2022 Portland Interscholastic League Fall Sports Preview

It is that time of the year again: Spring sports are wrapping up, the summer grind is about to start, and fall sports are only about 2 1/2 months away. There will be previews of each classification in volleyball, soccer, and cross country this summer, with some being more detailed than others depending on the amount of information available. Let’s kick off the countdown to fall sports with previewing the Portland Interscholastic League in volleyball, soccer, and cross country.

Volleyball

2021 Co-Champions: Ida B. Wells and Grant

2021 Athlete of the Year: Avery Fraser, Ida B. Wells

Top Returners: Lydia Steward (Grant), Isabel Melean-Williams (Roosevelt), Carly Straub (Wells), Macey Pine (McDaniel), Nyah Johnson, Jr (McDaniel), Hope Hoesing (Franklin)

Benson: 0-19 (0-16) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 4

Head Coach Michaela McNairy has been with the program since 2017, navigating the program through the rough waters of building with a school that traditionally isn’t a volleyball one. She has been committed to this team regardless of how the records reflect on the floor, a major sign of leadership and stability that is needed for the Lady Techsters. In 2022, the goal is to pick up a few wins and build up on their fundamentals, led by their only seniors Eliyah Merrill and Hannah Leyon McCoy.

Roosevelt: 6-13 (4-12) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 7

The Roughriders had their best season since 2018, improving on their lone win season from the spring to a six-win campaign in the fall. Roosevelt is led by second team PIL selection Isabel Melean-Williams, but they have a challenge of replacing seven seniors from the 2021 roster. Melean-Williams is joined by fellow middle blocker Havana Alonso, forming a tandem to put up a brick wall defensively for the Roughriders. Caroline Ongrung is a youthful setter that will look to grow into a primary, full-time role for Roosevelt, a big role to fill into for the returning sophomore.

Franklin: 6-13 (4-12) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 7

Heading into this season, the Lightning expect to return a core team in the hitting, libero, middle block, and setter spots, forming a reasonable expectation that Franklin will be just as decent as 2021 or even slightly better. Keep an eye on junior Hope Hoesing, who has been an indispensable member of the team with her flexibility with moving positions on the floor. Aubrey Marsh and Audrey Lite also going to be the outside hitting tandem to lead the Lightning this fall as well.

Jefferson: 5-12 (5-10) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 10

It’ll be the dark horse to make some noise in the PIL this fall: The Jefferson Democrats. This program has been in the gutter for a few seasons, but they broke through with their best year since 2015 this past fall. Now, they could surpass expectations and make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, a task seemingly realistic with a whopping 10 returners headlining this roster, including six sophomores led by Chauncey Andersen, Keymorah Johnson, and middle blocking sisters Carmela Nunez and Leila Nunez.

McDaniel: 7-11 (7-8) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 10

Another seasoned team returning to the PIL in 2022, the Mountain Lions found themselves as the best of the rest, finishing fifth in the league and staying competitive with the top four in the PIL. An all-second team PIL selection, Macey Pine will be the senior leader into the fall from the middle blocking position, pairing with fellow senior Tyler Brill. Nyah Johnson is an emerging outside hitting threat for McDaniel, a rising star in a league that is shedding so many senior stars from the 2021 season. There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic at McDaniel, it might be a return trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Cleveland: 16-11 (10-6) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 5

The 2021 squad was loaded and got the Lady Warriors to their highest point since the 2018 season, which was the last time they made the state playoffs. They fell one spot short of the playoffs last fall, a heartbreaker for a team that looked consistent all season long and was on the verge of breaking through. This year looks to be a retooling season, anchored by returning seniors Selaam Ferdig and Lilly Emrich. The Lady Warriors are healthy in the hitting and setter departments, but blocking and libero are likely to be complete overhauls. If their development system is producing talent, the Lady Warriors will be back in 2023 to fight towards the top again.

Lincoln: 13-9 (13-3) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 9

The Cardinals are on a tear, linking together a playoff bid every year since 2013. Gone are all-league selections Ashley Siegel and Jillian Jendsen, but Lincoln has a core roster of nine headed back to them in 2022. Being perfectly honest, replacing Siegel as the libero seems to be the only real hurdle to figure out this summer for them, as Sonia Vivina Jimena looks to fill in the shoes of Jendsen as the main setter. Other than libero, every other area looks pretty good for them and Head Coach Shailah Ricketts has to be very pleased about that. Look for that playoff streak to extend into 2023 for Lincoln.

