Volleyball: 2016 conference previews



Voted on by members of the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association. First-place votes in parentheses:


1. Eagan (6)


2. Prior Lake (1)

3. Lakeville South

4t. Champlin Park

4t. Wayzata

6. Roseville

7. Shakopee

8. Eden Prairie

9. Hopkins


10. North St. Paul

Also receiving votes: Chaska, East Ridge, Blaine, Cretin-Derham Hall, Osseo.


1. Kenyon-Wanamingo (2)

2. Rocori

3. Belle Plaine (1)

4. Stewartville (1)

5. Maple Lake (1)


6. Concordia Academy (1)

7. Morris Area/C-A

8. Kasson-Mantorville

9. Roseau

10. Jordan

Also receiving votes: Southwest Christian, Hill-Murray.


1. Faribault. B.A. (6)


2. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

3. Mabel-Canton

4t. Heritage Christian

4t. Waterville-E-M

6. Mayer Lutheran

7. Kittson Central

8. Caledonia

9. Hayfield


10. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa

Also receiving votes: Wabasso, Legacy Christian, Minneota, Underwood.

• • •


Some of the must-see matches for volleyball fans this season in southeastern Minnesota:

Sept. 1: Rochester Mayo at Stewartville, 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 6: Stewartville at Faribault Bethlehem Academy, 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 15: Caledonia at Chatfield, 7:15 p.m.


Sept. 20: Kasson-Mantorville at Kenyon-Wanamingo, 7:15 p.m.; Wabasha-Kellogg at Caledonia, 7:15 p.m.

Sept. 29: Stewartville at Kenyon-Wanamingo, 7:15 p.m.

Oct. 6: Faribault Bethlehem Academy at Kasson-Mantorville, 7:15 p.m.

Oct. 13: Stewartville at Kasson-Mantorville, 7:15 p.m.

• • •


Returning All-HVL Players

• Kasey Dummer, Sr., LI, Kenyon-Wanamingo

• Megan Flom, Sr., MH, Kenyon-Wanamingo

• Mia Peterson, Sr., S, Kenyon-Wanamingo

• Tatum Pickar, Jr., LI, Cannon Falls

• Mara Quam, Sr., OH, Kenyon-Wanamingo

• Maggie Streightiff, Jr., S, Hayfield

• Peyton Suess, So., MH, Kasson-Mantorville

• Eliza Warneke, Sr., MH, Pine Island

2015 Standings





Cannon Falls#8#2#20#10





Rochester Lourdes#4#6#10#16

Pine Island#2#8#6#19

Lake City#2#8#4#12



Team Previews


The Bears have four letterwinners back from last year's 25-7 team that challenged for a top spot in the loaded HVL, going 8-3 in conference play.

"There are a lot of elite players and teams in the conference," coach Owen Hoegh said, "but we have reason to think we can compete with all of them. The sooner our relatively young team realizes that, the better. The conference-wide level of play should prepare HVL teams to again do well in the postseason."

Byron is led by a pair of seniors and a pair of juniors. Senior captain and outside hitter Madison Stier (5-feet-10, 239 kills, 297 digs, 40 ace serves) is a two-year letterwinner, while fellow senior outside hitter Connor Zamzow (5-feet-6) chipped in 16 kills and 16 digs a year ago.

Juniors Allison Connelly, a 5-foot-6 junior captain and setter, and 6-5 junior middle blocker Ayoka Lee are the Bears' other standout returning players. Connelly had 97 set assists last season, while Lee added 17 ace blocks.

Among the other players Hoegh expects will contribute this season are senior rightside hitter Hayley Hines and defensive specialist Alexis Helget, junior middle blocker Ella Vanderpool and OH/RS Hailey Bahr, and sophomore MB Lilly DeCook.

"Serving, passing and defense will be huge factors in our success," Hoegh said, "and we'll be glad to have (freshman libero) Payton Stier taking on a large role in each of those areas. Several other players coming off a successful JV season will also play big roles."

