NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck volleyball team will have to replace most of its starting rotation from a season ago as graduation losses took seven important players away from the Greyhounds.
But head coach Fred Scheithe, entering his 13th year as the varsity coach and 23rd year with the program, is as capable as any coach to regenerate a talented group which always seems to bounce back.
Naugatuck missed the Class LL state tournament last season with a 7-11 record but was a quarterfinalist in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament.
While the ‘Hounds lose Daniella Stoehrer, Renee Augustine, Mikki D’Angelo, Darcey Case, Stephanie Chandler, Leticia Campos, and Kaitlyn Fiorenzi, a new group of players experienced in the junior varsity program will emerge on the varsity floor.
Naugy will be led by setter Jess Buckley and defender/hitter Lauren Andreoli, both senior captains. They’ll be joined by senior outside hitter Cataysia Brown, senior defensive specialists Lani Chucta and Kait Hayes, senior hitter/defender Krista Barry, and junior all-purpose player Sarah Chandler.
Scheithe also expects contributions from senior defensive specialist Victoria Hendricks, junior defensive specialist Brianna Britto, junior defender/hitter Raquel Loustaunau, sophomore hitters/defenders Ashley Whitney and Kate Barry, and sophomore setter/defender Stefanie Barry.
Even though Naugatuck has a large roster, Scheithe expects play to take some time to develop.
“With the loss of our entire starting team from last year, we will be going through some growing pains early in the season,” Scheithe said. “We are very athletic and quick so I expect our defense will keep us in every match as we develop our front row players.”
Despite how unproven the team is, Scheithe is excited to help the growth of the team throughout the season and is pleased with the squad’s work ethic.
“It will be fun watching these young ladies develop into a team as the season goes along,” Scheithe said. “One thing’s for sure: This group will work hard together.”
Naugatuck begins its season with a home match against Holy Cross on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The ‘Hounds will then travel to Kennedy on Friday night before returning home to host Wilby on Sept. 20.