Head coach Jessie Todd received a rude welcome to Cowapa League volleyball in 2016.
Astoria’s first-year coach and her team went winless in league play, and other than a first-place finish in a tournament at Vernonia, there weren’t a lot of highlights for the Lady Fishermen.
Given that Astoria had just two seniors on the roster last year, things should go a little better for Todd in her second season.
“I feel good about the team that we’ve put together,” Todd said. “I’m really happy with the progress we made (the first) week and where we’re at. There’s a lot less having to teach the girls new things. They know the drills and the system. We’re definitely ahead of the game.”
Last year’s final eight at the state tournament included three teams from the Cowapa League. Banks and Valley Catholic both lost in the semifinals, while Tillamook eventually won the consolation final. The Valiants lost three first-team all-league players, but two others return. The Braves and the Cheesemakers all lost key seniors.
Still, “It’s going to be a tough year again,” Todd said. “Everyone in our league is good, so we’ll have to show up every night and play hard, and hopefully things will swing our way.”
The Lady Fish
Despite the winless league record, Astoria still had three all-leaguers, two of whom return.
Middle blocker Darian Hageman and setter/right side hitter Madi Landwehr are back for their senior seasons, along with outside hitter Chelsea Christensen and defensive specialist Kira Worwood.
After that, the Fishermen had a lot of youth on last year’s team. Youth with potential.
A large sophomore class featured outside hitter Kes Sandstrom, who transferred from Scappoose; and hitters Heaven Barrett and Emilli DeLong.
Sophomore setter Julia Norris and libero Hailey O’Brien both saw extensive action as freshmen.
Rounding out the varsity 12 will be junior Camille Cottrell and transfers Corrin Howard (Seaside) and Chloe Magranahan (Warrenton), both seniors.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how my hitters do against some of those tall blockers in our league,” Todd said. “We’ve talked a lot about encouraging each other and coming together and creating a cohesive team unit. Half our roster is seniors, so we’ve got some good leadership.”
Coach: Jessie Todd, 2nd year
2016: 4-13 (0-10 Cowapa)
All-League losses: Jacqueline Jarrett, MB
All-League returners: Darian Hageman, Sr.; Madi Landwehr, Sr.