Cuthbertson Volleyball Looking To Reload

A Cuthbertson volleyball player prepares to attempt a kill during a recent practice.

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Versatility and talent will be a strength for the Cuthbertson High volleyball team this season.

Head coach Catie Montoya has been tinkering with the lineup since the start of preseason drills and that process may continue the first few weeks of the season as the Cavaliers look to return to the state volleyball tournament.

Cuthbertson, which advanced to the second round at the Class 3A State Volleyball Championships a year ago, lost several players to graduation while several others moved away. But Montoya is confident that the Cavaliers have the talent to be a force in the Southern Carolina Conference

“We had a productive preseason,” Montoya said. “This year, we have to be a little creative with our positions and lineups. There are a lot good pieces. It is just a matter of getting everything to fit. We are going to have to move a few players to different positions. We talked to the girls and they have a great attitude. They want to do what is best for the team.

“I’m very excited about the potential of this team. I am excited to watch them all gel together. We are going to have options, and I like having options.”

Senior Mariel Nash had 245 digs and 32 aces in 2016 but she may be in a new spot this fall.

“She is going to be one of the ones that we are switching,” Montoya said. “I expect her to make an impact just like she did last year.”

Junior Mikayla Goodall had 111 kills last season while classmate Teagan Guerra had 149 kills a year ago.

“I think they will have an even better year this year,” Montoya said. “Mikayla is pretty much set as our outside hitter. Mikayla is one of our power hitters. Teagan, we are moving her around to see where she can have the most impact. Teagan definitely needs to be out there on the court.”

Senior middle hitter Samantha Spinner also had a strong season last year with 134 kills and 35 aces.

“We knew she was going to come in there and play middle,” Montoya said. “I’m looking for her to step up in her leadership ability. This is her fourth year. She is experienced and she is smart.”

Senior Jillian Maul and junior Emma Bair both bring talent to setter and both will see extensive playing time. Maul had 552 assists last season.

“They both have different strengths and weaknesses but I am really happy with having options,” Montoya said. “We have two good setters and we will be able to use them both during the season.”

The Southern Carolinas Conference will be even stronger this fall but Montoya is looking forward to the challenge.

‘I’m excited and I am looking forward to the new conference,” Montoya said. “I don’t think Cuthbertson should be counted out of anything. This is my fourth seasons and the seniors here started with me. I think we will be competitive. I look forward to the change.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at