Get our free mobile app

2023 Class A North Girls Volleyball Preview: Cougars Start on Top in Loaded A-North

Thirty-seven programs across the Jersey Shore train all summer to get ready for the fall volleyball season to kick off, all with the common goal of winning day in and day out. While programs can generate buzz off of certain student-athletes or accolades received throughout the year, there’s always a better sense of what’s in store when there’s concrete evidence heading into the season. We kick off the 2023 Girls Volleyball preseason with a preview of the seven teams competing for the Class A North divisional title.


Colts Neck 

2022 Season: 23-6 overall; 12-0 A North; A North Divisional Champions; Shore Conference Tournament Semifinalists; Central Jersey Group III Sectional Champs

Head Coach: Gregory Hope

Key Returners: Savannah Butz, Sr. (99 Kills, 72 Blocks, 18 Digs); Brooke Lombardo, Sr. (131 Kills, 17 Blocks, 30 Digs); Chiara Lombardo, Sr. (35 Digs, 39 Service Points, 4 Aces); Stacey Mancino, Sr. (289 Digs, 34 Assists, 119 Service Points, 23 Aces); Gabby Penzcak, Jr.; Gianna Savino, Sr.; Kendra Thor, Jr.

Key Graduates: Madison McSorley (136 kills, 343 digs, 201 service points, 49 aces), Alex Foley (241 Kills, 213 Digs, 108 Service Points, 36 Aces);  Ashley Jordan (6 Kills, 30 Digs, 110 Service Points, 7 Aces); Sophia Koval (189 Digs, 575 Assists, 231 Service Points, 51 Aces)

Quick Overview: Losing stars Madison McSorley, Alex Foley, Ashley Jordan, and Sophia Koval would have people thinking that this would be a season of rebuilding for the Cougars of Colts Neck. People have to think again when looking at the 2023 roster and the head coach leading at the helm. Last year, Colts Neck made an appearance in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, while winning the Central Jersey Group III Sectional Finals for the second year in a row. Juniors Stacey Mancino and Savannah Butz proved to be huge contributors during their 2022 run. With a strong core of last year’s juniors returning under the wing of head coach Gregory Hope, the future remains bright for the program off of Five Points Road.




 2022 Season: 12-11 overall; 7-5 A North; Shore Conference Tournament Second Round

Head Coach: Michael Walsh

Key Returners: Layla Berger, Sr. (95 Digs, 13 Assists, 42 Service Points, 10 Aces); Sophie Lysyak, Jr. (93 Kills, 2 Blocks, 31 Digs, 74 Service Points, 10 Aces); Cece Marino, Sr. (61 Kills, 35 Blocks, 143 Digs, 309 Assists, 104 Service Points, 32 Aces); Alana Pytel, Sr. (28 Kills, 4 Blocks, 6 Digs, 1 Assist, 30 Service Points, 5 Aces); Amy Fitzpatrick, Sr. (37 Kills, 9 Blocks, 4 Digs, 18 Service Points, 4 Aces)

Key Graduates: Julia Bauer (140 Kills, 2 Blocks, 104 Digs, 1 Assist, 149 Service Points, 47 Aces); Julia Colletti (62 Digs, 3 Assists); Brooke Loges (92 Digs, 3 Assists, 62 Service Points, 19 Aces)

Quick Overview: The losses of Bauer, Colletti and Loges are significant, as the three seniors all had standout seasons and paved a pathway for the key returners. Marlboro returns a core group from last year, with a lot of promise on the horizon for the Mustangs. Cece Marino is one of the Shore’s top multi-tool threats. There’s a lot of experience and veteran-esque presence on the court for Marlboro, as coach Michael Walsh and the Mustangs look to make headlines all season long.



