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Prep Volleyball Previews: 2014 Tribune Area Team Capsules

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Prep Volleyball Previews: 2014 Tribune Area Team Capsules
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West Central Conference

COACHES: Morgan Meyer and Quincy McNeil (first year)

2013 RECORD: 0-21, 0-13


RETURNING STARTERS: Senior setter Payton Wilner, junior setter Maree Lee, senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Moore, junior outside hitter Hannah Wilner.

KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Falcons' returning starters will need to carry the team. Hannah Wilner is a strong hitter with good arm swing and Moore is a consistent hitter. Both Payton Wilner and Maree Lee are accurate at the setter spot. Co-coach Morgan Meyer is a former Ridgewater player and she and co-coach McNeil both have years of coaching experience.



Central Minnesota Conference

COACH: Kevin Weller (8th year, 189-42)

2013 RECORD: 24-8, 6-1)

RETURNING STARTERS: Hailey Braegelman (5-9, setter/OH, So.), Kinlee Swanson (5-8, OH, Sr.), Karlee Kern (5-5, libero, Jr.), Tessa Halverson (5-5, setter, So.), Jamie Meyer (5-10, RS, Sr.), Haley Van Beck (5-7, DS, Jr.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Jaguars lost reliable talent from last year's 24-win team that lost in the Section 5A finals in 2013. But Swanson is solid all over the court, with 229 kills and 282 digs last season. She's fast and can jump. Braegelman had 569 set assists as a freshman and has led the team in assists the last two years. Kern is a good defensive player (394 digs last year). Ashley Trustheim, a 5-10, junior middle, has a good vertical and could become a force in the front row. "We will need to develop some new players quickly and play excellent defense," Weller said. "It's the first year in a long time that we won't be very tall."



West Central Conference

COACH: Shannon Schmidt (12th year overall)

2013 RECORD: 8-14, 6-7

RETURNING STARTERS: Krista Motzko (5-9, OH, Sr.), Shyanne Himley (5-9, RH, Sr.), Madison Krienke (5-4, DS, Sr.), Shaleah Schmidt (5-6, DS, Sr.), Hanna Lindblad (5-7, setter, Jr.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Motzko and Krienke were all-conference players last season and Lindblad was an all-conference Honorable Mention. But the Braves need to replace three seniors from 2013 and Taylor Laumeyer, a starting outside hitter, had offseason knee surgery and may not be back until late in the season. That means players like sophomore hitters Sophie Ascheman, Danielle Himley, Amanda Nissen and Megan Amundson will be counted on for front-row offense and defense.



West Central Conference

COACH: Brittany Keltgen (1st season)

2013 RECORD: 19-9, 11-3

RETURNING STARTERS: Allison Krause (5-8, setter, Jr.), Kiah Morse (5-8, OH, Jr.)

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Keltgen, a former BOLD player, will have her work cut out as she attempts to rebuild a 19-win team that lost some of the school's best all-around athletes. Ashley Schmitz (5-8, S/MB, Sr.) will join Krause and Morse as the foundations for the rebuild. Morse had 91 kills last season and moves to the outside, which Keltgen said is a more natural position for her. Schmitz had 228 set assists and 123 digs last year and Krause compiled 209 assists and 105 digs. "I come in with very different coaching philosophies and techniques," Keltgen said, "and from day one they have embraced them and have been willing to try anything out."



Tomahawk Conference

COACH: Sue Alstrom (32nd year, 601 wins)

2013 RECORD: 18-12, 7-1

RETURNING STARTERS: Ashley Tintes (5-7, setter, Sr.), Ashley Peterson (5-4, setter, Sr.), Kiana Johnson (5-9, MH, Jr.), Mara Olinger (5-6, libero, Sr.)

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Alstrom's team returns with an experienced core from last year's 18-win team. "The team motto is 'unfinished business,' hoping to win another conference title," Alstrom said. "We graduated several good players but we are hoping to catch people off guard." Tintes is on pace for 1,000 career set assists. Alstrom's bench is young but had good size and potential.



Camden Conference

COACH: Terrin DeBoer (2nd year at CMCS, 27-7)

2013 RECORD: 27-7, 10-1

RETURNING STARTERS: Lexi Scott 5-11, MH, Sr.), Nicole Brouwer (5-8, setter, Sr.), Natalie Brouwer (5-11, MH, Sr.), Erin Orred (5-11, RS, Sr.), Christine Mikelson (5-3, DS, Sr.), Kalley Schwitters (5-8, OH, So.)

