2020 Fall Preview: Sheffield Volleyball

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Coach: Melissa Lemay, 5th year as head coach
Assistant coaches: Savanna Cochran, 3rd year as assistant
2019 overall record: 4-14
2019 league record: 2-12
Postseason results: N/A

(Photo courtesy Melissa Lemay.)

Roster
Seniors: Emily Leichtenberger – OH (3 year letter winner), Lily Lauffenburger (returns after a 1 year hiatus), Annabel Sheldon – libero/DS (2 year letter winner)
Juniors: Lynzie Grubbs – MH (2 year letter winner), Madeline Roell – DS, Halle McLaughlin (returns after a 1 year hiatus)
Sophomores: Lexi Goldthwaite S/OPP (1 year letter winner), Lynn Madigan
Freshmen: Kassidy Orinko, Kadence Steffan, Emily Foster, Paris Foster, Cali Silves, Hannah Grinnell, Savannah Sears, Syrena Antonuccio

Sheffield volleyball has an intriguing mix of youth and experience entering the 2020 season.

The Wolverines will need to fill the setter and libero roles vacated by 2020 graduates Megan Johnson and Marissa Grubbs, but have a talented freshmen class who could immediately step in.

“We have some very talented freshmen this year, led by Kassidy Orinko, Kadence Steffan and Emily Foster,” head coach Melissa Lemay said. “All look to contribute on both the JV and varsity squads. I am excited to see their development over the next four seasons.”

The senior class returns a pair of multi-year letter winners, in outside hitter Emily Leichtenberger and libero/defensive specialist Annabel Sheldon. Lily Lauffenburger returns after a one-year hiatus to provide an additional boost to the senior class.

Junior middle hitter Lynzie Grubbs looks to improve on a strong sophomore campaign and sophomore setter/opposite Lexi Goldthewaite could help ease the transition at setter.

Sheffield’s biggest change this year will be on the schedule. The Wolverines will have a host of new opponents after being left out of the “IU-9 bubble.”

“At one point, we only had six matches that remained on our schedule,” Lemay said.

Sheffield Athletic Director Corey Copely had to work with schools in District 9’s southern area to fill out the Wolverines’ schedule.

“Mr. Copely worked very hard to fill our schedule,” Lemay said. “We will be playing teams that we have never played against, or had only seen in tournament play. We cannot go into any match this year with a preconceived notion of how we will stack up/compete with the teams that we have on our schedule. The look to our schedule is all new and very welcomed by the coaches and athletes.”

The uncertainty about whether there would be a season, followed by the delayed start to fall camp, was both a curse and a blessing.

“Usually we have a full week of double sessions before starting to work on splitting up into JV and varsity team activity,” Lemay said. “This year, we didn’t have that luxury. With one less week of double sessions, we needed to start having a vision of what teams would look like from Day 1. (But) I believe that the girls have all been more focused on the task at hand over the last (few) weeks.”

The 25-person indoor gathering limit will present its own hurdles.

“It remains a challenge figuring out the logistics of playing a sport inside hamstrung by the 25 people in the gym rule,” Lemay said.

Success, this year, won’t necessarily be determined by what happens on the court, but in how well the team can adapt to constant changes.

“This season is going to deemed successful if everyone stays healthy, we play as a team, we have fun and never stop trying to be our best,” Lemay said. “And we stay open-minded about what changes may come due to COVID. This is the year to roll with the changes, and I think that is what our girls will do!”

The Wolverines opened the season with a sweep at East Forest Sept. 14. The remaining schedule can be found here.