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’Canes look to improve

Improvement should be in order for Liberty’s volleyball team this spring.

Coming off a 5-11 season last year, fourth year head coach Mike Zile brings back a group that took their lumps last year, but have put the time in the offseason to hopefully provide different results in 2023.

“We have a large group of returners coming back that put a lot of time into playing over the offseason,” said Zile. “Our serve receive is much improved and our serving keeps getting better. The players are putting a lot of time in to improve their hitting and their overall game. The special part of this large group is that these guys are all friends, they’re athletic, good students, and just generally enjoyable to be around.”

Returning back for the Hurricanes this year are seniors Elden Campbell (MH); Matt Gonzalez (Libero); Khalife Wadlington (MH) and Nate Yelinko (Opposite).

Juniors include Cristian Matos (Setter) and Adam Mittl (OH). Mittl was just recognized as AVCA Boys Volleyball High Riser as one of the top players in the nation.

Other varsity players this season include Joel Morgan (senior); Tim Carnes (senior); Kavon Johnson (senior); Chastin Bullard (senior); Connor McLaughlin (junior); Ethan Roan (junior); Bryce Fenstermaker (junior); Weston Greer (junior); Jorge Talavera (senior); Jayden Rumelhart (junior); Gavin Wachinski (sophomore) and Frank Benedetto (freshman).

“Adam will be a top player in the league,” Zile said. “Adam grew a couple inches and is now 6’3”, jumps really well, and is very powerful with his front row swing and jump serve. Cristian Matos and Adam have both been contributing to varsity since freshman year. Cristian is a junior as well and will be someone to watch at setter. Matt Gonzalez has been anchoring down floor defense and passing as Libero. We’ve got a number of players that can emerge as key hitters. Elden Campbell and Khalife Wadlington are both poised to have breakout years in the middle.”

With the experience and talent coming back for Liberty, playoff aspirations are firmly in the crosshairs.

“The key will be pushing each other to improve,” said Zile. “I think we’ve got a high ceiling with the level of talent that we have. We will see by the Koller Classic with how we are progressing toward playoff contention. If all goes well we should be a contender for postseason.”

Liberty split their first two matches of the season, dropping three games to Parkland, but then sweeping Easton. The ‘Canes have Whitehall and Easton on tap this week.