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Scott is one of the top players in Minnesota, ending last season with 448 kills and 907 for her career. Nicole Brouwer, a relative unknown entering last season, surpassed 1,000 kills for the season. That tamdem alone would make the Bluejays a section contender. Natalie Brouwer and Orred are solid starters, and Schwitters, Mikelson, Hannah Nelson (5-8, OH, So.) and Kendra Brouwer (5-6, OH, So.) will contribute to a team that could make a run at a state tournament berth.


Fighting Saints

Camden Conference

COACH: Joquel Molenaar (3rd year, 17-30)

2013 RECORD: 10-15, 2-9

RETURNING STARTERS: Ali Krieger (5-3, libero, Sr.), Libby Wilts (5-7 MH, Sr.), Kalli Forsell (5-7, OH, Sr.), Kallee Anderson (5-11, MH, Jr.)

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Krieger, an All-State nominee, keeps points alive from her libero position, averaging almost 5 digs per game, and she's a strong attacker from the back row. Anderson had 30 solo blocks last year and will team with Forsell and Wilts to form a solid front row. Sam Gjerde, a 5-3 sophomore, will take over the setter role. "We have a strong junior class this year with mixed varsity experience, which will be vital as we bring in a young setter into the mix," Molenaar said.



Camden Conference

COACH: Jodi Tongen (first season)

2013 RECORD: 6-19, 1-10

RETURNING STARTERS: Sydney Wittnebel, Jenny Arnold, Kaitlin Connor, Morgan Croatt, Kelsey Kuechenmeister, Kelsey Miller, Kylee Larson.

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Wittnebel and Arnold will switch roles, with Wittnebel moving to outside hitter, along with Larson at outside hitter spots, and Arnold moves to setter. Morgan Croatt, a libero last year, also will take on setter duties. Connor will be back at middle hitter. Breanna Seelye, Julia Bowers, Alison Dahle, Taniah Tosel and Kelsea Lund are promising varsity players.



Wright County Conference

COACH: Darin Swenson (10th year)

2013 RECORD: 15-14, 3-7

RETURNING STARTERS: Breanna Sittig (5-6, libero, Sr.), Hannah Norlin (5-11, RH, Sr.), Mariah Hoff (5-5, OH, Sr.), Meghan Nelson (5-9, MH, Sr.), Hannah Banks (5-10, MH, Jr.), Macy Huhner (5-9, OH, So.), Brynne Wahl (5-8, setter, So.), Kyndra Beavers (5-3, OH/DS, So.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Sittig mades the Dragons go, with an aggressive defensive style and leadership presence. Huhner and Wahl started as freshmen and Swenson said he sees their growth potential as offensive players. "After going 15-14 with a very young team last year, we look to build on that experience," Swenson said. "Last year, we had six players with more than 100 kills and we look to continue loading our offense with that kind of balanced attack."



Camden Conference

COACH: Terese Bourne (13th year)

2013 RECORD: 12-11, 5-6

RETURNING STARTERS: Ashley Dirksen (5-7, OH, Sr.), Mallory VanKlompenberg (5-7, RH, Sr.), Ali Siverhus (5-3, setter, Sr.), Emily Orwick (5-8, MH, Jr.), Laura Hauser (5-5, libero, Sr.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Wolverines will be young, with five freshmen and sophomores looking to play minutes this season. Bourne said, "We hope to be a team that surprises opponents. We are not a tall team but we will be a team that will use defense to win matches."



West Central Conference

COACH: Linda Mills

2013 RECORD: 7-13, 6-7

RETURNING STARTERS: Emma Middendorf (6-0, MH, Jr.), Taylor Amundson (5-7, setter, So.), Ariel Ostrander (6-0, RS, Sr.), Ashlyn Guggisberg (5-7, RS, So.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Lakers suffered a setback when a front row already stocked with good height lost starting middle hitter Carley Stewart to on offseason knee injury. The team will rely on the leadership of four returning seniors and a young setter (Amundson) who gained valuable experience as a freshman. Kaitlyn Lundebrek (5-7, OH, Sr.) and Becca Goettsch (5-7, DS, Sr.) will also play big roles in moving the young Lakers, such as Abby VerSteeg (5-8, OH/MH, So.) forward this season.


Thunder Hawks

West Central Conference

COACH: Joanna Magnuson (6th year)

2013 RECORD: 7-13, 6-7

RETURNING STARTERS: Abby Olson (5-3, OH, So.), Alyssa Stern (5-4, OH, Sr.), Natalie Feldhake (6-1, MH, Sr.), Erin Balken (5-8, setter, Sr.), Alexis Schmitz (5-11, MH, Jr.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Montevideo will be looking for contributions from all its returning starters.



