will have new faces, but girls who know the game as well," coach Heather Clark said.
Clinton Prince of Peace: Prince of Peace was 13-18 last year, but it had only one senior on its roster. Anabel Blount, second in the Tri-Rivers Conference East Division in kills last season, is back along with junior hitter Paige Kuehl, junior setter Isabelle Hansen and sophomore Lilly Isenhour. The Irish have the pieces to possibly contend for a title in the East Division.
Tipton: The Tigers won a school-record 39 matches and were state runners-up in Class 3A last year. Sommer Daniel, the player of the year in that class, is back along with middle hitter Kamryn Chapman and libero Karlee Kamberling. Sophomore middle Carly Puffer is expected to step in and play a prominent role. "We will be stronger up front, in terms of the block," Tipton coach Amy Calonder said. "We need to continue to work on our communication."
West Liberty: Coming off a 26-win season, West Liberty has plenty of firepower returning in the front row with sophomore Macy Daufeldt and junior outside Martha Pace. The two combined for 571 kills and 337 digs last year. Morgan Peterson is back as the setter. The Comets graduated all-state libero Macy Akers, but freshman Monica Morales is in line to fill that role. "This team is eager to compete," coach Ruben Galvan said.
Wilton: The Beavers won 36 matches and reached the Class 2A state tournament last year. They lost four starters, including all-stater Aubrey Putman, but there is still plenty of talent with three sophomores who saw significant playing time a year ago in outside Alexa Garvin, setter Ella Caffery and middle/setter Kelsey Drake. "Our goal is tenacious defense," coach Brenda Grunder said. "Defense will be our strength early in the year. Our offense will have to catch up."
Five area players to watch
Lindsey Banowetz, sr., Bellevue: Named to the River Valley Conference North Division's top team last fall, she was the Comets' leader in kills (241), aces (34) and blocks (34).
Macy Daufeldt, so., West Liberty: Already a Drake commit and a state long jump champion, Daufeldt was the only freshman to make the RVC's Elite team last year. She had 332 kills with a .424 hitting efficiency.
Sydney Dennis, jr., North Cedar: Averaged nearly four digs per set and was one of the Knights' top attackers with 152 kills last year. She also served at a 94-percent clip with 39 aces.
Kylee Sanders, jr., Louisa-Muscatine: She has been an all-stater each of the past two seasons in softball. She led the Falcons in kills last season and was among their top servers (151 of 167, 27 aces).
Nell Sybesma, sr., Maquoketa: She accumulated 199 kills, 241 digs, 47 blocks and 29 aces in her junior season to earn second team all-Wamac East Division honors.
Sept. 17 -- Maquoketa at Central DeWitt
Sept. 19 -- West Liberty at Tipton
Oct. 15, 17 -- River Valley Conference tournament
Nov. 4-5 -- Regional finals
Nov. 12-15 -- State tournament at Cedar Rapids