Aurora -- A strong mix of experience and exciting youth floods the roster for the new-look Aurora High volleyball program.
Under first-year head coach Rachael Bailes, Aurora is off to a solid 2-2 start this fall as the athletes learn a new system. Bailes succeeds Rob Cline, who held the post for one season.
Bailes, who has been a coach for eight years, returns a host of experienced athletes from a squad that went 14-10 last year and 5-5 in the challenging Chagrin Valley Conference.
"I'm really excited about this team; we are a very talented team with senior talent accompanied with young talent," said Bailes, who played at the college level at Baldwin-Wallace College and the University of Charleston.
Last season, Bailes was the freshman coach at St. Joseph Academy. Bailes previously held head coaching posts at Keystone and Parma Valley Forge, from which she graduated.
For six years, she was a coach with the Spirit Volleyball Club, a Junior Olympic team that is part of the Ohio Valley Region, under USA Volleyball.
The list of returnees has to start with senior Baylee Worth, who should be one of the top players in the CVC this year. Worth, an outside hitter, was a second team All-District 3 selection a year ago. She also made honorable mention All-CVC.
Other returning players with starting experience are senior setter Carly Cabot, senior middle hitter Sydney Sellers and junior libero Karly Mitch.
ACCORDING to Bailes, the top newcomers are sophomore Laney Mitch, junior Rachel Brandon and freshman Anastasia Gulyavskaya.
Mitch is a right-side hitter while Brandon is a middle hitter. Gulyavskaya is an outside hitter with potential as evidenced by her 10 digs and 10 kills in an early season loss to Twinsburg.
Aurora's other loss was to Nordonia, while the Greenmen beat Western Reserve Academy 25-15, 25-23, 25-15. WRA (2-3) was 16-8 in 2012.
Cabot played strong against the Pioneers with 30 assists, while Karly Mitch did some of the small things on the court, like posting 22 digs. Sellers had a shopping nine serving aces and added five solo blocks. Worth led in kills with 17.
On Aug. 27, Aurora won at Parma Normandy 25-14, 25-22, 27-25. orth recorded 18 kills while Cabot was 33 of 45 attempts on assists and added five kills. Karly Mitch had 16 digs and Sellers had 11 kills and six aces.
"If we continue to work together like we have been, we will have a very successful season," said Bailes, who has a strong serving team.
Aurora was to play Sept. 3 at Kenston and travels to Independence on Sept. 5 before hosting Chagrin Falls in CVC action on Sept. 10. The Greenmen play at CVC rival West Geauga on Sept. 12 and visit Field in non-league action on Sept. 14. All games start at 6:30 p.m.
In 2012, Aurora reached second round action of the Stow Division I sectional-district tournament.
Bailes hopes for more this post season as her Lady Greenmen squad finish the regular season with three of its last four matches at the comforts of home before the Division I postseason kicks off.