With Experienced and Talented Core, Southern Regional as Powerful as Ever



Setup Lady: Senior setter Stephanie Soares (12) and senior middle Emma Gildea (10) will be a massive portion of Southern’s sport approach for this year. (Picture by David Biggy)
Southern Regional volleyball is synonymous with the phrase achievements. Titles are a massive portion of the Rams’ historical past beneath head coach Eric Maxwell, whether or not they be division, convention, point out sectional or overall point out crowns for possibly the boys’ or girls’ courses.
Well, this year issues are a small distinctive. Not only are the girls commencing months later on than common – March as opposed to September – there will be incredibly several titles doled out for the duration of the NJSIAA’s “Season 3.” The Rams’ greatest plateau will be an altered South Jersey sectional tournament. No Shore Convention championship or point out crown will be available for the using.
“This is a really gifted and seasoned team that will not get a opportunity to capture a Shore Convention crown, as there will not be an SCT because of to a limited timetable,” Maxwell said. “Also, on the condition entrance, there will be just sectional championships. So, our primary objective for this campaign will be to make a operate at a South Jersey sectional title in which we will have to battle the likes of 2019 point out champ Williamstown, Cherokee and Cherry Hill East.”
And while the Rams will have a shorter routine of just 15 matches – ordinarily, the Rams perform far more than 30 contests in a time, finishing 32-4 through slide 2019 – and will not have as substantially time to develop steam as they peak about event time, this
THE HAMMER: Rachael Pharo is predicted to smash a great deal of kills for the Southern Regional girls volleyball crew this year. (Photo by David Biggy)
year’s team arrives with a large status.
“This distinct squad could be one particular of our very best girls teams at any time,” Maxwell stated. “We’re pretty sound at each individual place, and we’re loaded with encounter. These girls know how to win and are truly hungry to complete the period with a victory in their final match. They really don’t want to style elimination as we have the previous couple of a long time. Our objectives are substantial, and the operate the girls are placing in displays that. We can attain fantastic matters.”
Reaching great items commences at the setter situation, occupied by senior Stephanie Soares, who during the 2019 time shipped 642 assists and tallied 241 provider points, 55 aces and 121 digs. Soares is a court normal with 3 seasons’ really worth of encounter, at the centre of the assault when the Rams went to the Team IV final in 2018 and semifinals in 2019. And the weapons about her are broad.
Returning as a person of those weapons is senior outside the house hitter Rachael Pharo, who hammered down 160 kills and mustered 182 digs and 47 aces in 2019. Pharo has been all around for yrs and ought to be just one of Soares’ preferred targets this time. Also, senior Emma Gildea, who banged down 136 kills and managed 35 blocks in 2019, expects to be a drive in the middle, the two as a blocker on protection and an effective offensive option. Junior hitter Hailea Krause will be an further weapon in the Rams’ arsenal.
As for Southern’s passing and defensive video games, seniors Madison Gellis, who made 198 digs final time, and Erin Alegre, who racked up 72 digs in 2019, will lead the demand from the back. Seniors Adriana Conforti, who had 144 solutions details and 50 aces past season, and Regina Ingling (50 digs, 14 aces) supply a whole lot of depth Maxwell can tap for various predicaments.
Junior hitter Sam Hanneman, junior blocker Corinne Hughes, junior defensive expert Brianna Otto and freshman hitter Jordyn Hamlin will determine into the combine all through the season.
“I really like what I see from our workforce,” Maxwell reported. “They bring enthusiasm, energy and effort and hard work on a daily basis. The staff chemistry is apparent, and we’ll continue to create off the achievements of the previous 3 seasons. Their work ethic is great, and they have an unbelievably good attitude. This is an remarkable time. It is likely to be a good deal of exciting to watch the work, aggressive hearth and group unity develop this year, and for the instant future of this system.”
Barnegat Delivers Again
Good Team of Players

