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Prep Volleyball Preview

Five Volleyball Players to Watch

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By Aaron Lommers and Aaron Swaney
Herald Writers
  • Snohomish's Lanesha Reagan goes up for a block during a game last season.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Snohomish's Lanesha Reagan goes up for a block during a game last season.

  • Glacier Peak's Maddi Ober (left) and Ruby Mensing practice last season. The two led the Grizzlies to their first state appearance in 2011.

    Annie Mulligan / For The Herald

    Glacier Peak's Maddi Ober (left) and Ruby Mensing practice last season. The two led the Grizzlies to their first state appearance in 2011.

Snohomish, Outside hitter
For those that follow high school volleyball in Snohomish County, Lanesha Reagan has made herself a household name.
As a freshman at Snohomish in 2010, Reagan was named a second-team All-Area hitter and a first-team All-Wesco North hitter -- she also helped lead the Panthers to a fifth-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament. In the summer following, she was named to the USA volleyball A-1 Select team. She then followed up her stellar freshman season with an even more impressive sophomore year, making both the All-Area and All-Wesco North first teams as a hitter and being named to The Soph 79 released by The website annually releases the list of the top 79 best sophomore volleyball players in the country and Reagan was one of seven sophomores in Washington State that made the cut.
"It was really cool," Reagan said of being named to the list. "The girls on that list, I've played with a lot of them and they are all amazing and it's crazy to be on the same list as them."
With all Reagan's success on the court, it's not a wonder that the Panthers are one of the teams to beat in the Wesco North this season. Panthers coach Alex Tarin said there are many things that make Reagan special.
"Her athletic ability and her overall leadership on the court," he said. "She's really stepped up to be a leader this year.
She was voted as one of the team's three captains and Tarin said Reagan's leadership will be key to the team's success in 2012.
And Tarin has seen continued improvement in Reagan's game this past offseason.
"Her passing and her overall defense -- and believe it or not -- her hitting continues to get better every year," he said.
While the Panthers might be the Wesco North 4A favorites, it won't be easy to come out on top. Monroe returns a star of their own in Melina Seabrook, who was named All-Wesco North first team as a hitter last season as a junior and Lake Stevens returns senior McKayla Huntley, who was also a first-team All-Wesco North hitter a year ago.
The Bearcats will face a challenge in replacing All-Wesco North first-team setter and hitter Kendal Munoz, but should still be tough. Both the Bearcats and the Vikings should pose a formidable test for the Panthers.
And Tarin isn't overlooking anyone.
"We look at every team," he said. "Every time we step on the court, we look at the other teams as the team we have to be afraid of and as the team that could beat us."
Reagan echoed her coach's sentiments.
"We are on our toes for all the games because anything can happen.
But having Reagan on his team can't hurt the Panthers chances. Tarin said that the Oregon State recruit is one of most talented players he has ever coached.
"I've only coached one other player like that and she went on to be a star at Pepperdine," Tarin said, referring to Kim Hill, who he coached at Portland Christian High School. "And she (Reagan) has got all those intangibles.
"I think she expects to be able to put every ball away and pass everything perfect. She's very committed to getting better and being the best player she can be."
Edmonds-Woodway, Libero
Edmonds-Woodway libero Julia Hutchison may be small in stature, but she has a big voice.
The junior stands just 5-foot-2, but can be heard all over the court -- and in the stands -- at any Warriors volleyball match. Edmonds-Woodway coach Nicole Bordeaux said that Hutchison's constant communication with her teammates is one of her biggest strengths.
"She quite honestly is a pretty rare individual when it comes to volleyball," Bordeaux said. "She has an incredible voice on the court that never stops. She is just constantly in the back row encouraging her teammates."
Hutchison, who is going into her third year as the Warriors starting libero, said being vocal on the court comes naturally.
"I guess it's just kind of who I am," she said. "I'm just a naturally loud kind of leader. It's not something I've had to force myself to do, I just do it."
Hutchinson is the only player from the All-Wesco South first-team returning in 2012 that isn't from Jackson High School, the clear cut favorite to win the league.
But Edmonds-Woodway should be much improved and Hutchison has high expectations.
"I'm expecting for this team to make it to state this year and place high in our league," Hutchison said.
Bordeaux said playing in the same league as Jackson isn't a bad thing.
"For us, it's exciting," she said. "What a great opportunity for us to get to play a team at that level. We are really excited to play them. Some of the players on their team are incredible.
Jackson certainly is the benchmark for the rest of the league to measure themselves against, but Bordeaux said the rest of the league will be competitive.
"Everyone else has really been pushing to have a more competitive program," she said. "I think it's going to be a much more competitive league and that's great."
Hutchison's presence certainly helps the Warriors stay competitive in the league.
"She is one of those players that you wish you could clone and have 11 more of," Bordeaux said. "I'm not sure how it gets better, but I'm sure it will."
Glacier Peak, Outside hitters
Glacier Peak is coming off its most successful season ever, having finally reached the state tournament since the school came into existence four years ago.
But if the Grizzlies want to return they'll need these two to lead the way. Mensing and Ober, who were both selected to the All-Wesco first team, were a critical part of Glacier Peak's success last year and the two return hoping to make it back-to-back trips to the state tournament.
Glacier Peak head coach Chris Pratt said their leadership will be key because the team will be made up of a number of first-time varsity players, including the team's starting setter position, which is open for competition. Another key is replacing last year's libero, Taylor Rasmussen.
"Replacing Taylor Rasmussen will require every position player to improve on defense," Pratt said.
Both outside hitters, Mensing and Ober combined for 293 kills last season, with Ober adding 21.5 blocks and Mensing 24 aces.
Everett, Setter
Everett's new volleyball coach, Kris Jones, hasn't had a lot of time with her team, but she's been impressed with what she's seen so far.
Especially junior Tenika Wentworth.
"She's got great hands for setting," Jones said of Wentworth, who was named to All-Wesco second team last season. "She's a well-round passer."
Jones, who coached at Snohomish for six seasons and Cascade for four before taking a year off, hopes to turn around a Seagulls program that had a bit of a disappointing season last year and she seems to have the players to do it. Besides Wentworth, Everett returns eight other varsity players from a year ago, including outside hitters Rebecca Kopp and Loretta Forrest, who Jones said the Seagulls will lean on this year.
One player Everett must replace is libero Jody Barhanovich. Jones said two girls are vying for the libero spot: Kayla Heman and Chase Osborne.

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