With six straight conference titles in tow, Apex volleyball has enough returners to aim for a seventh this year and possibly more.
The Cougars (17-4 in 2013) lost two starters from last year but only graduated three players total.
It all starts with Ally Beckman, an N&O all-Metro selection who is committed to Georgia Tech. She had 408 assists, 206 kills, 157 digs and 53 blocks.
Libero Coral Kazaroff (390 digs, 26 aces), who has one of the league’s best serves, has committed to Virginia. Seniors Anna Patrick, Maddy Comito and juniors Abigail Veit (189 kills) and Breanna Andrea (82 blocks) also return.
Holly Springs (15-6) went on a tear to finish tied for second in the SWAC, winning nine of its last 10 games.
Senior Jaclyn Brewington and Mackenzie Reaves have been important pieces to the team over the past three seasons, but Brewington tore her ACL toward the end of the regular season.
Brewington (267 assists, 196 kills, 209 digs, 51 aces) was on the all-conference first team, while Reaves (445 assists, 175 kills, 231 digs, 55 aces, 48 blocks) was on the second team. Libero Emily Moushegian is a senior, and junior Abby Redus returns as an outside hitter.
Fuquay-Varina (16-6), coming off arguably the best season in school history, returns most of its team but loses its top setter, middle blocker and libero. Maddie Sonnendecker, a junior, was second-team all-conference. Morgan Sonnendecker and middle blocker Lakeia Jones are among the top returners.
Athens Drive (12-10) was hit hard by graduation but does return second-team all-conference selection Kendall Yount. Starters Morgan Cheek, Alex Porter and Raquel Rooney also return.
Panther Creek (7-10), Green Hope (8-13) and Middle Creek (10-15) each ended last year tied at 5-9 overall in the league.
Panther Creek has a new coach and graduated just two players from last year’s team. Sydney Rush, Emily Pagan, Stephanie Jewett and Caroline Wang are the returning seniors. Middle blocker Caitlyn Della, a junior, has committed to Wake Forest.
Middle Creek only graduated one senior from a year ago. Back is senior Katie McCullough, a first-team all-conference selection. Classmates Ellie Alfers, Rachael Smith, Lauren Durham and Isabel Miller also return.
Injuries derailed Green Hope in the 2013 season. The team had gone 60-9 in the previous three seasons under coach Karl Redelfs. Middle blocker Allison O’Connor, a junior, was an all-conference pick. Senior outside hitter Margo Ruffiuex joins Haley Bidgood, an East Carolina recruit who returns from injury.
Cary (1-18) will return 12 lettermen from last year.