In his first four years at the helm of the Mountain Valley, Ryan Casey worked with a large, talented group of players from their freshman year through their senior year, which culminated with a 16-3 season and a playoff appearance.
That group is now gone.
“All nine of those graduates had a significant role,” Casey said.
The Mountain Valley coaches also tried to prepare for the Class of 2017’s departure, and are counting on this year’s crop of seniors — Emma Casey, Brooke Carver, Alyvia Lee, Amanda Petrie — can provide the leadership to keep the Falcons playing at a playoff level.
“We really look to them to be leaders and help our kids handle how challenging the season can get and surviving the highs and lows,” Casey said.
Along with the seniors and junior post Courtney Carrier, the Falcons will rely heavily on underclassmen: sophomores Avery Sevigny, Saydie Garbarini and Kierstyn Lyons will play a lot, and freshman Rylee Sevigny, who is expected to handle the point guard duties.
Among the players lost to graduation was Ashley Russell, who was second in the Mountain Valley Conference at 15.8 points per game, and Liza White, who averaged 10.8, which was eighth in the conference. Ergo, this year’s team will put even more emphasis than usual focus to the defensive end.
“That will keep us in games while we’re trying to identify an offensive identity,” Casey said.
Coach: Ryan Casey (fifth year)
Conference: Mountain Valley; Class: B South
Last year’s results: 16-3 (lost in region quarterfinals)
Returning athletes: Seniors — Emma Casey, Brooke Carver, Alyvia Lee, Amanda Petrie; Sophomores — Avery Sevigny, Saydie Garbarini.
Key losses: Liza White, Ashley Russell, Emily Billings, Emily Laubauskas, Julia Perry, Abby Mazza, Chelsea Allison, Grace Briggs.
Promising newcomers: Juniors — Courtney Carrier, Leigha Carrier, Taylor Henry; Sophomore — Kierstyn Lyons; Freshman — Rylee Sevigny.