Expect changes in DODDS-Europe volleyball this year
Expect 2006 to be a year of change in DODDS-Europe high school volleyball.
Sixteen new coaches will assume the reins of the 36 girls teams.
And they will be looking at a lot of new faces to replace last year’s stars. Of the 12 girls selected for the 2005 All-Europe first team, just three return for 2006 — two-time choice Kasy’e Lalau of Patch, and Regina Fleming and Jayci Cacheula of Ramstein. All three are seniors.
Despite the upheavals, the center of gravity in girls volleyball might not shift much. Last year’s champions appear to be among the favorites this year.
In Division I, defending European champion Ramstein will try to make it two straight for coach Hia Sebastian, who’s beginning her second season at the helm of the Lady Royals.
In addition to having Fleming and Cacheula back to build around, Sebastian said her whole team is showing the benefits of hard work in the offseason.
“Everyone’s looking very good,” she said. “Everyone’s been attending other training camps during the summer.”
Chief among those camps was the DODDS-Europe event hosted by Aviano in August.
“There were 22 coaches for the 100 girls who came,” Sebastian said. “There was nice camaraderie and plenty of opportunity to give everyone individual attention.”
New coaches are the rest of the story in Division I, where Kara Mittwenzwey succeeds the retired Rich Bennett at Heidelberg, Scott Davis takes over at Kaiserslautern and Kathy Schick moves in at Lakenheath.
Division II champion Aviano begins its quest for a repeat sporting the gaudiest numbers in the sport, a 23-match winning streak. The Saints have won 82 straight against competition from the Mediterranean.
But all that might change, according to coach Hans Hillestad.
“We’re going to be OK,” said Hillestad, who welcomes back All-Europe second-teamer Lindsey Jackson, a setter.
“But we’re not stacked.”
“Naples,” Hillestad said. “They have height, size and experience.”
Division III champion Baumholder is in a “construction year,” said veteran coach Mike Reilly, who lost five seniors but welcomes back All-European tournament picks Sharena Cabrera and Katrina Alsup.
“Rota and London Central should be tough in our league,” he said.
In Division IV, champion Alconbury opens its quest for a third straight crown under defensive-minded Lea Norris, its third coach in as many seasons.
The Kaiserslautern Military Community is again hosting the girls Europeans, which will be held from Nov. 2-4 this year.
DODDS-Europe sponsors boys volleyball in the Mediterranean Region. So does private Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany.
Naples emerged triumphant from that European tournament last November, and Wildcats coach Peter Nagafuchi is hopeful of a second crown behind senior captains Mark and Ivan Nguyen.
He’ll find out if Naples can repeat in the boys tournament Nov. 2-4 at a site to be determined.