by Tom Utescher
In addition to the five seniors who have graduated from Germantown Academy’s 2016 volleyball team, three of last season’s underclassmen are not back on the court this year for various reasons. A major loss out of the younger group is setter Cat Polisano, who completed her junior season in 2016 but then suffered an ACL injury in preseason basketball practice. She’ll return in time for the hoops campaign this winter.
Fortunately for the Patriots, there will be a number of other seniors on the court this year, as well as younger returning players with varsity experience. Last Tuesday afternoon GA took a short shake-down cruise over to Upper Dublin High School, where the Pats participated in a multi-team scrimmage.
Regina Porter, Jenna Schumann and Alison Weber are the senior captains for the GA squad. Schumann has been an impact player on the varsity level since she was a freshman; her older sister Alaina also played and was a member of the Class of 2017.
Najah Nasir and twin sisters Emily and Sarah Lindgren are the other members of the current senior class.
Back in the libero spot is junior Shannon Topley, who is joined by her classmates Cobree Hooper and Taylor Putnam. Now a sophomore, Caitlyn Priore was the only freshman to become a varsity regular last year, and now fellow 10th-grader Kelli Ramer has stepped up to accompany her.
It was already evident during the trial run at Upper Dublin that a new ninth-grade outside hitter is going to have an immediate impact for the 2017 Patriots. Natalie Schildt comes in with club experience, a tall sturdy frame, and a pedigree; her mother played Division I college volleyball at Villanova.
Dan Sullivan is back for his fifth season as GA head coach, and fellow faculty member Brian Grady returns as an assistant. The new face on the sidelines is that of Christopher Chung, a former scholastic and collegiate volleyball player who later taught and served as assistant girls’ volleyball coach at the Taft School.