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2019 Shasta County Sports volleyball preview

Courtney Oilar leads Shasta into the season after the Wolves advanced to the NorCal finals, falling in three sets to state runner-up Hilmar. (Photo by Aaron Williams / Shasta County Sports)

Not all the action is on the gridiron this fall as high school is underway across Shasta County. Volleyball has hit the courts with teams picking up matches and headed to tournaments until near the end of September, when league begins.

All the action culminates in late October with playoffs and state tournament play. Two squads last year, Shasta and U-Prep, each played well into November as the Panthers made the NorCal Division IV semifinals, losing to Hilmar. The Wolves also lost to Hilmar, only in the Division IV NorCal regional finals.

Below is a brief look at each Shasta County team with players to watch this upcoming season.

Enterprise (2018 record 24-18, NS Division III semifinals)

The Hornets lose a lot in all-everything Jadyn Matthews, but had some players step up and show promise for the future.

Abby Shoff showed she’s not just a hoops talent, pounding 126 kills for the Hornets in her freshman season, while rising senior Khloe Forrister threw up 441 assists and Natayah Saetern added 296.

Foothill (13-16, NS Division III finals)

The Cougars were relatively young last season and gained valuable experience despite losing to Shasta in four sets in the section finals.

Three of Foothill’s five top hitters return, including Sarah Ault (147 kills), rising junior Pressly Hamilton (98 kills) and Maddy Frick (93 kills).

Ault, a second-team All-Northern Section pick, also added 243 assists as a setter and opposite hitter. Her versatility was evident in the fact she had six games with at least 20 assists and six games with double-digit kills. Frick is nursing an injury and should be good to roll before league rolls around

Rising junior Teagan Richards had 334 assists for the Cougars, while Jordan Mewhirter had 269 digs and Jaden Ellenberger added 210.

Shasta (18-16, NorCal Division IV regional finals)

The Wolves won the Northern Section Division III title and made it to the NorCal finals before falling to Hilmar in straight sets.

Still, the unchartered territory bodes well for Shasta, which lost six players to graduation but sees a handful of core players from last year return. The Wolves will miss libero Teagan Freeman and hitter Lauren Weaver, but rising senior Courtney Oilar will step into the role of go-to hitter after pounding 267 kills.

Oilar, who landed as a second-team All-Northern Section pick, had a 45 percent kill percentage and hit at 32 percent. Junior Ella Rodriguez joins Oilar as a go-to hitter for the Wolves.

Junior setter Britney Blomquist, who posted 446 assists and averaged nearly five per set for the Wolves with 224 digs.

Zoe Lin had 177 digs for the Wolves, who should also get contributions from Kam Collins at hitter. Junior Rondi Elo leads the Wolves in digs early in the year.

Anderson (2-19, missed playoffs)

The Cubs lost seniors Makayla Epperson, Gabby Rosales and Nora Ivy from a sub-par season and don’t have much experience returning. Angela Reymar and Beyonce Cara are the only seniors on the roster.

Central Valley (6-19, missed playoffs)

The Falcons lose top hitter Mahala Rogers, but get Ashley Norwell (79 kills) back for her senior year and Lilly Ramirez (66 kills) for her junior season.

CV loses its top four digs leaders graduated and setter Kathy Duran’s 376 assists were lost to graduation. Sophomore outside hitter and defensive specialist Raymi Rogers (Mahala’s young sister) leads the team in digs early on as the Falcons are 2-3 on the young season.

There are numbers returning from a JV team that went 3-10.

U-Prep (32-7, NorCal Division IV regional finals)

The Panthers return a slew of players with big-game experience and U-Prep has two of the fiercest hitters in the area – sisters Madison and Kennedy Kremer.

They’re 8-5 already this season with a big win a few weeks back at a tournament in Chico.

Along with setter Madi Friebel, the Panthers advanced all the way to the Northern California Division IV regional semifinals before falling in four sets to Hilmar – the team that also eliminated Shasta in the regional finals. Madison Kremer and Friebel were first-team All-Northern Section choices, while Kennedy Kremer was a second-team pick for the Panthers

Madison led the section in kills with 528 (hitting at 36 percent) and added 352 digs, while her senior sister Kennedy was second with 524 (hitting at 29 percent) and added 235 digs.

Friebel, an All-Section pick last year, dished out 1,067 assists (9 per set) – the total was second only to PV’s Jordan Bennett – and added 170 digs.

Seven times, Friebel dished out more than 40 assists in a match, with a high of 55 against Woodland Christian.

Gigi Elizarraras had 425 digs for the Panthers, while Emily Cox pitched in with 178 digs.

West Valley (20-19, NS Division IV quarterfinals)

The senior light Eagles ran into a U-Prep steamroller in the playoffs, but Dub-V returns a slew of players, while only losing three seniors (Natalie Rogers, Jenna Adkins and Kadie Russell).

Look for Bianca Jones, Raya Willis and Rose Matthews step into hitting roles, while rising senior Maddie Steele and Gabby Dunphy will be stout on defense.

Burney (20-10, NS Division V semifinals)

Kylie Tiran was a do-everything for the Raiders, who fell to Paradise Adventist in the semifinals one round after ousting Intermountain rival Fall River.

Tiran posted 211 kills, 214 digs and 178 assists for the Raiders last season, and rising senior Ashley Davis added 109 assists. Rising junior Kaitlin Estes hammered 128 kills and added 339 assists (4.8 per set).

Rising junior Ava Bellino had 293 digs.

Fall River (23-11, NS Division V quarterfinals)

Four of the top five hitters from last year are gone, leaving Marissa Leighton as the returning leader after posting 108 kills a junior.

She added 234 digs, while rising senior Rylee Pevehouse led the Bulldogs with 413 digs (4.7 per set). Myah Gallion added 157 digs for Fall River, while incoming senior Natalie Osborne had 153 assists.

Redding Christian (29-4, NorCal Division VI regional semifinals)

While graduation took the top three Lions’ hitters, senior Sammie Wunner decided not to play after pounding nearly 150 kills for the Lions.

Hope Dabbs dished out 621 assists (6.8 per set), while rising junior Laynee Fox had 50 assists for the Lions as a sophomore in 90 sets to go with 178 digs.

Redding Christian Volleyball brings back Sammie Wunner, but lost a lot of talent to graduation. (Photo by Cherie Montague)

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. In addition to coaching freshman football, Williams is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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