It is nearly tricky to remember the last time Barnegat played women volleyball, which was November 2019. But what a year it was.
GIVE IT Absent: The ball all over again will operate by junior setter Patria Moreno as the Barnegat girls volleyball staff tries to repeat its results of past time. (Image by David Biggy)
Karla Jennings’ Bengals, as the 31st seed, first upset 2nd-seeded Ramsey in the to start with spherical of the NJSIAA Group II tourney, then sophisticated earlier two much more opponents to get to the semifinals before dropping to eventual champ Northern Valley-Demarest.
Whether or not the Bengals are as sturdy a team as the just one from final season remains a secret after the graduation of many important gamers, but they have a sound team of players back again in the lineup and could be a contender for the Shore Convention Class B South division.
“We anticipate to have a pretty aggressive season, developing off the momentum of past year’s late results,” Jennings explained. “We return powerful players in important positions and have some incredibly remarkable newcomers. The workforce is pretty fired up about finally finding the possibility to enjoy and understands we have to make the most of a brief period.”
Just after a 15-win time 16 months ago, the Bengals head into the new time this week with just 4 seniors returning to the lineup – Veronica Tikhomirova, Ashley Erickson, Julian Viola and Meagan Hynes. But with junior setter Patria Moreno also again to the court, the Barnegat offense must be capable to functionality well. Joining Moreno for one more year are classmates Robbiann Erskine and 9 Soberano.
The remarkable newcomers to the squad are junior Aminata Diagne, sophomores Gianna Gerckens and Avery O’Cone, as effectively as freshmen Ashley Berger and Cassidy Van Horn.
“Like every other team, we offer with the continual threat of COVID-19, and how it may well have an affect on our period,” Jennings claimed. “Everyone knows that our time could come to a speedy halt if everyone on the group contracts the virus. So, we observe challenging and check out our finest to stick to safe protocols. Provided almost everything that has happened in the earlier yr, I’ll contemplate it a earn if we make it by the season without an interruption in enjoy. Trying to keep the ladies healthful and playing is this season’s leading priority.”
Pinelands Squad
Faces Troubles

Though the Southern girls must be amongst the major groups in the convention, the Pinelands Regional women team will have the enhanced obstacle of taking part in in one of the tougher divisions – Shore Meeting Course B South, exactly where Donovan Catholic, Barnegat and Jackson Liberty also reside. Nevertheless, the Wildcats are glad to be taking part in.
“We’re just thankful to be back again actively playing yet again,” reported head coach Kathy Bennett. “Our technique is to attempt and take it day by day and get pleasure from our time alongside one another on the court docket. Like anyone else, it has been a large obstacle seeking to get ready in these kinds of a brief period of time with only 1 scrimmage before the season commences.”
The quick preseason is specifically tricky for Bennett because she’s attempting to groom a pair of new setters to operate the offense – junior Bailey Lawrence and sophomore Molly Quigley-Sanborn – since past year’s setter didn’t return due to COVID-19 considerations. Nevertheless, at the time they settle into their roles, the Wildcats, 20-10 last period, ought to present a problem for a lot of opponents, with a bunch of weapons at the completely ready.
Amid them will be senior hitter Olivia Anderson, who sent 103 kills in 2019, and Ciara Rheiner, who managed 104 kills, 21 blocks and 14 aces in spite of missing a third of the 2019 season.
“Our offense will be run by both of these veteran gamers,” Bennett reported. “Our crew has a blend of seniors and youthful gamers, and these seniors will be counted on seriously to present leadership on and off the court docket.”
The Wildcats’ offensive depth also involves seniors Morgan Muller and Emily Fence. Defensively, many seniors will lead the way as nicely, which include Carly Brunke, whose challenging provide rendered 31 aces previous season while she mustered 78 digs, Taylor Martin (82 digs) and Abi Wooden, who performed JV past 12 months.
Newcomers envisioned to make an affect this year involve junior blocker Jayne Wilkinson, sophomore hitter Emilia Savich and sophomore hitter Antonella Stankevitch. The rest of the squad contains juniors Caitlyn Downs, Arianna Loftus, Kayla Davis and Cattleya Sturies, and sophomores Olivia Benson, Eva Pollak and Samantha Poling.
— David Biggy
biggy@thesandpaper.net

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