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2023 Class A South Girls Volleyball Preview: Sweet Southern Skies on Top to Open up Season with a Division Looking for Vengeance

Over the course of the last four seasons, Head Coach Eric Maxwell has led the Southern Regional Rams to 101 wins and multiple championships throughout. Southern comes into 2023 after a 31-1 season and returns all but three stars after winning the Shore Conference Tournament and being two sets away from winning the South Jersey Group IV Championship. While the Rams start as the clear-cut favorite in the entire shore, teams like Toms River South and Brick Township are looking to make noise and problems throughout. Toms River North is returning a strong core which could provide noise within the division and shore as well. With that being said, we dive into our last preview for the girls fall volleyball season and get underway.

(TEAMS LISTED IN PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH)

Southern Regional  

2022 Season: 31-1 overall; 14-0 A South; A South Divisional Champions; Shore Conference Tournament Champions; South Jersey Group IV Finalists

Head Coach: Eric Maxwell

Key Returners: Baleigh Adams, Jr. (9 Digs, 23 Assists, 7 Service Points, 1 Ace); Emily Brunatti, Jr. (134 Digs, 6 Assists, 125 Service Points, 28 Aces); Sarah Capone, Sr. (161 Kills, 7 Blocks, 39 Digs, 2 Service Points); Liliana Davis, Sr. (7 Digs, 16 Service Points, 6 Aces); Bryn Hagen, Jr. (65 Kills, 21 Blocks, 37 Digs, 6 Assists, 130 Service Points, 30 Aces); Jordyn Hamlin, Sr. (283 Kills, 11 Blocks, 206 Digs, 7 Assists, 152 Service Points, 61 Aces); Ava Pirrello, Jr. (18 Digs, 13 Service Points, 3 Aces); Molly Regulski, Sr (20 Kills, 10 Blocks, 87 Digs, 624 Assists, 159 Service Points, 33 Aces); Leah Silva, Sr. (91 Kills, 16 Blocks, 20 Digs); Jessica Smart, Jr. (93 Kills, 32 Blocks, 13 Digs, 2 Assists); Madeline Iorio, Jr.; Ashley Piserchia, Sr.; Sofia Torres, Sr.

Key Graduates: Anna Malandro (246 Digs, 28 Assists, 214 Service Points, 66 Aces); Kaya Nascimento (124 Digs, 9 Assists, 158 Service Points, 31 Aces); Lacey Waldron (7 Kills, 13 Digs, 6 Service Points, 1 Ace)

Quick Overview: The Rams of Southern Regional ran rampant through the entire Shore Conference all season long, going undefeated in the A-South and winning the Shore Conference Tournament. Eric Maxwell’s squad also played teams like Cherokee and Williamstown in the regular season to get them prepared for the state tournament. With being two sets away from winning South Jersey Group IV, there’s a lot of flair and vengeance returning to this program. Molly Regulski may be the Shore Conference’s best player, coming into the season after recording her 1000th career assist last season. There is incredible depth throughout, ranging from Emily Brunatti to Bryn Hagen to Jordyn Hamlin. Southern is a team full of talents wherever you look. It’s going to be extremely difficult for any team not just in the shore, but in the state to take down this program. 

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Toms River South

2022 Season: 16-9 overall; 9-5 A South; Shore Conference Tournament Second Round; South Jersey Group III Semifinalists

Head Coach: Kimberly Williams

Key Returners: Morgan Adams, Sr. (52 Kills, 24 Blocks, 45 Digs, 2 Assists, 14 Aces); Kaitlynn Bonilla, Sr. (15 Kills, 25 Blocks, 13 Digs, 8 Aces); Sofia D'arcangelo, So. (25 Kills, 2 Blocks, 54 Digs, 2 Assists, 25 Aces); Giana Denino, So. (29 Kills, 1 Block, 5 Digs, 5 Aces); Jordyn Lynch, Sr. (25 Kills, 1 Block, 106 Digs, 327 Assists, 41 Aces); Annabella Reynolds, Jr.; Claudia Weber, Jr.

