CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Heading into her first season at the helm, Head Coach Jessica Schomaker is optimistic about the season ahead for the Cedar Grove girls volleyball team that will rely on senior leadership for success.

    “Each of them has a lot of heart and a lot of determination to win.  I think they are great leaders all of them,” said Schomaker.

    At libero the Panthers will bring back senior Captain Chloe Weinstein as a key piece. Weinstein is highly regarded as a vocal leader for the group and collected an impressive 169 digs a season ago for the squad.

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    “Chloe is our defensive specialist.  She controls everything, everything goes through her in the back court, she talks and tells everyone where the ball is going,” said Schomaker.

    Senior Captain Emily Lynch will facilitate the team’s offense from the setter position. Lynch in a platoon role last season managed to get 12 assists in preparation for her senior campaign at the position.

    “Emily is doing a great job varying her sets and controlling the offense that way and setting it to a player that’s hot and setting away from a double or triple block,” said Schomaker. 

    On the front line senior Captain Alyssa Coletta returns to give Cedar Grove a big offensive threat. A season ago Coletta was well rounded notching 124 digs, 91 service points, 22 aces, nine kills and four assists. 

    “Alyssa is a very good opposite hitter and a very good back row passer.  She really commands the court and can step in for people if we need to shift,” said Schomaker. 

    Alongside Coletta on the front line will be senior Brittney Taylor. Taylor comes in as the team’s top returning scorer from a year ago with 58 kills on the season.

    Brittney is a very powerful and strong middle player.  She’s a great blocker for us, she’s really taking control…she’s done a lot of great things from the middle,” said Schomaker. 

    Playing with the quartet of seniors will be a trio of players looking to supplement the teams scoring. Junior Abby Fennelly will also play in the middle while junior Molly Bauer and sophomore Jenna Vega will play on the outside. The trio will look to improve on a combined 28 kills from a season ago. 

    Coming off of a loss in the State Section Quarterfinals the group knows they can be competitive within their grouping this year.  

    “I think we want to be consistent this year, we want to compete and I definitely think that we have an opportunity to win our conference and that’s our main goal right now,” said Schomaker. 

    Currently in preparation for the season the Panthers are scrimmaging a number of their local counterparts. As a supplemental practice the group is working on various fundamentals during the scrimmages.

    “The girls are focused and they want it and the girls come ready to work hard,” said Schomaker.

    Cedar Grove will open up their season against Belleville on September 4. Belleville is a team that has given the Panthers a tough game over the past few years so it will be an early season test for the group.

    “I told the girls on Friday that this week is to really work on our weaknesses…we really want to work on our weaknesses as a team so we can be ready to play Belleville,” said Schomaker.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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