Aug. 25—Meadville graduated one senior from last year's 11-3 season and are poised for a District 10 playoff run this fall.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with one region loss before losing to Warren in the district semifinal round.
"I hope the playoff experience from last year motivates this group to work even harder this season. Obviously it was a disappointing ending, but now the majority of the roster has played in the D-10 playoffs, which should help," head coach Tim Schleicher said. "We also had a pretty successful season last year aside from the last match, so I hope that leads to some confidence heading into the regular season schedule."
Meadville returns all-state outside hitter Emma Parks. Parks had 574 kills and a .308 hitting percentage last year. The junior committed to Division I Marquette University in the preseason. The 'Dogs also return all-region setter Elliott Schleicher. Schleicher dished 724 assists as a sophomore.
Other players to keep an eye on are Kendall Mealy at libero and Ellie Kellick at middle blocker. Beyond these four players, Schleicher said to be successful the entire team needs to work effectively as a unit.
"I think if Ellie continues in her growth as someone who can terminate and block consistently that will be big for us," Schleicher said. "Kendall is a fantastic libero and will be crucial to our success as a team this season."
Meadville will open its season at home against Maplewood on Aug. 29. Big matchups on the schedule include Cathedral Prep on Sept. 19, Conneaut on Oct. 5 and Warren on Oct. 17.
For the Bulldogs to compete for a district title, what needs to happen?
"I think we need to focus on improving week to week. We need to continually improve our ball control and develop a dynamic offense. We have a tough schedule, so our weaknesses should be exposed quickly," Schleicher said. "Then we need to sharpen those areas so that we are a more complete team towards the end of the season. We need to be playing our best volleyball consistently by the end of the season.
"The expectations this year are the same as every year — to be competitive and work hard to give ourselves a chance to win every night we step on the court."
Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.