Key Graduates: Nashaly Aimarino (96 Kills, 1 Block, 83 Digs, 5 Assists, 33 Aces); Paige Luyster (1 Block, 75 Digs, 1 Assist); Cameron McEwan (2 Kills, 294 Digs, 40 Assists, 23 Aces); Jordan Motyka (173 Kills, 11 Blocks, 115 Digs, 5 Assists, 31 Aces)

Quick Overview: Coach Kimberly Williams and the Indians of Toms River South bring back a formidable core that helped guide this program all the way to the South Jersey Group III Semifinals last fall. Losing kills leader in Jordyn Motyka will be a replacement that will be guided by assists leader Senior Jordyn Lynch. Lynch had a prolific junior campaign, being third on the team in digs as well. Sophomores Sofia D’arcangelo and Giana Denino got significant playing time last fall, which will only increase the run that could be in store for the Indians. Jordyn Lynch also has seniors Morgan Adams and Kaitlynn Bonilla to help guide all fronts on the court. Some shoes need to be filled early, but with all components gelled together, a special fall could be on the horizon for Toms River South. 

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Toms River North

2022 Season: 11-6 overall; 10-4 A South; Shore Conference Tournament Second Round

Head Coach: Christina Ribaudo

Key Returners: Riley Budenas, Sr. (14 Kills, 3 Blocks, 114 Digs, 250 Assists, 59 Service Points, 19 Aces); Callie Kammerman, Sr. (21 Digs, 8 Assists, 2 Service Points); Kaila Koretzky, Sr. (1 Kill, 144 Digs, 16 Assists, 66 Service Points, 21 Aces); Darlyn Neyra, Jr. (77 Kills, 14 Blocks, 34 Digs, 4 Assists, 38 Service Points, 25 Aces); Arianna Pullaro, Jr. (47 Kills, 1 Block, 60 Digs, 1 Assist, 19 Service Points, 20 Aces); Audrey Stolfe, Jr. (4 Kills, 75 Digs, 1 Assist, 25 Service Points, 10 Aces); Priscilla Weis, Sr. (30 Digs, 23 Service Points, 2 Aces)

Key Graduates: Chloe Dyson (110 Kills, 2 Blocks, 84 Digs, 4 Assists, 39 Service Points, 3 Aces); Elizabeth Trella (58 Kills, 36 Blocks, 8 Digs, 3 Assists, 5 Service Points, 2 Aces); Bianca Valeo (45 Digs, 12 Service Points, 5 Aces); Abby Youngblood (8 Kills, 5 Blocks, 22 Digs, 1 Assist, 25 Service Points, 7 Aces)

Quick Overview: The Mariners of Toms River North come into the fall with their leaders in assists, digs, service points and aces back. Senior Riley Budenas recorded 250 assists last fall in a strong 11-6 run for Coach Ribaudo’s team. Senior Kaila Koretzky paved the way with 144 digs and was on all ends of the court. While she led in digs, she also led in service points with 66. Junior Darlyn Neyra comes into the fall with the Mariners hottest hand, leading the team with 25 aces last fall. Chloe Dyson and Elizabeth Trella helped Coach Ribaudo build the team that stands for the fall. With a plethora of returning players and a team that had a promising 2022 campaign, the Mariners have an opportunity to make a deep run into the fall within the Jersey Shore.

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Central Regional

2022 Season: 10-11 overall; 6-8 A South

Head Coach: Jeff Mangold

Key Returners: Grace Ciaburri, Sr. (29 Kills, 2 Blocks, 19 Digs, 3 Assists, 12 Service Points, 10 Aces); Nadine Ciltepe, Sr. (13 Kills, 1 Block, 138 Digs, 64 Assists, 62 Service Points, 35 Aces); Alexandra DalliCardillo, Sr. (100 Kills, 2 Blocks, 86 Digs, 4 Assists, 72 Service Points, 44 Aces); Madison Lenox, Sr. (112 Kills, 2 Blocks, 106 Digs, 5 Assists, 45 Service Points, 25 Aces); Kate O'Blek, Jr. (16 Kills, 3 Blocks, 64 Digs, 187 Assists, 40 Service Points, 37 Aces); Natalie Pagano, Sr. (1 Kill, 42 Digs, 2 Assists, 24 Service Points, 12 Aces); Grace Serpica, Sr. (35 Kills, 17 Blocks, 18 Digs, 2 Assists, 14 Service Points, 9 Aces); Halee Smentkowski, Jr. (60 Kills, 13 Blocks, 9 Digs)

Key Graduates: Shay Bevins (3 Kills, 39 Digs, 19 Assists, 19 Service Points, 9 Aces); Gabriella Schwochert (25 Kills, 4 Blocks, 56 Digs, 57 Assists, 6 Service Points, 1 Ace); Morgan Sorrentino (3 Kills, 102 Digs, 9 Assists, 25 Service Points, 12 Aces)

