Front, from left, Monica Ledesma, Summer Standefer and Tory Meiser; back, from left, Alaina Trosley, Saige Gehrs, Kylie Winchester and Julie Bruns.
As Amanda Biggs enters her second season as the head coach of the Civic Memorial Eagles, she thinks her inaugural campaign at the helm has helped provide the recipe for improvement.
After going just 4-20 in 2013, Biggs believes her players gained valuable experience for success, as did she.
“Last year I think we got out all of the kinks and tried to figure each other out,” Biggs said. “As a new coach they were trying to figure me out and what I wanted to do to build the program.
“I had to learn not to take the losses too hard. Being young and being new and still trying to develop my own coaching style and my philosophy and my expectations, I had high hopes, but it will come. I have some good mentors that are helping mold me, too.”
The Eagles will have a nice mix of veteran leadership as well as youthful talent. The varsity squad will be composed of seven seniors, five sophomores and one junior.
Senior outside hitter Saige Gehrs, 5-foot-10, looks to be a potent player for CM. She will be joined by some other talented outside hitters like 5-6 sophomore Cara Melton, 5-9 sophomore Kaity Kappler and 5-6 senior Alaina Trosley. Sophomore middle blocker Kennedy Carnes, 5-10, also will be a valuable contributor at the net.
Senior Monica Ledesma and sophomore Sydney Marshall will handle the setting duties for the hitting game, while junior McKenna Geist will be the libero and seniors Julie Bruns, Tory Meiser and Summer Standefer will work in on defense.
“This year we are definitely a young varsity; we have a lot of sophomores who will be big contributors,” Biggs said. “Then we also have some seniors that are going to play some big roles.
“Saige Gehrs is going to be a huge asset. We moved her from middle to outside and she’s just dominated from what I’ve seen from her so far in summer workouts. Then Kaity Kappler and Cara Melton, sophomores, are back and they were big varsity contributors last year.”
The Eagles open their season at home on Aug. 28, welcoming East Alton-Wood River to CM.
They look forward to another grueling season in the Mississippi Valley Conference, too. Biggs knows it’s never an easy task winning in the MVC. She looks for the Mascoutah Indians to be the team to beat in the league.
“Mascoutah has a great program and they’re somebody that we battled with at the Quincy Notre Dame Tournament (last season) and we really stepped it up there against them,” Biggs said. “It really boosted our confidence toward the end of the season. That’s something we want to build on and be able to compete with them. Then there’s Highland and Triad: good programs that we feel we’ll be able to compete with and see some good matches with them.”
CM includes four tournaments on its schedule and hopes for strong performances in all of them. There’s the Alton Tournament on Sept. 12-13, the Granite City Tournament on Sept. 20, the Freeburg Tournament on Oct. 17-18 and the Quincy Notre Dame Tourney on Oct. 24-25.
“The Granite City Tournament, that’s a good one,” Biggs said. “Our setter was actually the MVP of that tournament last year, so we’re looking to do some things there, and then the Freeburg Tournament we’re in this year and we hope to do good there.”
CIVIC MEMORIAL 2014 VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 28 East Alton-Wood River, 6 p.m.
Sept. 3 at Marquette Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 Granite City, 6 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Alton Tournament, 5 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Alton Tournament, 9 a.m.
Sept. 15 at Roxana, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Highland*, 6:15 p.m.
Sept. 18 Waterloo*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Granite City Tournament, 8 a.m.
Sept. 23 at Triad*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 25 Mascoutah*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Jersey*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 2 Highland*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Waterloo*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 9 Metro East Lutheran, 6 p.m.
Oct. 14 Triad*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Freeburg Tournament, TBA
Oct. 18 at Freeburg Tournament, TBA
Oct. 21 at Mascoutah*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 23 Jersey*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Quincy Notre Dame Tournament, 5 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Quincy Notre Dame Tournament, 9 a.m.
*denotes conference games
NAME HT POS
Julie Bruns 5-5 DS
Saige Gehrs 5-10 OH
Monica Ledesma 5-3 S
Tory Meiser 5-3 DS
Summer Standefer 5-4 DS
Alaina Trosley 5-6 OH/DS
Kylie Winchester 6-0 MB
McKenna Geist 5-3 Libero
Kennedy Carnes 5-10 MB
Baleigh Gehrs 6-0 MB
Kaitlyn Kappler 5-9 OH
Sydney Marshall 5-8 S
Cara Melton 5-6 OH