Lordstown looks for another successful season in 2018

For the past three years, the Lordstown Red Devils volleyball team has seen success more than most can say.

The last three years has put the Red Devils in the Cortland District final pitted against Ashtabula St. John. Unfortunately for Lordstown, each season has ended in close losses to St. John.

The last three years it was a four-set loss in 2015, a sweep in 2016 and a close five-set loss with a 15-13 final set in 2017.

“At the beginning of the season we sit down and set goals for ourselves,” Lordstown coach JeanAnn Applegate said. “Do we want to win the league? Do we want to make a personal to do this or that? It may be about beating school records or anything like that. If we don’t make a goal then we don’t have anything to get to.”

Last year, in a very competitive Northeastern Athletic Conference, the Red Devils came up just short of Newbury for the Stripes Division title.

One of the hardest things this team will have to do is replace graduated senior Jordan Beach. For Applegate, those things don’t happen easily.

“She is a really hard person to replace,” Applegate said. “That effort that she gave for every game and practice is hard to beat. I’ve been working to train someone to fill her shoes. It is big losing Jordan. It doesn’t matter how many I lose to graduation. It can be one of eight. It doesn’t make it any easier.”

Despite the big loss with Beach, Lordstown returns a large chunk of last year’s district finals team. That includes her daughter, Kellee, Alexis Weekley and Kendall Adams back in the starting lineup.

“All of them have been a part of the team for some time,” Applegate said. “The current seniors have been a part of it for three years. It is something everyone strives for and that’s their goal. There is probably no pressure. They all play hard, but if we didn’t make it, it’s not a big deal.”

For Applegate, without goals, the team wouldn’t put itself in a position to succeed. Also, no one player in better than another in her eyes.

“All my players are important,” she said. “Not just this one or that one. Everybody is super important. Kellee is a great hitter but if we don’t have our libero and back row, we don’t win. It takes all six players on the court along with the subs that come in to win like we can.”