Cannon Falls

The Bombers went 20-10 and posted a strong 9-2 mark in one of the best conferences in the state. They lost four talented and key seniors, but they welcome back a handful of starters who were key contributors to a 20-win season.

Cannon Falls will be led this year by junior libero Tatum Pickar, an All-HVL player who had 585 digs, 10 shy of the school record. Pickar also had 181 service points and 23 ace serves.

Other top returners include junior defensive specialist Kendra Lecy (88 digs, 57 service receptions); junior setter/RH Kara Loeschke (133 service points, 26 ace serves, 271 assists, 221 digs); junior outside hitter Grace Hall (98 kills, 25 ace blocks, 67 digs); and sophomores Rachel Huseth (setter), Molly Bowen (outside hitter) and Riley Meyers (DS).

Head coach Melissa Huseth, entering her 12th season, has at least five other players she expects to challenge for playing time: MH Olivia Thomely, MH Shayla Hustad, MH Sara Twedt, Morgan Roeber and OH Belle O'Reilly.

"We are a fairly young team with some inexperience at the net," coach Huseth said, "however, I look forward to a lot of growth this season.

"We have strong, athletic players who consistently look for ways to better themselves for the team. ... I am thrilled to see the girls working hard to put things together from the start. They are continually giving positive feedback to each other and bring their full effort to practices."


The Wildcats, coming off a 14-12 season (6-6 in the HVL), are under the direction of first-year head coach Abbey McNamara. They must find a way to replace a pair of key players lost to graduation, setter Michelle Hadler (more than 1,000 career set assists) and middle blocker Taylor Larson.

Goodhue's top returners this season are 5-foot-11 junior middle blocker/outside hitter Sydney Lodermeier (163 kills, 43 blocks, 28 ace serves) and 5-foot-3 senior libero Haley Lexvold (235 digs, 5.73 digs per set).

Junior setter Mariah Tipcke and senior middle blocker Mikayla Peterson are also expected to be key contributors to the varsity team.

The Wildcats will be tested early in the season, with matches against last year's Section One, Class AAA runner-up Red Wing, No. 1-ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo and No. 4-ranked Stewartville in the first three weeks of the season.

"Our team will feature a few experienced veterans who we will lean on for leadership," McNamara said. "We are looking to stay solid with our passing and defense while implementing a more dynamic offense. The HVL will be loaded once again, so we will need to come ready to compete every night and have the mindset that we can play with anyone.

"We lost some key leaders from last year's team, so I'll be looking for our group of seven seniors to step up and be vocal on the court."


The Vikings went 18-11 last season, led by a strong group of underclassmen who have high expectations again this year. They advanced all the way to the West Subsection 1A championship match, where they ran into top-ranked Faribault Bethlehem Academy, the eventual section and state champion.

Hayfield will be led by four top returning players: Junior setter Maggie Streightiff (207 kills, 456 assists, 35 ace serves, 55 blocks); junior outside hitter Carrie Rutledge (174 kills, 23 aces, 321 digs); senior libero Anna Carney (435 digs, 18 aces); and junior middle hitter Kate Kruger (84 kills, 23 blocks, 99 digs).

Junior outside hitter Olivia Matti is also expected to step into an open spot, coach Jeremy Strunk said.

Hayfield is a talented all-around team, but its success starts on defense.

"We love to get on the floor and get dirty," Strunk said. "The scrappy style of defense we play and the unrelenting pursuit of the ball will keep us in games against some of the bigger powerhouses we will see."

The Vikings open the season ranked No. 9 in the state in Class A. They play in a loaded Section 1A, which features three other teams ranked in the top 10 to start the year: No. 1 Faribault Bethlehem Academy, No. 3 Mabel-Canton and No. 8 Caledonia.

"Offensively, we like to put the ball where the defense is not," Strunk said. "One of the things we will have to work through is putting a consistent lineup together, as some players will be playing different positions and a few others have very little varsity experience."


The KoMets are ranked No. 8 in the first Class AA rankings of the season, and are one of three HVL teams in the Class AA top 10 to start the year, along with top-ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo and No. 4 Stewartville.

