Girls volleyball previews

Massapequa celebrates a point against Smithtown East during

Massapequa celebrates a point against Smithtown East during the Class AA Long Island High School girls volleyball regional finals at St. Joseph's College on Saturday in Patchogue, New York. (Nov. 12, 2011) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Glenn has captured two state Class B titles in the past five seasons and the Spiders have their sights set on another despite the loss of five starters. Smithtown East and Kings Park, each of which went upstate last year, are looking for a repeat of their Long Island titles -- and more.

SUFFOLK

CLASS AALibero Dani Nizich will lead a young Smithtown East group that should improve as the season progresses. Lindenhurst expects to play for the county championship behind outside hitter/setter Emily Clemens, outside hitter Rachel Ramirez and 6-1 middle Briana Koehler.


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Ward Melville fell short of the county title match for the first time in 10 years, but hopes to get back with outside hitter Emily Astarita, setter Kellie Rizzo and middle hitters Courtney Cleary and Kristen Bendy, who stand at 6-1 and 6-3, respectively.

Smithtown West has a balanced team that returns four seniors. Bay Shore could surprise teams with middle hitter Karly White. Also watch for Connetquot seventh grader Mackenzie Cole to quickly emerge as one of Suffolk's top young liberos.

CLASS A

Kings Park won its first Long Island championship last season and returns five starters. The team could be even stronger with Newsday All-Long Island outside hitter Joelle Goldstein and outside hitter Amanda Gannon returning.

Eastport-South Manor hopes to reach the county finals behind middle Cassandra Minogue. Sayville has similar aspirations. Westhampton is a likely playoff team with outside hitter Marta Sadowska and libero Alexa Smith.

CLASS B

Glenn, the clear favorite to win another county title, is led by returning middle Jackie Malusa and setter Stephanie Caputo. East Hampton moves from Class A and should compete behind setter Raya O'Neal and outside hitter Melanie Mackin. Also look for Mount Sinai and Bayport-Blue Point to be in the mix.

CLASS C/D

Shelter Island has won the Class D division in Suffolk for eight straight seasons. The team returns setter Katy Binder and middle hitter Alexis Gibbs. Mattituck won Class C last year but Babylon looks strong this season.NASSAU

CONFERENCE AAFor 12 seasons, it's been about which teams, if any, can challenge Massapequa, and this year should be no different. The Chiefs have won 12 consecutive county titles and will make a run at No. 13 behind Lauren Van Buren, a two-time all county outside hitter.

Baldwin will try to compete with right side hitter Colleen Walsh and 6-2 middle hitter Loren McKenzie.

Farmingdale,East Meadow and Hicksville should be right there with Baldwin looking up at Massapequa.

CONFERENCE A

Wantagh beat South Side to win the Nassau title and will try to repeat behind setter Carly Simeone and libero Christina Ellul. South Side returns its core, led by outside hitter Alison Glass and 6-2 right side hitter Kayla Principato.

Manhasset graduated its entire starting lineup, but still hopes it can return to the playoffs with setter Olena Cardali.

Bellmore JFK had been to three straight county finals before losing in the quarterfinals last season, but returns five starters, including All-County setter Jamie Demmett.

Long Beach returns outside hitter Katherine Meyers and right side hitter Jackie Zeppa and faces Bellmore JFK on Oct. 16 in a key matchup. South Side and Wantagh play on Oct. 26 to potentially determine the top playoff seed in the conference.

CLASS B/C

Seaford went 14-0 en route to a Nassau B title, and returns 11 players, including right side hitters Danielle Pugliese and Zulfiya Asquino.

Mineola returns five starters and should challenge Seaford for a title behind setter Courtney Capobianco and outside hitter Danielle Martinez-McCormick.

East Rockaway is the defending Nassau C champion and hopes to repeat. The team has a ton of young talent with 13 juniors, led by outside hitter Gina Skelly and middle hitter Gianna Cilluffo.

Carle Place could provide some competition for East Rockaway, but the match to watch in BC will be on Oct. 18 when the Rocks plays at Seaford in the second of two battles between the defending Class B and Class C champs.

CHSAA

St. Anthony's returns five starters, led by three juniors -- outside hitter Julia Foster, middle hitter Samantha Zebuth and setter Bridget Hertill -- and will seek its fifth straight CHSAA title.

Kellenberg and Holy Trinity are also strong and will present a challenge for St. Anthony's.

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