Area volleyball teams post winning seasons

The tournament trail came to an abrupt end for the Euclid Panther volleyball team, while the VASJ girls reached the district finals before bowing out of the playoffs. Still, both area squads enjoyed highly successful 2011 seasons.

The second-seeded Vikings, coached by Mark Royer, easily conquered Lutheran East, 25-7, 25-7, 25-10, in their Division VI sectional opener at Medina High, then swatted Lake Ridge Academy, 25-14, 25-13, 25-13, in the district semifinal. However, after getting off to a promising start in the championship game against third-seeded Kidron Central Christian, the VASJ girls lost the final three sets to see their season come to an end.

Nonetheless, the Lady Vikings finished the year with a very respectable 16-9 record.

The Lady Panthers also had a winning season, compiling a 14-9 mark, but lost their first tournament game to Eastlake North, 25-18, 25-17, 25-21, in front of a home crowd in the Division I sectional at Euclid on Oct. 17.

Coach Rachel Muniza’s Panthers turned in a solid performance against their Lake Erie League opponents, finishing with a 10-2 league record, good for a second-place finish.

 “We were in first place until the last game of the regular season,” noted Coach Muniza, in her first year as head coach. But the Euclid girls lost that final LEL contest to Lorain, a team they had beaten earlier in the year.

Muniza credited two outstanding seniors for much of the team’s success this season: Allegra Johnson and Avionne Mitchell.

Johnson, a 5-10 middle hitter, led the team in both kills and service aces. “Her kill percentage was about 55 percent. That’s very good,” the coach noted. “She played in all 69 games this season and had 67 solo blocks.”

Mitchell, a 5-4 libero, is a three-year varsity player. She led the team in digs with 303 and launched aces on 19 percent of her serves.

 “We did just about everything we set out to do this year—except win the LEL,” Muniza said. “But we will be graduating eight seniors, so the next one or two seasons could be rebuilding years.” The 2011 team included just four juniors and no sophomores.

John Sheridan

Retired journalist. From 1963 to 1972, wrote for and edited the Euclid News-Journal, predecessor to the Sun-Journal. From 1972 to 2000, I was a writer and editor for Industry Week magazine. Also have worked for the Plain Dealer as a part-time sportswriter, covering high school sports. And I was a contributor to the previous Euclid Observer. I have lived in Euclid for almost my entire life. I am a graduate of St. Joseph High School and John Carroll University.

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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 5:00 PM, 12.31.2011