Front, from left, Deb Bethel, Skye Mounce, Erica Sheets, Bailey McGuire, Maddy Sheraka and Morgan Liley.
ROXANA – Bailey McGuire is back and that’s good news for the Roxana High volleyball team.
The Shells intend to return with another shot of success after going 24-12 last season and winning a regional championship – their first since 2003.
“We have a lot of returning players with varsity experience, so I’m extremely excited about this team and the season,” veteran coach Mike McKinney said. McKinney has directed the Shells for 20 years and has served as a head coach for 26 seasons.
Roxana established a school record for victories last season and contended for the South Central Conference championship. The Shells graduated four key seniors, including Anna Whitaker, now playing soccer at Lewis and Clark Community College.
But their top gun – 5-foot-10 senior McGuire — returns. She was involved in a November auto accident, but AdVantage News’ Volleyball Player of the Year is making a remarkable recovery.
Just ask McKinney. He has seen McGuire overcome the odds in recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
“She’s back with a vengeance,” McKinney said. “She is an inspiration for everybody; she leads by example and is a good role model. It has taken a lot of perseverance on her part, but she is playing like she was before the car accident.”
The Shells will cheer that notion. McGuire put together 276 kills, 229 digs, 43 aces and a 94 percent serving average last season. Overall, she has 750 kills, a school record.
McGuire will get ample assistance as the Shells begin their quest for another Class 3A regional title.
Maddy Sheraka, a 5-9 senior, figures to complement McGuire at the net. Sheraka was the top scorer for the Roxana basketball team last winter and she supplies quality athletic ability, McKinney said.
Deb Bethel, a 5-2 senior, will serve as the setter and be a vital player in getting the ball to McGuire and Maddy Sheraka. Erica Sheets, a 5-10 senior, also works on the front line, giving the Shells strength at the net.
“We’ll be strong on offense and hitting at the net,” McKinney said. “So passing will be really important for us.”
Skye Mounce, a 5-8 senior, adds to the hitters. Morgan Liley, a 5-4 senior, is cast as the team’s libero. Senior Destiny Vongpranchanh (5-6), juniors Karen Meyer (5-5) and Keely Reardon (5-3), plus sophomores Tyler Westfall (5-6) and Miah Berolo (5-5), also figure in the mix of things.
“All of our starters aren’t determined yet,” McKinney said. “We expected all 11 players to get a significant amount of playing time and we are counting on everybody contributing.”
Roxana debuts next week in the Shells tourney that starts Aug. 25, continues Aug. 26 and concludes Aug. 30.
“It’s a 12-team tournament with a good variety of teams,” McKinney said.
Alton, Marquette Catholic, Jersey, Bunker Hill, Mount Olive, Calhoun and Gillespie are some of the teams that will join the Shells in the competition.
He projects defending SCC champ Carlinville as the team to beat in the conference. The Shells welcome the Cavaliers on Sept. 23.
Each team has nine conference dates.
“Every year, Carlinville reloads,” McKinney said. “Coach Fran Struble’s record speaks for itself. I also think everybody in the conference will be competitive. Pana and Vandalia will be good and Southwestern is scrappy.”
ROXANA SHELLS VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 25-26, 30 – Roxana Tournament
Sept. 2 – at Hillsboro*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 4 – Vandalia*, 6 p.m.
Sep. 9 – Bunker Hill, 6 p.m.
Sept. 11 – at Greenville*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 12-13 – Alton Tournament
Sept. 15 – CM, 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 – EA-WR, 6 p.m.
Sept. 19 – at Litchfield*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 22 – Mount Olive, 6 p.m.
Sept. 23 – Carlinville*, 6 p.m.
Sept. 27 – Pana*, 10 a.m.
Sept. 30 –at Southwestern*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 1, 4 – Morrisonville Tournament
Oct. 8 – at Staunton*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 9 – at Marquette, 6 p.m.
Oct. 16 – Southwestern*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 22 – Metro East Lutheran, 6 p.m.
Oct. 23 – at Gillespie*, 6 p.m.
*Denotes conference games.
ROXANA SHELLS VOLLEYBALL ROSTER
Name HT POS
Deb Bethel 5-2 Setter
Morgan Liley 5-4 Libero
Bailey McGuire 5-10 Middle-Outside Hitter
Skye Mounce 5-8 Middle-Outside Hitter
Erica Sheets 5-10 Middle-Outside Hitter
Maddy Sheraka 5-9 Middle-Outside Hitter
Destiny Vongpranchanh 5-6 Middle-Outsider Hitter
Karen Meyer 5-5 Middle-Outside Hitter
Keely Reardon 5-3 Defender
Miah Bevolo 5-5 Setter
Tyler Westfall 5-6 Middle-Outside Hitter