Quick Overview: Coach Mangold’s squad started off on a tough note, going 4-10 over their first 14 games last fall. A resilient group ended up winning six straight before losing a tough first round matchup in the state tournament against Cherry Hill East. Central Regional returns seniors Madison Lenox and Grace Serpica, in which Lenox led the team in kills and Serpica led the team in blocks. Central Regional has a star in the making back for her junior season in Kate O’Blek, who led the team in assists last fall. O’Blek proved to be a monumental reason on why the Golden Eagles ended the season on such a high note. With the amount of seniors back for the fall and players like O’Blek entering the prime of her high school career, Coach Mangold and Central Regional could be generating a lot of buzz early on.

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Toms River East

2022 Season: 8-11 overall; 6-8 A South; Shore Conference Tournament First Round; South Jersey Group III Quarterfinalists

Head Coach: Gregg Maskale

Key Returners: Ava Casales, Sr. (29 Kills, 11 Blocks, 81 Digs, 274 Assists, 30 Aces); Adriana Cruz, Jr. (3 Kills, 17 Digs, 2 Aces); Valerie Marroquin, Sr. (3 Kills, 99 Digs, 10 Assists); Sheila Nelson, Sr. (3 Kills, 51 Digs)

Key Graduates: Claudia Cosme (131 Kills, 176 Digs, 10 Assists, 23 Aces); Angie Karwan (2 Kills, 69 Digs, 3 Assists, 14 Aces); Ieva Laurinaitis (65 Kills, 2 Blocks, 116 Digs, 3 Assists, 20 Aces); Claire Prahl (57 Kills, 1 Block, 54 Digs, 1 Assist, 27 Aces); Sophia Romana (27 Kills, 3 Blocks, 24 Digs, 2 Assists); Ava Tatulli (14 Kills, 21 Digs, 1 Assist, 16 Aces)

Quick Overview: Coach Maskale has their team leader in Ava Casales returning for her final season at Toms River East, after leading the Raiders in both assists and blocks. She has seniors Valerie Marroquin and Sheila Nelson to help her out on the court, as both have a veteran presence to them. Adriana Cruz has an opportunity to break out as a Shore Conference star after some significant playing time last fall. Claudia Cosme and Ieva Laurinaitis left a gap for Casales and the Raiders to fill. After Casales’ junior season, Coach Maskale and the Raiders of Toms River East have a lot of high hopes for the upcoming season.

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Jackson Memorial

2022 Season: 12-14 overall; 3-11 A South; Central Jersey Group III Semifinalists

Head Coach: Kaitlyn Wells

Key Returners: Julia Cruz, Sr. (23 Kills, 1 Block, 59 Digs, 6 Assists, 79 Service Points, 24 Aces); Yasmin Palma, So. (48 Digs, 1 Assist); Alexandra Santos, Jr. (79 Kills, 49 Digs, 2 Assists, 65 Service Points, 26 Aces); Sydney Savage, So. (13 Kills, 36 Digs, 6 Assists, 21 Service Points, 13 Aces); Lacey Trautwein, Jr. (45 Kills, 23 Blocks, 13 Digs, 4 Assists, 62 Service Points, 16 Aces)

Key Graduates: Elizabeth Chan (233 Kills, 2 Blocks, 115 Digs, 3 Assists, 69 Service Points, 34 Aces); Fiona Llolla (28 Kills, 10 Blocks, 77 Digs, 322 Assists, 129 Service Points, 49 Aces); Kamile Makselyte (20 Kills, 13 Blocks, 1 Dig, 1 Service Point); Kaelynn Nagle (17 Kills, 3 Blocks, 11 Digs, 2 Assists, 71 Service Points, 33 Aces)

Quick Overview: The Jaguars of Jackson Memorial had quite the rollercoaster ride last fall. After starting the season 4-9, Coach Wells and the squad buckled down and showed the resiliency of the program, winning eight of their last 13 games. The Jaguars were able to gain and win a home game in the first round of states against an up-and-coming Middletown South program. They traveled to Moorestown and upset them in three sets. Their magical season came to an end in the Central Jersey Group III Semifinals against Princeton. While their leaders in kills and assists in Elizabeth Chan and Fiona Llolla have graduated, Sophomores Yasmin Palma and Sydney Savage look to become that new duo that takes over and brings the Jaguars to extreme heights. Junior Lacey Trautwein returns as the teams leader in blocks, looking to turn her sophomore surge into a junior jubilation. There’s strong talent with experience all around. It’s a matter of how quickly the gaps of Chan and Llolla will be filled for Jackson Memorial.

