102318-Regional-Volleyball-010

Pleasant Valley's Erica Brohm hits the ball past a Bettendorf defender during last year's regional semifinal match. Brohm is one of five starters returning for the Spartans, who won 26 matches and reached the regional final. 

Assumption

Coach: Bre Scherler (sixth season, 107-36)

2018 record: 31-6, 8-1 MAC (T1st)

Impact players: Kylie Welch, 5-8, sr., OH; Emma Schubert, 5-10, jr., OH

Fresh faces: Ava Schubert, 6-0, fr., RS; Bri Gartner, 5-5, so., L; Annabelle Costello, 5-4, jr., S; Piper Seberg, 5-11, fr., MH

Outlook: Scherler calls it a reloading year for her program. The Knights graduated their setter, two of their top four hitters and a libero from a Class 3A state tournament team. Assumption has two freshmen with USA International Junior HP experience expected to make an immediate impact. Of the 13 players on the Knights' roster, only two are seniors. One is Welch, who was third team all-state and led squad in kills and paced conference in aces last season.  

Bettendorf

Coach: Diane Lichtenberg (34th season, 717-316-62)

2018 record: 15-18, 5-4 (5th)

Impact players: Claudia Johnson, 6-1, sr., MB/OH; Maggie Erpelding, 5-5, sr., S; Breanna Vermeer, 6-0, sr., OH/MB; Maesa Harris, 5-11, sr., RS/MB

Fresh faces: Abbey VanMiddlesworth, 5-2, sr., S; Riley Deere, 5-7, jr., DS/L; Annie Stotlar, 5-9, jr., OH

Outlook: After winning at least a share of five straight conference titles, the Bulldogs slipped below .500 overall and into the middle of the MAC pack last year. Bettendorf returns three of its top four kills leaders and possesses good size up front with five girls at least 5-11, but lacks varsity experience in other spots. The Bulldogs will transition to a 6-2 offense with Erpelding and VanMiddlesworth serving as the facilitators. 

Clinton

Coach: Micah Cewe (fourth season, 68-36)

2018 record: 27-11, 7-2 (3rd)

Impact players: Brooke Mulholland, 5-9, sr., S; Bailey Wing, 5-10, sr., OH; Kelly Clark, 6-0, sr., RS/MB

Fresh faces: Rylie Mussman, 5-6, jr., DS/L; Nevaeh Wagoner, 5-9, sr., OH; Kaylee Camp, 6-0, sr., MB

Outlook: Clinton graduated MAC player of the year Grace Tubbs and five other seniors, but it does return Mulholland, a first team all-district setter who averaged 7.5 assists per set. Cewe said a majority of summer and preseason work has been spent on serve reception, ball control and defense, areas Clinton was decimated by graduation. "Do we pick up right where we left off or is this a rebuilding year?" Cewe said. "Only time will tell, but the girls are motivated."

Davenport Central

Coach: Janelle Hester (third season, 18-27)

2018 record: 7-12, 4-5 (T6th)

Impact players: Alexis Huntley, 5-6, jr., L; Kalayah Serrano, 5-9, sr., MB; Lindsey Smith, 5-2, sr., L

Fresh faces: Lily Duffield, 5-7, sr., OH; Lily Campbell, 5-9, so., MB/S; Julia Houghton, jr., 5-8, S; Mia Wilkins, 5-8, sr., OH

Outlook: Gone are all-MAC performers Raina Smith and Kami Knutsen, but Hester is optimistic about her roster. The coach said it'll be imperative for some of her younger kids to perform beyond their grade level. Houghton will operate the offense while Wilkins and Campbell give Central explosive athletes up front. "I really like this group," Hester said. "There's a feeling around the team that we are capable of doing great things if everything goes right."