Grant: 18-6 (14-2) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 8

Coming off a year as PIL co-champs with Ida B. Wells, the Generals are coming into the fall with an expectation to remain at the top. Lydia Steward returns as an all-league selection and will patrol the middle with Leilani Williams. M’Ryah Kelley returns as the main setter, Rachel Peterson will take charge of the outside, and there are plenty of other girls that will look to fill in the rest of the spots. It might take some time to get the chemistry down, but there is enough time to figure things out before the season. The Generals are likely playoff-bound again, continuing a streak that stretches back to 2009.

Ida B. Wells: 10-8 (9-2) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 9

Picking up a league title in the fall, Ida B. Wells has an interesting bag to deal with: Losing seven seniors, including all-state selection Avery Fraser, yet returning nine varsity players led by all-league selection Carly Straub. This means that there are plenty of positions up for grabs, making for a competitive summer to see who ends up being in the lineup this fall for the Guardians. This will be a great situation to keep an eye on this summer at Ida B. Wells, and it can only benefit their chemistry and adjustment to the new season.

Soccer

2021 Champion: Grant

2021 Athlete of the Year: Elle Frazier, Grant

Top Returners: Ella Unflat (Ida B. Wells), Caroline Burchard (Cleveland), Ella Callanan (Franklin), Maleigha Canaday-Elliott (McDaniel), Alana Harry (Lincoln), Hannah Bradley (Ida B. Wells), Lola Pierce (Cleveland), Millie Bamer (Cleveland), Maggie McGair (Grant), Kennedy Fletcher (Lincoln), Leeza Burke (Lincoln), Aimee Poole (Lincoln), Eva Thomsen-Marr (Lincoln), Sarah Kane (Lincoln)

Benson: No Team in 2021

Franklin: 1-13 (0-6) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 8

Many things didn’t go right in 2021 for the Lightning, but they found a breakout star in the midfield with junior Ella Callanan, who earned herself well-deserved first team league honors last season. There’s going to be plenty of turnover from losing 14 seniors and anything can be churned out from this team in terms of a lineup this season. Head Coach Diana Diaz-Diurych certainly has her work cut out for her in 2022, attempting to build up a struggling Franklin program.

Roosevelt: 4-8-2 (1-4-1) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 9

The Roughriders had some flashes of potential last season, a high point coming with a draw against a top-15 Ida B. Wells squad in a higher scoring 3-3 affair against the Guardians. All-league selections Gema Granados and Finley Heslam are gone, presenting Roosevelt with the task of replacing them on the field with what appears to be a youthful roster this fall.

McDaniel: 5-9 (2-4) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 17

Plenty of varsity experience is returning to the Mountain Lions this fall, a good looking 17 players headed back to the field for them from the 2021 roster. Their senior goalkeeper Ava Arias is graduated but the defense is getting a foundation piece back in all-league selection Maleigha Canaday-Elliott. There’s plenty of pieces back, but it’ll be hard to replace Arias, along with offensive cores Maya Bilyeu-King and Lauryn Devenport. However, with that many returning players, it is hard to bet against them at least being as good as last season.

Cleveland: 4-10-1 (3-3) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 16

The Lady Warriors were the PIL surprise in 2021, finding themselves sneaking into the state playoffs with an at-large bid and facing Lake Oswego. Even more promising, Cleveland gave the Lakers a battle in their first round pairing, bringing hope that they can go even further this season. The Lady Warriors have a solid duo on offense that made a name for themselves in 2021: Millie Bamer and Lola Pierce. Caroline Burchard and Alyssa Robinson are departed, leaving Barner and Pierce to take command on the offense for Cleveland. A plus side for the Lady Warriors is they have stability in sophomore goalkeeper Lloy Bartolotti, who honestly impressed with what she was able to do in key games last year. Its hard to say if they head back to the playoffs, but you can’t help but think that it’ll be close.

Ida B. Wells: 6-5-5 (3-1-2) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 16

You can honestly fancy how good this team might’ve been if they could’ve put up some nice offensive numbers, as their defense was nothing short of outstanding last season. Well, the Guardians have a crack at stabilizing their offense and improving in 2022, returning key pieces Ella Unflat and Hannah Bradley to the team this year. Their defensive cornerstone Daphne Reid is lost to graduation, but they return most of their pieces from last year, providing optimism that the playoffs are once again in their destiny. If the offense can spark together this year and the defense stays solid, there’s no telling how far they can go in 2022.

