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Upperclassmen looking to lead Firestone volleyball team to postseason success

10/10/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — Led by a strong class of upperclassmen, the Firestone High School volleyball team has designs on making some noise this postseason. The squad’s first opportunity arrives today, Oct. 10, when Firestone (16-4 overall and 12-0 in City Series league play) will take on Kenmore High School in the tournament championship match at 6 p.m.

Less than a week later, the fourth-seeded Lady Falcons will play Cuyahoga Falls High School at Barberton High School in the sectionals Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Firestone volleyball head coach Stacey Myers said some of the seeds of this year’s success began last season, when the team finished 13-9 and ended the season as the conference co-percentage champs.

“Last year’s team had several first-year varsity players,” she said. “I’m looking to see more maturity and confidence on the court to enhance the physical talent.”

The strengths of this year’s team, Myers said, are strong service, back-row defense and speed.

“This is the most skilled team that I have coached,” she noted. “They are extremely aggressive and competitive. I expect for them to reach all goals that we have set this season.”

Those goals, the coach stated, are as follows: “solo conference percentage champs, regain tournament title and advance at least one round in the sectional tournament.”

Leading the way for Firestone this year are three seniors. The seniors, with comments on each by the coach, are:

  • Outside hitter Samantha Sebree, co captain: “She has been the most dedicated in and out of season, and a leader on and off the court. She starts when we run our 6-2 offense and is one of our most consistent servers. She has a full-ride academic scholarship to The University of Akron.”
  • Right-side hitter Rachel Ashley: “She starts when we run our 5-1 offense. She is a third year-letterman and was 2012 Conference Honorable Mention.”
  • Middle hitter Sara Davis, co-captain: “She is a motivator and a leader. In 2012, she was named conference first team and district second team. In 2013, she was named Conference Player of the Year and WAKR student athlete of the week. She leads the team in kills and blocks. Sara aspires to continue her volleyball career in college.”

According to Myers, two juniors who have stood out this season are Janelle Perry and Destynee Lovejoy.

“Janelle Perry played the libero position in 2012 and moved to outside hitter this season. She is extremely aggressive in the front and back row and leads the team in digs,” the coach said. “Setter Destynee Lovejoy leads the team in assists and in aces. She’s the glue to our offense and a leader on the court. She is very quick and a good read of the defense.”

Myers said juniors Taliyah Carter and Dara Perry have proven to be surprise performers this season.

“Taliyah played with us her freshman year, and we are blessed to have her return this season. She plays the middle hitter position. It’s difficult for teams to block her because she can hang in the air so long. She’s also one of my top receivers,” the coach said. “Dara Perry has also been a great surprise for the team. To see her play on the court, you would not know that this is only the second year that she has ever played volleyball in her life. She is one of my top defensive specialists. She can hit front row and can serve the ball anywhere on the court.”

In addition, Myers said, freshman Allison Simon has been a key performer for the team this season.

“Allison starts when we run our 6-2 offense,” the coach said. “She is a fantastic server and has a good eye for the game. She is extremely coachable and picks up quickly. I expect her to be one of our future top players and leaders.”

Myers, who is in her 13th season as the team’s coach, has a lifetime conference record of 111-7. This year, she was voted the Conference Coach of the Year.

Myers is assisted by Ricardo Myers and Aireka Wright.

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