Loss in sectional finals motivates Mason

Tiann Myer, Mason volleyball coach
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Tiann Myer, Mason volleyball coach

Heading into the 2016 season, Mason volleyball coach Tiann Myer thought it would be interesting how her young squad performed.

All the Comets did was run the table in winning the Greater Miami Conference with a 22-2 record before being upset in the sectional finals by eventual state champ Mount Notre Dame.

It is a loss the Comets haven’t forgotten as the new season begins.

“Our energy was so high,” Myer said of the first few practices. “That loss to MND left a sour taste in their mouth and they came in with a lot of energy. It was fun.”

Mason returns five All-GMC selections in Sammie Puisis, Anna Brinkman, Maggie King, Abbie Hughes and sophomore Sophie Huffman.

All five have made strides in the offseason through experiences in Junior Olympics.

“It is a matter of getting them out of JO mode and back to high school mode,” Myer said. “Right now, we are just trying to get back in the groove like everyone else. The big thing is getting them all back together and getting used to playing together again.”

Myer has also issued a warning to the players.

“We can’t be happy just having everyone back,” Myer said. “We have to push ourselves to get better. We are lucky that we have everyone back, but we have to improve because all of our competition worked hard to improve.”

Myer looks for Fairfield, Lakota East and Lakota West to be among those challenging the Comets for the GMC crown, but she knows each opponent provides a different challenge.

“I don’t think there is anyone in the GMC that any team can just go in and walk over,” Myer said.

Scrimmages have helped break up practices, but Myer can tell her squad is ready to get rolling in the regular season.

“It’s been nice with how high the energy is,” Myer said. “But they are ready to start playing.”

Lebanon: The Warriors are coming off an uncharacteristic 13-11 season.

Featuring a young lineup, Lebanon finished 7-4 in the GWOC after going nine seasons without dropping a Greater Western Ohio Conference contest. In addition to the second-place National West Division finish, the Warriors saw their season end in the sectional finals against Miamisburg.

The good news is, the Warriors have to replace just All-GWOC selection Alyssa Collins and their leader in kills, Rachel Perry.

All-National West selection Kylie Pot leads a talented group of returnees that includes defensive specialist Sam Boettcher, Tori Brosnahan, Maya Colbert, Maddie Corbett, Josie Cropper, Katie Gallagher, Lucy Kirkwood, Lauren Milidonis, Callie Milton, Kelly Quinn and Hannah Schoeplein.

Kings: Coming off a 13-11 campaign, Amanda Meadows knows there are going to be some pitfalls along the road.

Meadows sounds a little like a meteorologist giving a forecast when talking about 2017.

“I expect many big wins with some early growing pains,” Meadows said. “This freshman class is amazing and capable of anything, but consistency will be our biggest struggle.”

The freshmen, hitters Chloe Wolf and Jules Fink and setter Courtney Brown, will all see a lot of action alongside senior defensive specialist Chandler Kircher and sophomore Megan Kelly.

Getting that consistency is going to be the key with a young roster.

“We are literally improving every day,” Meadows said. “I’ve been a varsity coach for 22 years and this is the youngest team I’ve ever coached. But it has the potential to be the best. Patience and persistence will be key. We’ve got height and speed, we just lack experience. I am looking forward to a very exciting season.”

Little Miami: The Panthers look to be one of the top teams in the Southwest Ohio Conference after losing just one player from a 17-7 season that included a 10-2 second-place SWOC finish.

Little Miami returns 12 players from that squad, including second team All-SWOC selections Riley Gintert and Karrah Wind and honorable mention selection Sam Buschur.

“The varsity team goal is to win the SWOC Championship,” coach Mason Boulton said. “The team will need to give 100-percent effort mentally and physically each day in practice and during games to give themselves the opportunity.”

With the physical ability on display in practices and scrimmages, Boulton has focused on the mental aspect of the game.

“My goal is to improve each player’s mental toughness and physical skills each day in practice so they can perform at a high level during games as individuals and a team,” Boulton said. “The team is making progress on a daily basis so far. Each player will need to stay mentally engaged during practice and have intrinsic motivation to improve as individuals and a team each day.”

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