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2014 KENTUCKY STANDARD VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW: Banshees hope to continue reign

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Bethlehem Banshees Volleyball Preview

By Darren George

Coming off a third straight district championship, Bethlehem is looking to continue its successful trend when the new season begins.

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“We are very excited about this year, and our girls are really enthusiastic,” second-year head coach Erich Hoehler said. “We are fresh off our volleyball camp (at the University of Tennessee), and we played well down there, only coming up short in the camp finals.”

Despite losing some key seniors last year, the Banshees are returning several starters from last season.

“It’s a tough district, but our girls play well as a team,” Hoehler said. “We’re not really that big on the front this year, and we will depend a lot on our setters, like Mary Wimsett, to set us up for a score. They are the quarterback of our offense and I think overall we have some really nice players.”

The Banshees’ core will partially be built around athletic senior outside hitter Mollie Simms, a four-year starter.

“I want us to come out strong and grow as a team more,” Simms said. “Hopefully we can prevail in the district again and move on to the region. We will have to give it our all, but I think we will do OK.”

Also returning is Leanne Dant, who helped lead her squad defensively from the libero spot on the court last year.

“I would love to win the region this time out,” Dant said. “The libero position is a demanding spot to play sometimes, as you can only play the back row, but it’s exciting. Our goal is to work hard and do the best we can.”

Middle hitter Cayla Hoehler is also expected to serve up some senior leadership when the regular season begins.

“We must play hard and intense during every match this year,” the coach’s daughter said. “We need to focus on our defensive play as well as we do on offense. We have some really good setters and our hitters are very strong.”

The Banshees will start the season without one of their right-side hitters, with senior Hannah Gribbins currently sidelined with a foot injury.

“It’s going to be tough just sitting and watching for a while, but I expect to be back,” Gribbins said. “We are a really close team, and we must keep moving forward and not take anything for granted.”

The Banshees went 19-5 overall last season and defeated Nelson County in the district finals, before losing to LaRue County during the first round of regional competition.

“I feel our experience will guide us,” Erich Hoehler said. “We are looking forward to an exciting year of Banshee volleyball.”