K-M saw its season come to an end at the hands of Stewartville last season, as the KoMets fell 3-1 in the Section 1AA West championship match.

But K-M (22-11 last year) has some talented players back, including one of the best hitters in the conference. Sophomore middle hitter Peyton Suess is a two-time All-HVL player and has led the team in kills each of the past two seasons. Outside hitter Maddie Bigelow returns as well; she is a six-rotation player for the KoMets.

The KoMets also welcome back a trio of top defensive players, as senior Elle Schultz, sophomore Bailey Berge and senior Kendra Stenzel return, as do rightside hitters Jesse Riker and Abbey Bigelow.

"We should be fairly tall and athletic across the front row," fourth-year head coach Adam Van Oort said. "We should be a solid passing team and have good ball control from the back row."

Among the other players Van Oort expects to make an impact are senior Hannah Elias, juniors Alli Schager and Addi Murry, sophomore Caroline Braun, and freshman Emilee Terry.

"We play in the HVL, which is the toughest (Class) A/AA conference in the state, so HVL teams always have great competition and get tested every week," Van Oort said. "We are excited to work hard and try to improve as the season progresses, and hopefully be competing hard for a conference and section title in late October and early November."


On paper and on the court, there doesn't appear to be a weakness in the Knights' lineup.

Hitting? Seniors Mara Quam (381 kills last season) and Megan Flom (353 kills), and freshman Ally Peterson (158) keep opposing defenses off balance.

Defense? Kasey Dummer, a senior All-HVL libero is one of the best in the conference. She had 498 digs a year ago and an 96 percent serving success rate. Quam (387 digs), senior setter Mia Peterson (173 digs) and junior defensive specialist Sydney Way (214 digs) are also among the team's top defenders.

And Peterson is there to run the offense and distribute the ball well. She had 586 assists last season. Two more juniors, middle hitter Corynne Dahl (79 kills, 48 blocks) and setter/RH Maddie McCauley (51 kills, 24 blocks, 32 digs) are also versatile all-around players and are expected to be key contributors this season.

K-W coach Jen Nerison also expects newcomers Madisyn Alme, Brynn Gillard, Hannah Fischer, Julianna Boyum and Madi Luebke to battle for varsity playing time. Another senior, Natalie Hildebrandt, will serve as team manager this year after suffering a knee injury last spring that will keep her out of action this fall.

The Knights' skill and depth make them a favorite not only in the HVL, but also in Section 2AA and in the state. They carry the No. 1 ranking in the state into this season, coming off a 31-5 campaign a year ago, a season that ended with a hard-fought loss to eventual state champion Belle Plaine in the section final.

"This team is very competitive, loves to be challenged, is strong in our out of system play, and scrappy on defense," Nerison said, "but we need to be more consistent and confident on defense. We need to control the ball, don't let up and stay aggressive every point of the match."

Lake City

The Tigers will put an experienced lineup on the court most nights, featuring a four-year starter, a pair of three-year starters and a two-year starter.

They'll be led by senior outside hitter Daynalyn Jostock, a four-year starter who is the school's all-time leader in ace serves and is second all-time in kills. Senior libero Julia Anderson is another varsity veteran. The three-year starter was honorable mention All-HVL last season. Senior setter Abby Ziebell is also a three-year starter, while senior outside hitter Laura Heitman is a two-year starter and an honorable mention All-HVL.

"Jostock is a really good hitter who holds the school record in ace serves. When she plays with confidence she can be a game-changer," Lake City head coach Kirk Thornton said. "Ziebell is a quiet leader and Anderson is a tough competitor with a no-nonsense attitude. She is a student of the game and has improved tremendously over her three years as libero.

"Heitman is the most coachable player we have ever had. She is a great all-around player and has great leadership skills."

Senior hitter Molly Cronin, junior hitter Kenzie Noll and freshman hitter Morgan West are also expected to be key players in the varsity lineup.

"The seniors have shown tremendous leadership and come to practice with a drive to get better every day," Thornton said. "Our No. 1 goal is to compete in every game and have fun doing it. We have a very tough schedule which should make us better as a team."

