Willmar Volleyball Preview
COACH Mary Hanson, 17th season ASSISTANT COACH Jenyne Beehler, Barb Eilers, Sally Wilson LOOKING BACK Central Lakes Conference: 12-1, tied with Alexandria for first place Overall: 28-3. Beat Glencoe-Silver Lake, Monticello and Buffalo in Section ...
Mary Hanson, 17th season
Jenyne Beehler, Barb Eilers, Sally Wilson
Central Lakes Conference: 12-1, tied with Alexandria for first place
Overall: 28-3. Beat Glencoe-Silver Lake, Monticello and Buffalo in Section 2AAA. Lost to Marshall in section final.
Season: Today, home vs. Pierz, 7:15 p.m.
Conference: Thursday at Fergus Falls, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7: Willmar Invite
Sept. 8-9: Marshall Invite
Oct. 20-21: Moorhead Invite
(returning letterwinners in bold)
SENIORS: Chelsey Beilhartz, 5-11 middle blocker; Megan Junkermeier, 5-9 middle blocker; Heather Thoma, 5-9 outside/rightside hitter
JUNIORS: Megan Brown, 5-2 libero; Laurie Buer, 5-8 setter; Abbey Johnson, 5-6 defensive specialist; Greta King, 5-11 middle blocker/setter; Leah Peterson, 5-7 outside hitter; Jamie Wilson, 5-11 outside hitter
SOPHOMORES: Annalise Bratt, 5-7 middle blocker; Emily Nelsen, 5-9 rightside hitter/setter
Team won a record 28 matches last season, including 24 by a sweep.
Willmar shared the Central Lakes Conference title with Alexandria with the teams splitting the season series. It was the second straight title for Willmar. Only two starters are back from that team -- Greta King, a 5-11 junior midlde blocker/setter, and Megan Brown, a 5-2 junior libero. Jamie Wilson, a 5-11 junior outside hitter, was injured most of the season but saw some varsity action late in the season and finished with 53 kills. King is a top-notch attacker who had 190 kills, 43 ace blocks, 54 assists and 34 ace serves. No one else returning had more than five kills.
Only three seniors are on the team this season -- Chelsey Beilhartz, Megan Junkermeier and Heather Thoma -- all hitters who saw brief time on the varsity a season and are expected to play bigger roles this season.
Coach Mary Hanson is in her 17th season as head coach and has 291 career wins, the third most in the area among active coaches.
The team graduated seven seniors, including All-Area setter Kelsey Hanson and All-Area hitters Mary Sussenguth and Laura Nielsen.
The conference should again be strong with Fergus Falls having the most experience.
Willmar needs to overcome a lack of height by playing aggressive defense, something this team lacks in the early going. Several players are capable of playing more than one position, which allows Hanson a more creative offense. The team has several aggressive servers which could prove vital if the team wants to contend.