MANLIUS — Abbi Bosnich is ready to take the next step with the Bureau Valley volleyball team.
Bosnich, entering her second year as head coach, sees a lot of talent on this year’s roster and her expectations are higher than ever.
“We are really excited about this season because we have a lot of talent coming through,” Bosnich said. “I’ve been involved with the program for four years, and all four years we have been average. We haven’t really raised that bar and gone above. We are really looking for an above average year.”
Last year, she saw the growth slowly beginning in her team. With a solid senior class and contributions from talented underclassmen, the Storm improved their win total three games from the previous season, finishing 11-19-2 overall and 6-8 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
“Raising the tempo and having a positive attitude is definitely the main focus in the gym during practice,” Bosnich said. “Just making ourselves believe that we can compete at a higher level, they will have to prove it to themselves. I know they have the talent but they need to believe in themselves they can do it.”
Some of the talent Bureau Valley will return from last year are starters Lindsey Hoffert and Sydney Lebahn.
Hoffert had a stellar season last year as a sophomore, registering 183 kills from the outside. Lebahn, who has been playing at the varsity level as a setter since she was a freshman, led the team in assists (417) and points (113) last year. Both were all-conference selections.
“I’m looking for big things from them,” Bosnich said. “Even though they are only juniors I need them to step up with that year of experience under their belt.”
The Storm will have no shortage of size at the net, boasting six players that stand 5-11 or higher. Carlie Bickett (6-1) is the tallest of the bunch and has been making the transition from setter to middle hitter. She has looked tremendous in camp Bosnich said.
Seniors Nicole Bornsheuer (6-0) and Janelle Norden (5-8) and junior Heaven Bennett (5-11) all return from last year to play at the net. Juniors Caitlin Scott (5-11), Ali Siltman (5-11), Irini Petros, Valerie Reuter and senior Bailey Stone are new to the varsity squad and will be outside hitters.
Lacey DeVenney, Shannon Reuter and Kalie Rumbold all return as defensive specialists. Jehna Thomas and Julia Edlefson will also play the back row.
Bosnich has been so impressed with the competition in camp that she hasn’t been able to settle on a rotation yet.
“It’s definitely competitive in the gym,” she said. “It makes them have to work for their spots and realize no spot is secure. That is something I’ve noticed in the gym. They have been able to see they have to work hard because somebody else may work harder to get a spot.”
The newly re-aligned Three Rivers will look about the same for the Storm this year, minus Kewanee, who was moved to the opposite division. The conference will
be competitive, led by Riverdale who returns eight girls from their third place team in Class 2A.
Bureau Valley will start the season with a non-conference match at Hall on Tuesday.