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Brick Memorial

2022 Season: 4-19 overall; 0-14 A South; Central Jersey Group III Semifinalists

Head Coach: Tom Trembulak

Key Returners: Isabella Cottrell, Jr. (7 Kills, 105 Digs, 2 Assists, 33 Service Points, 15 Aces); Delaney Cromen, Jr. (37 Kills, 1 Block, 76 Digs, 3 Assists, 78 Service Points, 28 Aces); Chaeli McDonald, Sr. (1 Kills, 29 Digs); Isabella McKelvey, Jr. (43 Kills, 20 Blocks, 65 Digs, 261 Assists, 102 Service Points, 48 Aces); Brianna Murphy, Jr. (15 Kills, 4 Blocks, 71 Digs, 43 Service Points, 16 Aces)

Key Graduates: Jenna Akins (52 Kills, 21 Blocks, 8 Digs, 5 Assists); Averie Barneman (6 Kills, 87 Digs, 2 Assists, 53 Service Points, 32 Aces); Silvana Bravo (1 Kill, 24 Digs, 4 Service Points); Madalyn Kiesche (87 Kills, 35 Blocks, 59 Digs, 3 Assists, 60 Service Points, 20 Aces); Laci Klayman (1 Kill, 3 Digs, 23 Assists, 4 Service Points); Kimani Nix (70 Kills, 9 Blocks, 13 Digs, 1 Service Point); Kelly Piciullo (10 Kills, 1 Block, 16 Digs, 12 Service Points, 4 Aces); Abigail Szuba (33 Kills, 34 Blocks, 13 Digs, 4 Assists, 25 Service Points, 15 Aces)

Quick Overview: The Mustangs of Brick Memorial were 2-18 heading into the state tournament last fall. Then, a 0-0 season started back up. Coach Trembulak’s squad went on the road and defeated cross-town rival Brick Township in the first round of states. The Mustangs galloped to Exit 109 and defeated Shore Conference rival Red Bank Regional in the quarterfinals before being bested by Colts Neck in the semi’s. Junior Isabella McKelvey turned into a shining star for the Shore Conference last fall, leading the Mustangs in assists, service points and aces. Juniors Isabella Cottrell and Delaney Cromen proved to be major pieces of the puzzle during their late-season run, as they come in to take over with McKelvey. After the strong ending to last season, there’s a lot of promise and belief brewing at Brick Memorial. 

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Brick Township

2022 Season: 17-8 overall; 8-6 A South; Shore Conference Tournament Quarterfinalist

Head Coach: Tim Puglisi

Key Returners: Abby Anfuso, Sr (1 Dig, 1 Ace); Clare Ashe, Sr. (5 Kills, 2 Blocks, 1 Dig, 2 Aces); Marissa Witter, Sr. (1 Kill, 41 Digs, 1 Assist)

Key Graduates: Isabella Campione (47 Kills, 19 Blocks, 10 Digs, 2 Assists, 7 Service Points, 18 Aces); Lilly Duggan (83 Kills, 1 Block, 200 Digs, 2 Assists, 4 Service Points, 25 Aces); Lilly Erdman (60 Kills, 4 Blocks, 27 Digs, 3 Assists, 2 Service Points, 31 Aces); Paulina Flores (4 Kills, 302 Digs, 22 Assists); Skyler Freschi (22 Kills, 5 Blocks, 8 Digs, 18 Aces); Gabby Kaminski (27 Kills, 1 Block, 101 Digs, 343 Assists, 23 Service Points, 80 Aces); Hailey O'Neill (128 Kills, 35 Blocks, 65 Digs, 3 Assists, 21 Service Points, 46 Aces); Sarah Vannucchi (43 Kills, 176 Digs, 3 Assists, 9 Service Points, 19 Aces); Rhianon Wohlrab (1 Kill, 72 Digs, 9 Assists)

Quick Overview: Head Coach Tim Puglisi has a tall task coming into the fall after losing nine major components in a 17-win season. Brick Township returns three seniors in Abby Anfuso, Clare Ashe and Marissa Witter, who all helped contribute to their successes last season. Coach Puglisi was able to transform a 2021 team from a one-win program into a 17-win program last fall. There will be plenty of new faces ready to help continue the successes that Brick Township has seen over the years. It all starts with their three seniors that gave it everything just a year ago.

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