Roswell volleyball group

Woodstock's Emilee Harris goes on the attack against Roswell's Mariah Haislip (14), Megan Hallahan (13) and Elise Martin (11). /  Staff - Alex Resnak

The start of the academic year has also brought about the beginning of the prep volleyball season for local programs.

Roswell won 24 matches last season and qualified for the Class AAAAAAA playoffs last season. The Hornets return its two offensive producers from last season in sophomore twin sisters Makaila and Mariah Haislip who combined for 600 kills in 2017. Senior team captain Elise Martin, who had a team-high 57 aces and 197 kills also comes back for Roswell and committed this offseason to play collegiately for UNC-Pembroke. Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Mesaros missed last season due to injury but had a strong summer, including leading her club team to an AAU National Championship.

“Though Makaila and Elise are team captains, all four girls will be providing leadership on the court throughout the season,” Hornets’ coach Naomi Kirk said. “We’re working with two new setters. We went to the Florida State Elite Team Camp last weekend and had a great time”. Roswell visits Johns Creek on August 14 for its season opener.

Alpharetta had one of its best seasons in program history in 2017. The Raiders won 36 contests, the Region 7AAAAAA title and reached the Class AAAAAA state finals. Alpharetta returns several top players including juniors Nina Williams who posted a team-high 406 kills and 82 blocks last year, Bria Plante with a team-high 101 blocks and 229 kills along with Emily Hodsdon who had 41 aces in 2017. Senior Jenna Seides had a team-high 561 digs last season and returns for the Raiders. Juniors Natasha Wong and Hailey Easterly along with sophomore Evoni Williams will also be main contributors for the Raiders this season.

“Training just started and it's going great,” Alpharetta coach Grace Fossier said. I love this team, the energy and the unity.” The Raiders visit Lassiter on August 14.

Blessed Trinity had another strong campaign in 2017 as it won 59 contests and reached the Class AAAA state finals. The Titans return senior libero Anna MacDonald who had a team-high 986 digs and 114 aces last season. Sophomore Grace Van Buren posted a team-high 82 blocks and 236 kills as a freshman last year alongside junior Alyssa Parodi who had 177 kills and 59 blocks. Junior Abbie Granson and senior Charlotte Dempsey combined for 450 digs last season for the Titans while junior Ainsley Hartman will have an increased role this season as well.

“Things have gone well for us,” Blessed Trinity coach Paul Stevens said. “We have a lot of new talent that has joined the program and I'm very excited to see how the team comes together.” The Titans host Lassiter to open their season on August 9.

St. Francis won 20 matches last season and reached the quarterfinals of the Class A playoffs last season. The Knights return junior outside hitter Andrea Jones who had 195 kills and 29 assists last year. Junior defensive specialist Annabeal Keever had 206 digs in 2017 and senior setter Sarah Recht who had a team-high 639 assists last season are also back.

Wesleyan also reached the Class A state playoffs last season and won 25 matches. The Wolves return two starters in senior outside hitter Grace Tyler who posted a team-high 240 kills last season as well as junior libero Meredith Mangum. Other top contributors for Wesleyan will be senior Caroline Burke, juniors Jayla Jones and Tatum Connor as well as sophomores Alden Pridgen, Riley Bryan and Sydney Stirling. The Wolves face St. Pius X on August 11.

Several teams will be in action on August 14 including Cambridge which visits North Forsyth, Centennial traveling to Greater Atlanta Christian, Chattahoochee visiting West Forsyth, Fellowship Christian at Galloway, King’s Ridge visiting Flowery Branch. Milton hosts Denmark and Mount Pisgah Christian faces Woodward Academy on August 16.

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