Freehold Boro

2022 Season: 13-9 overall; 7-5 A North; Shore Conference Tournament First Round; Central Jersey Group III Quarterfinalists

Head Coach: Jennifer Brzucki

Key Returners: Audrey Sousa, Sr. (176 Kills, 15 Blocks, 104 Digs, 25 Assists, 128 Service Points, 54 Aces); Juliana Manrique, Sr. (29 Kills, 22 Blocks, 41 Digs, 55 Service Points, 8 Aces); Brianna Cies, Sr. (35 Kills, 15 Blocks, 4 Digs, 1 Assist, 88 Service Points, 23 Aces); Michaela Aiello, So.; Sayuri Penaranda, Jr.

Key Graduates: Jessica Adamo (13 Kills, 1 Block, 36 Digs, 93 Service Points, 9 Aces); Jillian Butch (9 Kills, 42 Digs, 329 Assists, 146 Service Points, 29 Aces); Sofia Hor (184 Kills, 80 Digs, 10 Assists, 99 Service Points, 51 Aces)

Quick Overview: Freehold Boro brings back a strong senior class led by Audrey Sousa and Juliana Manrique. Without Adamo, Butch or Hor able to provide any additional firepower, it’s going to be up to the unsung heroes of Brianna Cies, Michaela Aiello and Sayuri Penaranda to help take this program deeper into tournament play. Having the talents of Sousa and Manrique with the coaching tutelage Brzucki provides may just have Freehold Boro thinking beyond the division.




2022 Season: 12-9 overall; 9-3 A-North; Shore Conference Tournament Second Round

Head Coach: Maggie Preston

Key Returners: CC Socha-Soares, Jr. (80 Kills, 10 Blocks, 14 Digs, 1 Assist, 76 Service Points, 24 Aces); Keira Mullen, Jr. (98 Kills, 1 Block, 95 Digs, 2 Assists, 53 Service Points, 18 Aces); Gabia Grigaliunas, So. (59 Kills, 24 Blocks, 10 Digs, 2 Assists, 83 Service Points, 25 Aces); Mo Leung, Jr. (38 Digs); Kiera McCown, Jr.; Madison Catong, Jr.; Dorria Mahmoud, Sr.

Key Graduates: Avary Tonino (22 Kills, 5 Blocks, 32 Digs, 299 Assists, 109 Service Points, 28 Aces); Kayla Gallegos (133 Digs, 9 Assists, 67 Service Points, 13 Aces); Malina Ferrandino (101 Kills, 1 Block, 121 Digs, 4 Assists, 90 Service Points, 29 Aces)

Quick Overview: On paper, Howell looks to be returning one of the strongest, if not the strongest, roster back within A North. The multi-sport athlete in Avary Torino was a huge component of what made the Rebels excel on so many different levels. The losses of Gallegos and Ferrandino will be substantial as well. One of the strong suits that Howell has coming into the 2023 season is that the roster brings varsity experience. The Rebels have some juniors and seniors coming back that played significant time in monumental situations. Watch out for sophomore Gabia Grigaliunas to have a monster season for Coach Preston and the Rebels. _________________________________________________________________________


Middletown South

2022 Season: 8-11 overall; 5-7 A North

Head Coach: Lisa Thorne

Key Returners: Karolyna Bojko, Sr. (48 Kills, 13 Blocks, 46 Digs, 140 Assists, 33 Service Points, 18 Aces); Alyexa Cappadona, Jr. (9 Kills, 7 Digs, 6 Service Points, 6 Aces); Shannon Crosby, Jr. (57 Digs, 9 Assists, 13 Service Points, 5 Aces); Amalia Goushy, Jr. (37 Kills, 17 Blocks, 2 Digs, 1 Assist); Cameron Kapler, Jr. (46 Kills, 53 Digs, 1 Assist, 46 Service Points, 33 Aces); Sophia Loucopoulos, Sr. (7 Kills, 2 Blocks, 5 Digs, 37 Assists, 16 Service Points, 15 Aces) Regan Murphy, Sr. (40 Kills, 8 Blocks, 12 Digs, 2 Service Points, 1 Ace) 

Key Graduates: Sophia Bojko (53 Kills, 4 Blocks, 43 Digs, 5 Assists, 39 Service Points, 32 Aces); Amelia Fabian (46 Kills, 13 Blocks, 9 Digs, 1 Assist, 23 Service Points, 22 Aces); Raisse Ladoulis-Urban (5 Kills, 24 Digs, 3 Assists, 22 Service Points, 11 Aces)