Pine Island

The Panthers and coach Jimmy Waldo lost three talented seniors from last year's 6-19 team — outside hitters Steph Norte and Amanda Troester, and middle/RH Madi Owen — but they'll be able to rebuild around one of the top hitters in the HVL.

Senior middle hitter Eliza Warneke was a First Team All-HVL player last season and she enters her senior year with 473 kills, 261 digs and 198 career blocks. She is a three-time Academic All-State player, as well.

A pair of sophomores are among the players coach Waldo expects to step in and help Warneke lead the Panthers. Setter Syd Andrist and middle hitter Avri Kundert are among a big group of underclassmen Pine Island will rely upon, with just two seniors — Warneke and middle hitter Malea Klein — on the varsity roster.

"We have a lot of talented players in the program this year, probably the most well-rounded group I have ever coached," Waldo said. "They have a tremendous amount of skill and great chemistry together. Our senior captains, Eliza Warneke and Malea Klein, bring a veteran mindset to an otherwise young team."

Rochester Lourdes

The Eagles have four key players back from last year's 10-16 team that lost to Byron in the first round of the Section 1AA West playoffs.

They'll be led by junior setter Nicole Seymour (60 kills, 387 assists, 15 blocks, 169 digs, 37 ace serves), a talented all-around player. Other top returning players for Lourdes include senior middle hitter Megan Hobday (133 kills, 53 blocks, 64 digs, 22 ace serves); senior setter Alison Kielty (57 kills, 179 assists, 27 blocks, 163 digs, 21 aces); and junior outside hitter Brooke Younger (118 kills, 26 blocks, 187 digs, 35 aces).

Those returning players give the Eagles hope that they will be competitive each night out in the HVL.

"This year is going to be exciting for us since the majority of our starters are returning," coach Ryan Freidhoff said. "We have two experienced setters in Nicole Seymour and Alison Kielty to run the floor for us, as well as fourth-year middle hitter Megan Hobday.

"The girls have set high expectations adn they know how hard they are going to have to work. The HVL is one of the toughest conferences to play in."


The Tigers (25-9) won their second consecutive Section 1AA championship and followed up 2014's Class AA state title run with a third-place finish at last year's Class AA state tournament.

As it does annually, graduation took some of the Tigers' top players, including two-time First Team All-State hitter Jenna Willenborg, three-time All-HVL player Karissa Kime, and All-HVL players Tara Rogers and Emily Branstad.

But the cupboard is rarely ever bare in Stewartville, and this year is no exception. The Tigers have four talented letterwinners/starters back, including senior setter Charlie Bleifus, senior middle hitter Libby Christenson (captain, 208 kills, 45 ace blocks, honorable mention All-HVL), junior outside hitter Julianne Waugh (team captain, 166 kils, 32 ace blocks, 49 ace serves, honorable mention All-HVL); and junior libero Emily Rinken (233 digs).

Erin Lamb, an eighth-grade middle hitter, is among the top newcomers to the varsity this season.

"In all my years of coaching, I have only had one seventh-grader (Julie Rainey) and two eighth-graders (Carrie Noble and Kaitlyn Prondzinski) who played varsity volleyball," said Tigers coach John Dzubay, in his 32nd year as head coach. "This year, three eighth-graders have made the varsity team, Lamb, Jaidyn Brower and Jolie Stecher. Lamb will be one of our starting middles."

Dzubay said he is excited about the team's top returning players, including Waugh, who can play any position on the court and could be an All-State candidate.

"Christensen is not flashy, but always gets the job done," Dzubay said. "Bleifus is finally getting her chance to set after waiting for Karissa Kime to graduate, while Kaitlyn Augustine has been a very nice surprise so far, as she brings some firepower and blocking to the right side for us. Prondzinski can jump and hit hard."

The Tigers have just three seniors on their roster, but will be tested by tournament time after playing a tough regular-season schedule.

"It's going to take some time to get this group working together," Dzubay said. "Confidence could be a factor, but we will work hard on that."


