Cascade’s 2019 varsity volleyball team: front from left, Alyssa Koppes, Brooke Denniston, Julia Ludwig and Emily Conlin; second row, Isabelle Fransen, Jess Hoffman, Ally Hoffman, Aliyah Weber and McKenna Gehl; third row, assistant coaches Heather Scott and Amber DeSousa, Sydney Weber, Abby Welter, Lilly Trumm, Molly McElmeel, assistant coach Tiffiney Kavars and coach Mary Frake.

With three first-team selections to last year’s All-River Valley Conference list returning, the Cascade volleyball team is looking to make people sit up and take notice.

Those selections include seniors Molly McElmeel and Aliyah Weber and junior libero Brooke Denniston. They will be joined by returnees Jess Hoffman, Abby Welter and Isabelle Fransen, all seniors, for coach Mary Frake’s 12th season as head of the program.

Frake is looking to newcomers Lilly Trumm, a senior, and sophomore Ally Hoffman to compete for starting roles.

“We have a strong core of seniors back this year who saw a lot of playing time last year,” added Frake. “We have strength in our setting with Jess Hoffman and McElmeel and also have a strong defense coming back with Weber and Denniston. Welter, Franzen, Trumm and Ally Hoffman will be helping us with our hitting.”

Frake and her Cougars are working on what she said is her teams’ weakness “getting stronger with our communication on the court.”

She named West Liberty as the conference team to beat, along with Tipton, West Branch and North Cedar, but ranks her own Cougars right in that mix. “I am picking us to finish in the top three in the North division,” she said.