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2013 volleyball capsule previews

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COLUMBINE REBELS
Head coach: Melanie Watkins
Assistant coach: Brett Terry
Classification: 5A Jeffco League
2012 record: 10-15 overall, 4-4 league
2012 recap: The senior-laden Lady Rebels went 0-2 in the Region 8 tournament, losing to Highlands Ranch and Greeley West. Senior middle blocker Lauren Cole earned first-team All-Jeffco and was second in blocks and third in kills. Senior Verenice Chaparro also was first-team all-league.
Players to watch: Hannah Boyle, Jr., OH; Katie Powell, Sr., MH; Piper Wehrli, Soph., OH; Monea Ortiz, So., DS
Season opener: Aug. 30, Regis Jam at Gold Crown in Lakewood
State finals: Nov. 8-9, Denver Coliseum
Outlook: Despite losing eight seniors, Watkins believes the Lady Rebels will be an improved team in 2013 with the expectation of finishing .500 or better and making strides in the Jeffco League. “We’ve been in a building stage the last couple of seasons,” Watkins said. “We’ve got five seniors this year, so if we stay healthy I think we can realize those goals.”
— Craig Harper

CHATFIELD CHARGERS
Head coach: Stephanie Schick
Assistant coach: Bailey Franklin
Classification: 5A Jeffco League
2012 record: 20-7 overall, 7-1 league
2012 recap: The Lady Chargers won the Region 12 title with wins over Fossil Ridge and Castle View and were 1-1 in the state tournament, losing to eventual champion Doherty after beating Highlands Ranch. Seniors Megan Bohn (first in kills) and Rachel Flores (first in assists, third in kills) earned first-team All-Jeffco honors along with junior Tori Passarelli.
Players to watch: Syd Lecker, Sr. OH; Tori Passarelli, Jr. Libero; Amelia Metzler, Jr., setter
Season opener: Aug 30, Regis Jam at Gold Crown in Lakewood
State finals: Nov. 8-9, Denver Coliseum.
Outlook: The Lady Chargers lost four key seniors, but will have just one senior in 2013, Lecker, who was second in kills and digs, to go with seven juniors. Passarelli was first in digs and third in assists, and Metzler was second in assists and fourth in digs while adding 88 kills. “I really don’t feel (the graduation losses) are going to hit us that hard,’’ Schick said. “We have a group of girls who really want to work hard, and we should be really strong on defense and up the middle. We’d love to go back to state and make more noise, but we’ve got a long road ahead.”
— Craig Harper

DAKOTA RIDGE EAGLES
Head coach: Nikki Kneuer
Assistant coaches: Cassidy Burke, Sam Sena, Terry Muilenburg
Classification: 5A Jeffco League
2012 record: 8-14 overall, 3-5 league
2012 recap: The Lady Eagles did not qualify for postseason. League highlights included a five-set win over Standley Lake and taking Columbine to five sets before falling. Senior Ashley DiFulvio earned second-team All-Jeffco honors. DiFulvio led the team in kills and was second in digs to Weimer.
Players to watch: Jae Ferrin, Sr., MH; Brogan Wallin, Jr., S, RS; Rachel Navratil, DS; Lauren Wood, Sr., OH
Season opener: Aug. 30, vs. Douglas County, 6:30 p.m.
State finals: Nov. 8-9, Denver Coliseum
Outlook: The Lady Eagles have eight seniors and expectations “are definitely going to be higher,” Kneuer said. “Our goals are making it to the playoffs and competing better in the league.” Kneuer likes her team’s defense, led by Ferrin, who was first in blocks, at the net and Navratil and Wallin. Kneuer is counting on the development of sophomore outside hitters Jade Phares and Jenny Cruz to bolster the attack.
— Craig Harper

LITTLETON LIONS
Head coach: Margaret Whalen
Assistant coaches: Adriane Koch, Kim Brakerfield
Classification: 5A Continental
2012 record: 4-19 overall, 0-11 league
2012 recap: Littleton, which is near the bottom for 5A enrollment, struggled in the state’s toughest league. The Lions lost 12 straight matches — 11 in league — before closing with a pair of wins in their Littleton Tournament. Sarah Gerken (first in blocks, third in kills) and Allie Horvat (second in kills) were the top seniors, while junior Natasha Habert led the team in kills and digs.
Players to watch: Natasha Habert, Sr., OH; Sela Tharan, Sr., S; Sami Wong, Sr., L; Natalie Sandstrom, Jr., MH
Season opener: Aug. 29, vs. Green Mountain, 6:30 p.m.
State finals: Nov. 8-9, Denver Coliseum
Outlook: “We had a down year,” Whalen said of 2012. “We should be more competitive this year. Some opposing coaches who saw us in the summer told me we looked better. I think we’ll have more depth, and there’s a nice camaraderie with this group.” The Lions will have four seniors, led by Habert, who is a fourth-year varsity player.
— Craig Harper

FRONT RANGE CHRISTIAN FALCONS
Head coach: Kathleen Sherman
Assistant coach: Beth Schuette
Classification: 2A Mile High League
2012 record: 9-11 overall, 5-5 league
2012 recap: The Lady Falcons reached district play, losing to Rocky Mountain Lutheran and Limon. Meredith Whatley, the lone senior, led the team in kills and aces, while junior Taya Hanna was second in kills and aces, junior Dawn Fulkerson was third in kills and digs, and sophomore Cami Ciesielski was first in digs.
Players to watch: Taya Hanna, Sr. MH; Dawn Fulkerson, Sr. MH;Cami Ciesielski, Jr., L.
Season opener:  Aug. 29, at Lyons, 6 p.m.
State finals: Nov. 8-9, Denver Coliseum
Outlook: With all but one player returning, Sherman is expecting a good deal of improvement from the Lady Falcons. “I’m looking forward to seeing them step up and try to get to the regionals,” she said. “I like our enthusiasm and the desire to have fun while working hard. We should be a strong serving team and have a strong middle attack led by Dawn and Taya.”
— Craig Harper