The Cobras lost more than a full starting lineup, nine players, from last year's 8-20 team that lost to eventual state champion Stewartville in the first round of the Section 1AA West playoffs.

Third-year Triton coach Rebecca Goossens has four top letterwinners back, though, to lead the way. They're led by senior setter/outside hitter Greta Rhodes, an All-HVL player in 2015 who has 1,150 career set assists and led the team in points, kills (188) and ace serves (46), and was second on the team in assists (274) and attack percentage (.165).

Senior libero Alexis Melder will lead the team defensively. She had 26 aces and 231 digs last season. Other top returners include senior setter Tatyanna Bond (280 assists) and senior middle hitter Kennedy Chicos.

Among the newcomers expected to make an immediate impact in the varsity lineup are juniors Kiara Boeck and Allissa Hallaway, sophomore MH Nell Graham and freshman OH Kendra Petersohn.

"After losing nine talented seniors, this is going to be a rebuilding year for our team," coach Goossens said. "We are fielding a lot of young talent, many without varsity experience, but I think it is going to be exciting to see what these players can do."


The Cougars have a good mix of veterans and young players on their roster for first-year head coach Lisa Nelson to work with and help rebuild after a 5-17 season in 2015. Many of Z-M's players know what it takes to have success, having played on last spring's state championship softball team.

Z-M lost five talented seniors, including All-HVL player Breanna Haag, but it has plenty of veteran athletes to fill those roles.

Among those top returning players is senior setter Tara Matuska; the quarterback of the Cougars' offense had 359 set assists last year as a junior. Sophomore outside hitter Aspen Brubaker is coming off a strong freshman season in which she had 111 kills, and junior middle hitter Lydnsey Quam is back after compiling 37 kills last year.

Two other seniors, defensive specialist Natalie Majerus and libero Taylor Blakstad, are also back and expected to be key contributors, while senior Miranda Mollenhauer and junior Lauren Miller are both out for the season with ACL injuries.

"We will be a young team with not a lot of varsity experience," coach Nelson said. "This team is a very hard working team who wants to keep improving as the season continues."

• • •


Returning All-TRC Players

• Ashley Agrimson, Sr., MH, R-P

• Adrianna Baab, Jr., LI, W-K

• Tayah Barnes, Sr., LI, Fillmore Central

• Paige Bennett, Sr., OH, Fillmore Central

• Hayley Dessner, Jr., MH, P-E-M

• Rylee Forshee, Sr., OH, Dover-Eyota

• Brianna Koop, Sr., OH, R-P

• Lexy Peterson, Jr., OH, W-K

• Adrianna Reinhart, Jr., S, Caledonia

• Morgan Shindelar, Sr., OH, P-E-M

• Savannah Skalet, Sr., S, R-P

2015 Standings







St. Charles#8#5#15#10


Fillmore Central#7#5#15#14


Winona Cotter#4#7#14#12




La Crescent#1#11#4#16

Team Previews


The Warriors appear to be loaded for another run at a conference title, which they shared last season.

Coach Scott Koepke's team has five starters back from a 20-11 team that lost a close 3-2 match to Mabel-Canton in the Section 1A East championship match.

Leading the way for the Warriors are a pair of seniors, rightside hitter Mariah Schroeder (132 kills, 24 ace serves) and middle hitter Samantha Schroeder (54 kills). They're joined by returning starters Adrianna Reinhart, a junior setter (83 kills, 715 assists, 242 digs, 44 aces); junior outside hitter Madisyn Heaney (207 kills, 223 digs); and sophomore middle hitter Katie Tornstrom (69 kills, 16 blocks).

Seniors Hayley Vonderohe (61 kills), Alyssa Meiners and Sarah Petersen, and junior Clare Kasten are also back after lettering a year ago.

"We have many kids returning from our 2015 team, as well as newcomers looking to make our practices very competitive," Koepke said. "The road to the state tournament will again be one that we know will be very difficult. It will be an exciting and new challenge that our girls are ready to embrace.