Quick Overview: Middletown South comes into 2023 with quite an intriguing roster. The Eagles are losing three players, but come back with experience and talent on all fronts. Senior Karolyna Bojko will miss playing with her sister, Sophia, this season, but after her breakout 2022 campaign, Karolyna looks to continue providing a spark for this program. Cappadona and Crosby are both juniors with a ton of talent, looking to make a name for not only themselves but for Middletown South as well. With the strong combination of experienced seniors and promise from the junior class, 2023 could prove to be a “Cinderella Story” for Coach Thorne and Middletown South.



Middletown North

2022 Season: 2-17 overall; 1-11 A North

Head Coach: Cassia Wellington

Key Returners: Adriana Whelan, Sr.; Alivia Wright, Sr.; Isabel Melo, Sr.; Kyleigh Boyd, Sr.; Mia Meddici, Sr.; Carly Christiani, So. (59 Kills, 4 Blocks, 47 Digs, 7 Assists, 9 Aces); Sarah Gaffey, Sr. (8 Kills, 1 Block, 4 Digs, 68 Assists, 11 Aces); Julia Jensen, Sr. (25 Kills, 1 Block, 25 Digs, 1 Assist, 11 Aces); Adrianna Karcher, Sr. (17 Kills, 1 Block, 4 Digs, 2 Assists, 14 Aces); Emma Saniscalchi, Sr. (28 Kills, 1 Block, 23 Digs, 3 Assists, 13 Aces); Ava Valinotti, Sr. (1 Kill, 53 Digs, 3 Assists, 17 Aces)

Key Graduates: Brianna Kailas (17 Kills, 167 Digs, 9 Assists, 39 Aces); Riley Salus (2 Kills, 2 Digs, 82 Assists, 5 Aces); Gabriella Smith (40 Kills, 23 Blocks, 6 Digs, 3 Assists, 4 Aces)

Quick Overview: Middletown North is still looking to find their footing in their fourth season as Shore Conference Girls Volleyball program and are hoping 2023 can be a breakthrough campaign. The Lions are filled with senior presence who have been there since the beginning. Sophomore Carly Christiani comes in looking to turn herself into one of the Shore’s best after her breakout freshman year. If the Lions can stay afloat early on, the season could prove to be quite the success for Middletown North.



Long Branch

2022 Season: 2-17 overall; 1-11 A North

Head Coach: Nemeil Navarro

Key Returners: Josselyn Cantres, Jr. (4 Kills, 21 Digs, 27 Assists, 12 Service Points, 8 Aces); Lynia Dixson, Jr. (14 Kills, 28 Digs, 21 Service Points, 9 Aces); Maya Moses, Sr. (4 Kills, 1 Block, 4 Digs, 1 Assist, 28 Service Points, 7 Aces); Raphaella Pessoa, Jr.; Kimi Sayson, Jr.

Key Graduates: Jessie De Lucia (3 Kills, 19 Digs, 8 Assists, 22 Service Points, 11 Aces); Cameron Frantz (39 Kills, 45 Digs, 20 Assists, 20 Service Points, 17 Aces); Yara Gonzalez Guevara (57 Kills, 29 Blocks, 31 Digs, 8 Assists, 17 Service Points, 16 Aces); Julia Kovacs (6 Kills, 2 Blocks, 5 Digs, 1 Assist, 1 Service Point)

Quick Overview: The Green Wave are looking to have their first .500 season in over 15 years. Long Branch has won 16 matches over the last five years, with their best season coming in 2020 with a 5-9 record under head coach Nemeil Navarro. The losses of Cameron Frantz and Yara Gonzalez Guevara will make this task taller, but juniors Josselyn Cantres and Lynia Dixson look to prove otherwise. After gelling comfortably with last year’s group, these two will look to take Long Branch to the next level in 2023.

More From Shore Sports Network