MEDINA — Joe Ortenzi’s enthusiasm for volleyball knows no bounds. The Medina coach wants to share his passion with local fans.
The inaugural Medina County Volleyball Preview — featuring six teams — will take place today at 5 p.m. at Medina High. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for the Collin Cares Cure Cancer fund.
“I want this to become an annual event, and I’m excited to see all of the talented teams and players from our county get together,” Ortenzi said. “It should be a fun evening for everyone.”
Gazette MVP Kacie Evans of Wadsworth, a University of Georgia recruit, and three-time defending district champion Brunswick are the headline attractions inside the Bee Hive.
Per OHSAA rules, each squad will play two sets against a single opponent with a 21-point cap.
“I am extremely excited Wadsworth is part of the preview,” Grizzlies middle hitter Kenzie Grice said. “We are very lucky to have multiple returning players and a lot of new talent, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we are able to compete.”
Wadsworth and Buckeye open the action with a very rare head-to-head matchup. The Grizzlies boast outside hitter Evans and three-year letterwinner Grice, while the Bucks feature dual threats Molly Galaszewski and Koral Gibson.
“It will be fun to see a number of teams, like Wadsworth, that we usually don’t play,” said Galaszewski, a junior and third-year starter. “I’m excited to see how we look.”
The Blue Devils and Highland also will get a rare look at each other in the 6 p.m. contest. Brunswick returns All-Gazette juniors Rachael Crucis and Kirsten Badowski, who are seeking their third (and the program’s fourth) consecutive trip to the Division I regionals.
“Being a part of the Medina County Preview is the first step toward a successful year,” libero Crucis said. “We have a lot of goals that we are eager to achieve.”
The host Bees and Black River round out the evening at 7. The schools have not shared a court in the rally scoring era but present an intriguing setter matchup.
Senior Erica Benson is the Pirates’ career assist leader and a two-time D-III all-district honoree. Medina junior Ashley Dwyer enters her third varsity season, but her first running a 5-1 offense.
“Expect to see a lot of Dwyer-to-(All-Gazette hitter Alyssa) Hudak kills this season,” Ortenzi said, smiling. “This is their time.”
The lone team not participating is Cloverleaf, which scheduled a multi-team scrimmage for the same date.