Photo by Julie LaFollette
Caldwell High’s 2021 volleyball team. Front row, left to right, Lydia Doudna, Brooklyn Michael, Gwyn Lori, Josie Lori and Chesne Long; back row, Klaudia Rayner, Gwen Dimmerling, Elle Schafer, Emma Clark and Olivia Griffith. Not pictured, Jules Hood and Kaylee Siddle.
By Julie LaFollette
The Caldwell Lady Redskins’ volleyball team is on a title hunt this season.
“This year we are setting the bar higher than last year,” said Caldwell Head Coach Alexis Watson. “We, as a team, believe we are capable of winning more than 50 percent of our games and we are looking for titles this year in both the OVAC and the OHSAA Tournament. Our goal is to be better than we were last year and keep improving every year.
“We will be running a 5-1 rotation this season,” she said. “Most of our hitters have varsity experience and our net play will be a strength this season. We have several girls with excellent jump serves this year, so that will be a big plus. We are still looking to solidify our setting game as we tried multiple players in that position last season.”
The team is a mix of experience and youth this fall.
“We have seven seniors this year, with four of them being four-year starters,” Watson stated. “The two incoming freshmen are amazing athletes and are helping our team tremendously.”
Caldwell will be looking to those four senior letterwinner to lead the team this fall. Elle Schafer (5-4) will be the libero again this season. Klaudia Rayner (5-5), Gwen Dimmerling (5-11) and Emma Clark (5-11) will all be outside hitters.
“These seniors have been playing together for years and it shows in the way they communicate and work together,” said Watson. “We are looking for these four to be our leaders on and off the floor.”
Joining the four seniors in the starting rotation will be sophomore middle hitter Josie Lori (5-7), a returning letterwinner, and freshmen middle hitter Gwyn Lori (5-8) and outside hitter Chesne Long (5-9). Due to an injury to Rayner, the early season starting lineup will include junior outside hitter Brooklyn Michael (5-7) and sophomore setter Lydia Doudna (5-2).
“These younger girls are all strong athletes,” said Watson. “They have been working hard and will be a great complement to our experienced group of seniors.”
Others looking to get some varsity playing time are seniors Olivia Griffith (5-8), Kaylee Siddle (5-7), and Jules Hood (5-0).
Two players earned post-season honors in 2020. Dimmerling was named first team all-District 12 D-IV and Rayner was honorable mention all-District 12 D-IV.
The team only lost one senior from last season, Cayton Secrest, who was named to the first team all-District 12 D-IV and first team all-OVAC Class 2A.
“Cayton is an amazing athlete, and her leadership will be missed this year.” Watson commented.
This is Watson’s third year at the helm of the volleyball program. The team finished with an 11-11 record last season. They finished with a loss to Tuscarawas Central Catholic in the Division IV Sectional final game.
Michelle Curry will be assisting Watson again this season. Marlena Kress will coach the eighth grade team and Eric Marshall with coach the seventh grade.
The Caldwell schedule is very similar to past seasons, with the ‘Skins playing familiar opponents such as Shenandoah, Monroe Central, Fort Frye and Frontier.
Caldwell opens season on Monday, Aug. 23 hosting Buckeye Trail.
Monday, Aug. 23 – Buckeye Trail, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 24 – at St. John Academy, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 26 – Bishop Rosecrans, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 30 – Shenandoah, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 7 – Monroe Central, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 8 – at Frontier, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 11 – Beallsville, 12 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 13 – Belpre, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 14 – Fort Frye, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16 – at Shenandoah, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 20 – at Monroe Cetnral, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 22 – Newcomerstown, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 27 – Conotton Valley, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 28 – Frontier, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 30 – St. John Academy, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 4 – at Fort Frye, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 7 – at Beallsville, 5:30 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 11 – at Newcomerstown, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 12 – OVAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, Oct. 16 – OVAC Finals, TBA