West Central Conference

COACH: Kristi Fehr (16 years overall, 235-135)

2013 RECORD: 19-6, 9-4

RETURNING STARTERS: Lacee Maanum (5-11, MH, Sr.), Kayla Pring (5-11, OH, Sr.), Haley Erdahl (5-8, MH/RS, Jr.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Tigers rolled through the Section 3AA tournament, losing to Class AA state champion Marshall in the section final. This year, MCA will need to replace seven seniors from that team and Maanum will be vital to those efforts. She had 168 kills and 35 blocks last season. Pring had 45 kills and Erdahl had 21 kills and 315 assists. "Although we lost seven seniors who all had a key role on last year's team," Fehr said, "I feel that we will have a solid team."

New London-Spicer


Wright County Conference

COACH: Gina Macik (fourth year, 43-45)

2013 RECORD: 18-12, 5-5

RETURNING STARTERS: Sydney Stone (5-11, outside hitter, Sr.), Shelby Stehn (5-6, defensive specialist, Sr.), Lindsay Vagle (5-7, OH, Jr.), Megan Thorson (5-11, MH/RH, Jr.), Carly Cronen (5-4, libero, Jr.), Kaitlyn Bergh (5-5, DS, Jr.), Espi Austvold (5-6, setter, Jr.) and Kabrie Weber (5-10, MH, So.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Stone is a returning All-State Honorable Mention, Tribune All-Area, All-Section 3AA and all-conference hitter who will need to lead a young Wildcats team. Stone has committed to play at St. Cloud State next season.



West Central Conference

COACH: Nicole Humbert (2nd year)

2013 RECORD: 5-18, 4-9

RETURNING STARTERS: Lexie Skoglund (5-9, OH, Sr.), Allie Stanger (6-0, MB, Sr.), McKenzie Haines (5-8, setter, Sr.), McKayla Quade (5-11, MB, Jr.), Ella Johnson (5-9, OH, Jr.), Ashley Froelich (5-11, RH, Jr.)

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Johnson, Stanger and Froelich will be front and center as the Bulldogs attempt to improve on their 2013 season. Johnson plays aggressively outside and has worked in the offseason to become an all-around player. Stanger had 72 solo blocks and 45 block assists last season and will be attempting to ramp up her offense this year. Froelich had 124 kills in 2013 and also plays aggressively at the net.



Camden Conference

COACH: Amanda Peterson (8th year overall)

2013 RECORD: 13-16, 6-5

RETURNING STARTERS: Carina Zaske (libero, Sr.), Courtney Lindahl (OH/S)

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Zaske will lead the Jaguars this season.



Central Lakes Conference

COACH: Traci Grussing (19th year overall)

2013 RECORD: 14-15, 5-7

RETURNING STARTERS: Allie Roehl (5-3, libero, Sr.), Dani Rosen (6-0, MH, Sr.), Leah Ruter (5-11, OH, Sr.), Riley Grussing (5-9, setter, Sr.), Cami Sletta (5-10, H, So.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: The Cardinals' four seniors make up the core of a team that will rely on big hitting from Rosen and Ruter off sets from Grussing, one of the top assist players in the state and the school's record-holder. Rosen and Ruter both almost reached 300 kills last season, and Grussing has averaged 10 assists per game for three years running. Roehl is a top-notch defensive player who is fourth on WHS' career digs list. "We also have several experienced (defensive specialists) coming back," Traci Grussing said. "The challenge will be to fill the remaining hitting positions."



West Central Conference

COACH: Stacy Hinz (2nd year)

2013 RECORD: 6-20, 3-10

RETURNING STARTERS: Chyanne Sand (5-11, Sr.), Makayla Dyrdahl (5-10, So.), Jordan Hinz (5-8, Jr.), Kalli Knudson (5-6, Jr.), Madison Hagert (5-5, Jr.), Megan Odegard (5-5, Sr.), Marissa Sneller (5-6, Sr.).

KEYS TO THE SEASON: Hinz' Sting team will need contributions from several underclassmen and their development has centered this summer on fundamentals: footwork, passing, eye-training and more "in order to move the game of volleyball at YME to an advanced level," she said. "Everyone loves the 'big kill,' which is very exciting," Hinz said. "But we know that we score if we serve aggressively and pass well."

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

(320) 214-4372