A familiar new face is at the helm of rebuild for Hopkinton girls’ volleyball program

A 25-0 season finished with a 3-1 triumph over Westborough for the Division 2 state title last November, and the retirement of venerated 18-year mentor Marge Grabmeier.

But first-yearcoach Emma Sweetapple is very much familiar with the Hopkinton young ladies’ volleyball crew. A 2011 alum, she is planning for her twelfth year with the program as a player and afterward colleague coach.

On Wednesday, she concluded her 15-player varsity program to take on the Tri-Valley League record and nonleague enemies. Early Thursday morning, the Hillers were back on the court for their most memorable full practice.

“It’s certainly somewhat of a modifying year for us,” Sweetapple said.

“I’m zeroing in on the youthful competitors and simply getting them familiar in this new job and getting myself familiar in this new job as well. Yet, I’m a contender, so I’m never going take a state title off the table.

“Getting this occupation has been actually a round trip second for me, subsequent to playing for Margie, working for and with her, to now venturing into her old position.

“A few players, similar to senior rightside hitter Abbie Hardenbrook, have insight with Sweetapple as their mentor from their initial a long time in the program.

“She helped structure my pattern abilities and created me as a player,” Hardenbrook said.

“I depended on her on and off the court, she was somebody I truly admired my first year yet do.

After the graduation of eight seniors, featured by chief Kate Powers, the TVL MVP, Sweetapple maintained that the returning six players should play a part in the skipper determination process.

Last spring, Hardenbrook, and seniors Annabelle Senseney and Emily Graeber were chosen by the returning players through a self-selection and casting a ballot process.

“Nothing is a higher priority than group science, and [our first] practice went perfectly, it most certainly set a great tone for the season,” Hardenbrook said.

“We in all actuality do have a youthful group, yet they’re truly gifted so the most effective way to lead them is to urge them to try sincerely and continuously bring their best effort.”

For 11 competitors, this will be their most memorable varsity season, yet Sweetapple is hopeful about the work they can do over the course of the following week.

“Defensively, we’re coming out areas of strength for extremely now, we have a ton of high jumpers and a few exceptionally amazing passers,” Sweetapple said.

“We need to spend a ton of work on offense and correspondence, it’s another group, so sorting out some way to speak with one another and learning inclinations for hitting and level are big.”

The Hillers will head out to state finalist Westborough for a scrimmage Sept. 1 preceding their season opener in a nonleague match against a continuously difficult Bishop Feehan crew on Sept. 6.·

Defending Division 4 hero Ipswich graduated seven seniors, including star libero Liz Linkletter and center blockers Claire O’Flynn and Meghan Wallace from a 21-1 squad.

“Our greatest thing is realizing that we don’t have a similar group,” third-year mentor Staci Sonke said. “Systems, the way that we practice, tackle games will be unique, yet our certainty and mental sturdiness will be the same.”

The Tigers will run their quick offense through eight returning varsity players, including pin hitter Grace Sorensen and setters Kendra Brown and Tess O’Flynn.·

Old Rochester polished off a program-best 23-2 season with the Division 3 title, a 3-1 win over Dennis-Yarmouth. The vital this season for mentor Jimmy Oliveira and the Bulldogs: group collaboration and initiative with a youthful gathering with only three seniors: Ella Souter, Emma Van Ness, and Reagan Rock.

“Day one of tryouts was truly tranquil,” Oliveira said. “As the most recent three days went on, the rec center got much stronger. To return to the title we will require extraordinary communication.”·

What can double cross safeguarding Division 1 hero Needham get done for a reprise? The 2021 graduating class of nine completed 70-5 in general with two titles. Following a six-day tryout plan that will close Saturday, the Rockets will have a superior thought who will step into the setup behind a couple of skilled youngsters, Globe All-Scholastic Samantha Tam and Isobel Streeper, the more youthful sister of 2021 Globe Athlete of the Year Ellie Streeper.

“We certainly will have to put the bits of the riddle together once more,” mentor Courtney Chaloff said. “Yet, we have two remarkable youngsters returning that are venturing into a more noticeable initiative position.”·

A tip of the cap to the 2022 inductees to the Massachusetts Volleyball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame: Steve Derossi (New Bedford young men), Ernie Holcomb (Falmouth young ladies), Rachel Lassey (Dartmouth young ladies), David Moore (Bourne young ladies), Jacqui Niosi (Quincy young men and young ladies), Dru Sisson (Dennis-Yarmouth young ladies), Pam Thomas (Duxbury young ladies), Mark Taylor (Minnechaug young ladies), Andrew Viselli (St. John’s Prep), and Tyler Wingate (Westfield young men and young ladies). The acceptance early lunch will be Oct. 16, at Granite Links.

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