SPRING VALLEY — Megan Nation is the new head coach of the Hall Lady Devils volleyball team.
Formerly the head coach at Aurora University, Nation was also a standout prep player at LaSalle-Peru. She said that she is looking forward to the challenge, having run the summer program with them.
“I had a meeting with them just before they got out of school. The first time I actually (was able) to see them play a little bit and talk to them was May 30 (in Princeton),” Nation said.
Assessing her new team Nation said, “we’re very short, but we are very fast.”
Nation has a very positive outlook, adding, “I have set the bar very high. We have big expectations.”
One of Nation’s challenges will be overcoming a tough 5-27 campaign from the Lady Devils last season, their lowest win total in some time. Nation said she is working toward turning things around and getting her team into the habit of winning.
The Red Devils have five returning seniors, 11 juniors, along with one sophomore and one freshman.
One player Nation said to be watching for includes senior captain Clarissa Gerrard, whom Nation said was a very aggressive middle player that added length to her squad.
Also returning are senior defensive specialist Brenna Faletti and senior Vanessa Olivares and sophomore Brooke Keegan, who will share setting duties.
Nation will round out her starting lineup with juniors Ellie Herrmann, Shelby Justi, Lexi Piccatto (libero), freshman Hunter Galassi, and possibly junior Emily Hoscheid. She will also look for contributions from seniors Kaylee Golden (DS/L) and Kayla Musgrave (RS), juniors Hayley Cessna (DS), Carly Kirkman (DS), Lexi Scarpaci (DS), Lexi Saepharn (DS), Morgan (RS/DS), Kylie Whightsil (DS) and freshman Hunter Galassi.
Many of them were in action this summer either in Princeton’s summer league or with the Illini Elite in Bloomington.
The Lady Devils kick off their season at home Tuesday against Bureau Valley for their first taste of Three Rivers Athletic Conference competition in a crossover contest.
“We do have a lot of home games this year, so that helps,” Nation said.
Lady Devils at a glance: Last year: 5-26 (2-7 Tri-County). Coach: Megan Nation (first year). Conference: Three Rivers South. Who’s back: Brenna Faletti (sr., OH/MB), Clarissa Gerrard (sr., MB/OH), Kaylee Golden (sr., DS), Ellen Herrmann (jr, OH), Brooke Keegan (so., S/OP), Erica Loveland (jr., MB/OP), Kayla Musgrave (jr., MB/OP), Vanessa Olivares (sr., OH/S). Who’s new: Hayley Cessna (jr. DS), Emily Hoscheid (jr. OH/MB), Shelby Justi (jr. OH/DS), Carly Kirkman (jr., S/OP), Lexi Piccatto (jr., DS), Lexi Saepharn (jr. DS), Lexi Scarpaci (jr. OH/MB), Morgan Soldati (jr. OH/DS), Kylie Whightsil (jr., DS). Who’s gone: Beka Dagraedt, Cherokee Gillispie, Valerie Hoffert. Last year’s advancement: Lost to Eureka in regional semifinals 26-24, 25-13. Hall sophomores Lindsey Conrad (DS), Mia Fusinetti, Liberty Gehant, Emma Goodrum, Olivia Hernandez, Caitlyn Jablonski), Brenna Janssen, Bailey Manfredini, Luciana Mautino, Adrienna Pikula, Alexis Schmitt , Cassie Shuper, Destiny Stuggis. Hall freshmen Rena Barosso, Griselda Chavez, Ashley Choate, Tori Coble, Kennidey Dahl, Hunter Galassi, Abby Hoscheid, Jenna Lusietto, Shanna Piotrowski, Madi Quinn, Jordan Redd, Juliana Soberalsk, Maddie Vanko, Diamond Villugus, Makenzie Walk, Faith Whightsil, Emily Wines.