Lincoln: 11-5-1 (5-1) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 13

Where do I start with Lincoln? There are many key pieces returning: Eva Thomsen-Marr, Alana Harry, Leeza Burke, Aimee Poole, Sarah Kane, and Kennedy Fletcher. There are also some tough departures: Sedona Anderson, Greta Halvorson, and Lola Conopio-Mora, all of whom fall on the defensive side of things. There’s no doubt about the offense being ready, but there are some questions on defense, particularly the goalkeeper position left open by Conopio-Mora. Lincoln will be good and no one questions that, but the question is…. how good? We’ll find out pretty early on.

Grant: 17-1-1 (5-0-1) in 2021, Projected Varsity Returners: 20

The defending 6A champions aren’t retooling or rebuilding, they are reloading for a crack at back-to-back titles in 2022. Many big names are gone: The Frazier sisters, Abby Winkler, Minami Powers, and Caprial Loescher, all major pieces of that 2021 state title team. However, take this food for thought: They return a senior goalkeeper in Michaela McCollum, seven midfielders, seven defenders, and four forwards from the 2021 squad. Honestly, finding their offensive groove without Elle Frazier will be the biggest challenge, but the rest of the team looks pretty firm and unwavering. If they click on offense and do what they do defensively, the Generals will be 6A contenders again in 2022.

Cross Country

2021 Champion: Lincoln

2021 Athlete of the Year: Kaiya Robertson, Franklin

Top Returners: Kiera Saavedra (Lincoln), Eva Novy-Hildesley (Lincoln), Josie Fale (Ida B. Wells), Petra Schuster (Ida B. Wells), Iris Stasiuk (Cleveland), Olivia Kozitza (Ida B. Wells), Marin Kauffman-Smith (Franklin), Amelia Campbell (Grant)

Roosevelt: 6th in the PIL in 2021

For the Riders, they’ll begin 2022 looking to move up the ranks of the PIL after finishing at the bottom in 2021. Mira Danish returns as the 12th-best in the PIL from last season and is the bright spot from Roosevelt’s squad.

Cleveland: 5th in the PIL in 2021

After waiting her turn in 2021 and improving personal best times, Iris Stasiuk looks to make some noise in the PIL, returning as the fourth best in the league for 2022. Milla Carroll is also a rising star for the Warriors, knocking on the door of the Top 10 times in the PIL entering 2022.

Grant: 4th in the PIL in 2021

On paper, the Generals are actually better than fourth in the PIL, as they boast their five best athletes within the Top 21 of the league, something only Franklin and Ida B. Wells can also claim. Amelia Campbell leads the charge as the 8th-fastest returner in the PIL, while Paige Suckling finds herself within the Top 15 as well. If a few points swing their way, they could just end up in the PIL top three teams in 2022.

Franklin: 3rd in the PIL in 2021

Kaiya Robertson is gone, but there are two other Robertson’s to pair with Marin Kauffman-Smith and Gigi Bareilles. The result? A highly anticipated battle to come with Ida B. Wells, who are just slightly better in their core group but not by much. Franklin or Ida B. Wells? This will be an exciting league title race to watch this fall.

Ida B. Wells: 2nd in the PIL in 2021

With three of the six best returning athletes in 2022, this is the year for Ida B. Wells to retake the PIL crown from Lincoln. Their deep, loaded lineup of Josie Fale, Petra Schuster, Olivia Kozitza, Lilly Roller, and Jordyn Davies are all within the Top 16 of the league, making them the 2022 PIL favorite early in the season against a top-heavy Lincoln squad.

Lincoln: PIL Champions in 2021

Remember the names Kiera Saavedra and Eva Novy-Hildesley for Lincoln, they are the two best returning athletes in the PIL for 2022. Once you depart them, Reiko Nitta is the only other athlete in the Top 20 for Lincoln, exposing their lack of depth as the hurdle from allowing them to repeat as PIL champions. Saavdera and Novy-Hildesley are two of the best in 6A, so it’ll be fun to see their progression this season with the Cardinals as their teammates work hard to close the gap with Ida B. Wells.

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