"We would like to compete for a conference title. We know that goal will require maximum effort night in and night out. We hope to continue to improve as the year goes on to be able to compete at a high level at the end of the season."


The Gophers finished 18-11 overall after tying for the Three Rivers Conference championship with an 11-1 conference record last season.

Third-year coach RuthAnn Lund lost seven seniors to graduation, including Sheridan Salisbury and Brooke Adler, but the Gophers' cupboard isn't bare.

Their top returning players include a pair of hitters, senior outside hitter Kyra Dokken and senior middle hitter Mariah Bell.

Dokken and Bell, as well as senior setter Lexi Schott, will serve as captains. A fourth senior, Haley Goetzinger, will step into an outside hitter postion. Junior middle hitter Mikaela Kohlmeyer will provide some height, at 5-feet-10.

"There are a lot of changes for the team this year as only two players had a lot of court time last year – seniors Kyra Dokken and Mariah Bell," coach Lund said. "They will step into captain rolls along with senior setter Lexi Schott.

"Overall, the team is very small. Fortunately, the players are quick and very cohesive which should help us overcome the height deficiency. We're looking forward to a great season."


The Eagles have seven letterwinners back from last year's team that went 5-7 in a competitive Three Rivers Conference and 13-19 overall, with their season ending in a hard-fought 3-1 loss at St. Charles in the first round of the Section 1AA East playoffs.

D-E will be led this season by a pair of returning all-conference players, 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter Rylee Forshee and 5-7 defensive specialist Jordan Meyers. The Eagles will have some depth, too, with five other returning letterwinners: senior setter/rightside hitter Brooke Kendall, senior middle hitter Emily Hallett, senior defensive specialist Breanna Tews, senior outside hitter Sydney Aeschlimann and senior middle hitter Kelsi Helgerson.

Forshee, Meyers and Tews will serve as the team's captains.

Among the other leading candidates for playing time are juniors Val Ziemer, Shae Hanson, Shauna Haag, Arissa Wilson and Anna Stellpflug, and sophomore Ashley Kendall.

"If we keep working hard each and every day and stay focused, we can do great things with this talented group of girls," coach Stacy Mayer said.

Fillmore Central

The Falcons went 15-14 last season and ran into a tough Caledonia team in the first round of the Section 1A East playoffs. They lost two key players from that team, with Shelby Ebner and Megan Hendrickson graduating.

Fillmore Central has some experienced players back, led by senior and fourth-year starter Tayah Barnes. The Falcons' libero had 54 kills last season and 491 digs, giving her more than 1,000 digs for her high school career.

Other top returners include seniors Paige Bennett (outside hitter, three-year starter, 215 kills, 152 digs); Kendyl Bennett (middle hitter, two-year starter, 131 kills, 25 blocks); Kenzie Broadwater (OH, 122 digs, 47 kills); Bailey Barnes (setter, 368 assists, 167 digs) and Kelsey Berg (rightside, 102 kills, 74 digs); and junior Cailey Rindels (MH, two-year starter, 155 kills, 25 blocks).

Junior RH Kaelyn Marzolf and sophomores Madison Scheevel (setter) and Paige Donlinger (DS) are among the newcomers expected to have an impact on the varsity this season.

"The girls have worked hard in the offseason, so we should be competitive in our conference and section," coach Travis Malley said. "Our conference and section will be extremely tough again this year. In the preseason poll, we have four teams in our section ranked in the top 10 in the state."


Second-year coach Brittni McKane has a deep group of upperclassmen to build around and help improve on last season's 3-17 record.

The Knights lost four players from last year's team, but have nine seniors back — setter Kailey Link, defensive specialist Kellyn Webster, S Courtney Schmidt, rightside hitter Courtney Fate, outside hitter Gracie Schmidt, OH Ericka Kolden, DS Jacelyn Horsman, MH Stephanie Miner, and DS Alayna Meskill.

Underclassmen DS Taylor Zimmerman and MH Lauren Buchholtz also will be among the varsity leaders.

"I have a great group of ladies coming back this year and a couple of additions who I think will blend together really well," McKane said. "We are excited for this season and can't wait to get started.

