Chloe Danielson goes up for one of her school-record 375 kills during last season’s region championship game. (Photos: Mike Bitting)

When Wesley Chapel High (WCH) volleyball coach Brittany Collison looks at this season’s roster, it’s hard not to dream big. 

Not only did the Wildcats put together their best record, 19-5, in the school’s history last year, they won their first District title in 20 years, won two Regional playoff games for the first time ever and fell just one victory short of a trip to the State Final Four.

And this year’s roster? Well, it looks mighty familiar.

“I only lost three seniors from last year, so really the bulk of my team is still here,” says Collison. “It’s going to be a good year. There are high expectations, not only for me but the girls really want it. They’re all really excited.”

Eight of the 12 players return from last year’s squad, including arguably the best player in school history in senior outside hitter Chloe Danielson. The 6-foot Danielson had a school-record 375 kills in 2021, and was named Pasco County’s Player of the Year. 

She had plenty of help, however. 

(L.-r.) Brooke Ashkenase (2021 leader in digs), Chloe Danielson (kills) and Jenna Ly (assists) all return this season for Wesley Chapel High, a Region finalist last year. (Photo: Mike Bitting)

Juniors Lizzy Ekechi and Grace Korta each had more than 100 kills, and sophomore Emily Teets had 72. Senior Jenna Ly led the team in service aces and assists and junior Brooke Ashkenase led in digs and serves received.

The Wildcats have added some new firepower as well. Transfer Emma Letourneau, a 5-foot-11 junior, will make the WCH attack that much more explosive, after leading Pasco High with 198 kills last season.

“Last year, I think we did rely on Chloe a ton,” Collison says. “We are going to have a lot more options this year.”

In prepping for 2022, Collison says she has seen a lot of good signs that the Wildcats could make more history. The taste of coming so close last year has lingered throughout the offseason.

Collison said Korta and Ekechi have both grown as players, and Teets, Ly and Ashkenase have both markedly improved.

“When we came back for open gym this summer, and I saw how everyone had improved, I was like, ‘Wow, we’re going to be good,’” the coach said.

The Wildcats were traditionally one of the worst teams in Pasco County until Collison was hired in 2017. Before that, WCH had cycled through six different coaches the previous eight years.

However, Collison didn’t have immediate success. Her first two seasons at Wesley Chapel, her teams were 10-32.

Gradually, the ‘Cats started getting some standout players, starting with Jordan and Chloe Danielson. The sisters’ first season together was 2019-20, and they led WCH to a 14-11 season, the first time the program had ever registered double-digit wins. The following season, the Wildcats were 17-6 and went to the Regional playoffs for the first time since 2003, as the sisters combined for 400 kills.

Even though Jordan graduated in 2021, Collison was able to continue building her team around Chloe, thanks in part to the growth of club volleyball, which provides playing and training year-round. She says everyone on her team is a member of a club somewhere and competes year-round.

Collison has beefed up the schedule as well this year, with two high-level tournaments, in the hopes that if her team reaches the Region final again, it will be more battle-tested than it was in 2021.

“The majority of the team are kids that are go-getters, that want to get better,” she says. “They want to prove this year that this hasn’t just been a lucky two years in a row. Our goal is to win Districts first, but because we came so close last year, we are definitely looking at the State final four this season.”

Meanwhile, Cypress Creek High (CCH) also is looking for another good season. Last year, the Coyotes went 17-6, with half of those losses to Wesley Chapel. CCH made it to last year’s Class 5A, District 5 final before falling to the Wildcats, but as runner-up, still advanced to the Region quarterfinals. 

Unlike WCH, however, almost half of the Coyotes’ roster has graduated, including most of their statistical leaders. The top returners are expected to be kills and blocks leader Sadie Walker, a junior, and setter and libero Laney Brinson.

At Wiregrass Ranch High (WRH), the Bulls are coming off a 9-10 season but have one of the best all-around players in Pasco County in junior outside hitter Haley Strawser.

Strawser had 191 kills and 54 aces to lead the team in 2021, and was second in blocks and digs and third in assists.

Gianna Ginesin, Victoria Vizciano and Delaney Moran all played key roles for the Bulls last season and are expected to return this season.

Volleyball season tips off tonight, when WCH plays at Zephyrhills (7:30 p.m. start) and Cypress Creek plays at Pasco High at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23.

Wiregrass Ranch hosts Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 24.

For schedules and stats, visit and search for each school.

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