Davenport North

Coach: Heath Donath (second season, 9-20)

2018 record: 9-20, 2-7 (8th)

Impact players: Justyus Jackson, 6-1, sr., OH; Bailey Ortega, 5-10, sr., S; Layne Wright, 5-10, jr., OH; Halle Walkup, 5-7, jr., L

Fresh faces: Kylie Kemp, 5-10, jr., RS/MH; McKenna Rebarcak, 5-11, jr., MB; Maya Beasley, jr., L

Outlook: The Wildcats have two future Division I players in Jackson (Tulsa recruit) and Ortega (preferred walk-on to Iowa). Jackson was team leader in kills and Ortega averaged almost 7.6 assists per set. How much production can North get around them? Wright and Olivia Falborg are back at outside and Walkup returns to anchor back row. "We should be more efficient hitting and passing," Donath said. 

Davenport West

Coach: Jillian Donath (second season, 3-23)

2018 record: 3-23, 1-8 (9th)

Impact players: Cassidy Schaeffer, 5-3, sr., S; Izzy Castel, 5-10, sr., MB; Molly Daily, 5-9, jr., OH; Cameron Tracy, 5-6, sr., OPP

Fresh faces: Kelley Wohlers, 5-10, sr.; Hailey Stewart, 5-9, sr., OH

Outlook: West graduated its leader in all five major categories -- kills, assists, blocks, digs and aces. Donath said team's strength is at the net defensively. "We will challenge the offense of each team we play," she said. The Falcons have to improve offensively. They averaged less than 5 kills per set and were last in MAC in service aces. Donath said consistency has improved behind service line but aggressiveness is still being developed.

Muscatine

Coach: Tim Martin (seventh season, 50-133)

2018 record: 11-21, 4-5 (T6th)

Impact players: Hannah Reynolds, 5-11, sr., OH; Hannah Wieskamp, 5-10, sr., MH; Kaylynn Salyars, 5-6, jr., OH/S; Rylie Moss, 5-5, jr., DS

Fresh faces: Kaitlyn McGinnis, 5-8, jr., OH; Indiana Stephens, 5-11, so., MH

Outlook: The Muskies started 3-1 in conference play before struggling in second half of the season last year. They'll rely on a scrappy and quick back row led by Moss. Muscatine brings back four of its top five attackers, but has to work in a new setter following graduation of Haley Jarrett. Martin said consistency in the front row will be a significant factor in team's success. 

North Scott

Coach: Taryn VanEarwage (first season, 0-0)

2018 record: 22-12, 6-3 (4th)

Impact players: Emma Powell, 5-11, sr., OH; Kendall McNaull, 6-0, sr., MH; Ella McLaughlin, 5-11, so., OH; Taylor Robertson, 5-5, jr., S

Fresh faces: Lexi Richards, 5-8, so., RS/OS; Peyton Wenck, 5-1, so., DS; Melena Knutson, so., 5-4, DS

Outlook: VanEarwage, who starred at Rock Island and just graduated from Augustana, replaces Allie Miguel as head coach. The Lancers return six of the 10 girls who played in all five sets of last year's regional semifinal. Powell was seventh in MAC in kills per set (2.53) and McNaull was seventh in blocks (64). "We have a lot of talent," VanEarwage said. "It is just about putting the right players out on the court to get the job done."

Pleasant Valley

Coach: Amber Hall (fourth season, 73-26)

2018 record: 26-8, 8-1 (T1st)

Impact players: Erica Brohm, 6-1, sr., MH; Kora Ruff, 5-8, so., S; Emily Wood, 5-8, jr., OH; Kaitlyn Morgan, 6-1, sr., OH

Fresh faces: Chloe Cline, 6-0, fr., MH; Livia Thomsen, 5-4, so., DS

Outlook: The Spartans graduated just one player who saw court time in last year's regional final against Linn-Mar. The preseason conference favorites are expected to start season ranked in top 10 of Class 5A. Brohm, Ruff and Wood earned all-MAC honors last year while Morgan is a Western Illinois recruit. "We are deeper than we were last year," Hall said. "We are a more physical and taller team, which we hope results in a better, stronger offense." 

— Compiled by Matt Coss

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.