The expectations are high at East Clinton for the volleyball team, coming off an 18-2 season and unbeaten run in the SBAAC National Division.
There are 11 returning letterwinners, five of them starters. The only loss to SBAAC first-teamer Kelsi Lilly.
East Clinton’s league championship was the first in the SBAAC since the 2009 season. The Astros’ only losses were to Miami Trace and Clermont Northeastern (in the sectional tournament second round).
Sarah Sodini, in her 11th season as head coach, will be assisted at the high school by Bob Malone and Angie Collom. The junior high coaches are Sara Shaner and Lorrie Arnold.
National Division player of the year Libby Evanshine leads a cast ready to repeat as league champions. Evanshine and Aubrie Simpson are the team’s summer league captains.
Said Sodini, “Libby has been leading this team since her freshman year. She’s always encouraging the team to raise our standards. She challenges us to be better every day. Aubrie has really stepped up this summer. She’s been at every summer workout and open gym.
“I like that I have lots of experienced volleyball players. We have so much talent on this team. They work well together and encourage and support each other.”
Megan Tong also was a first teamer while Savannah Tolle and Lauren Runyon were second-teamers. Jordan Collom was given honorable mention all-league. Luisa Rigolin is a key newcomer. She’s a foreign exchange student from Brazil, Sodini said.
Sodini said serve receive is always the biggest area of improvement for her squad.
But all other aspects are in good shape if this team plays up to its potential.
”We can contend if we continue to support each other and hold our team to a high standard during practice, games,” Sodini said. “We have 10 seniors and that’s really cool. They’ve been playing together since seventh grade.
“I love this team. Each and every girl on this team means a lot to me. They all bring something unique and awesome to the table. We’re united and strong. We’ve built a culture that I’m super proud of.”