"With nine returning seniors and 11 returning varsity members, the group knows one another well and works together well."

La Crescent-Hokah

The Lancers lost more than a half-dozen senior leaders off last season's 4-16 team, but have some experienced players back to fill those roles.

La Crescent will be led this season by senior middle hitter Jenna Dunnum (74 kills) and senior rightside/outside hitter Danielle Koch. Junior outside hitter Riley Barton and junior setter Maddie Ries are newcomers expected to fill some of the spots vacated by last year's seniors.

"Having graduated seven girls from last year, we have the opportunity to see a lot of fresh faces on the varsity roster," said third-year coach Jonathan Rein. "We have some versatile players this year, which will allow us to be creative with our offensive and defensive options. In the last three years, I have seen our players continue to work hard to improve and grow their skills.

"We are looking forward to having a successful season and competing in a very talented conference."


First-year head coach Tanya LeJeune takes over a Cardinals team that finished 7-20 last season and lost five seniors from its lineup, including digs leader Kayla Burt and Kylie Webb, a three-year varsity regular.

"We have some young talent coming into the 2016 season with great depth from our bench. Some of our freshman and sophomores have been playing strong on our B-team for a couple of years," LeJeune said. "That competitive level and experience will serve the varsity team very well this year. We expect to make a few mistakes early on, but learn from those mistakes quickly.

"Our defense is our initial focus and our offense will continue to develop. We have some explosive hitters coming into the season. If we can execute well, we will see some exciting things from this team this season."

L-A has a pair of strong hitters back in the lineup, in outside hitter Maddy Mundt (126 kills last season) and rightside hitter Lexie Ellinghuysen (20 ace blocks).

"With five seniors leaving the roster from the past few seasons, we will rely on our underclassmen to fill those voids this season," LeJeune said. "We have strong veterans in Mundt and Ellingheysen, who led our team last season in the front row. We will complete the roster with an additional mix of freshman and seniors."


The Bulldogs went 20-10 a year ago and finished one win shy of a spot in the section championship match, falling to Red Wing in the Section 1AA East championship.

While talented middle hitter Amber Kingsley was lost to graduation, the Bulldogs have some key players returning to the court this season. That group is led by three-time all-conference outside hitter Morgan Shindelar and two other All-TRC players, junior middle hitter Hayley Dessner and junior libero Katlyn Bade.

P-E-M has a good mix of veterans and newcomers, with five seniors and 11 juniors on the roster.

"The athletes have put in an incredible amount of offseason time and it shows," coach Sara Dick said. "Our physical skill is strong. During times when the game slips out of control, we need to focus on our strengths and team commitment.

"Our short mental game, including confidence and mental toughness is an area for continued growth."

The Bulldogs look to take another step forward after improving in each of coach Dick's four seasons.

"Consistency will be vital in taking our team to the next level," she said.


The Trojans broke the 20-win plateau last season, finishing with a 20-9 record after falling to Mabel-Canton in the Section 1A East semifinals. Three seniors are gone from that team, but three all-conference players return and four starters are back.

R-P will be led by those four returning starters, all of whom are seniors. That group includes setter Savannah Skalet (153 career aces, 1,506 career set assists); outside hitter Brianna Koop (660 career kills, 579 digs), libero Mikayla Crawford (1,059 career digs, 77 ace serves) and middle hitter Ashley Agrimson (331 career kills, 75 ace blocks).

"Those four have played on the varsity since their freshman year," coach Nicole Schultz said. "I hope they all have the best year of their volleyball careers."

Schultz said the Trojans will excel at ball control and communication, while working to improve transitions and reading the open play.

"Our team has done a lot throughout the summer this year to make this season successful," she said. "The girls have played throughout the off months to maintain their skills along with lifting and working on speed and agility.

"We have five seniors this year with four of them starting and playing all the way around. The seniors are great role models and keep a positive attitude while helping the younger girls. We also have a couple of very talented juniors and sophomores playing hard to fill the other starting positions."

St. Charles

The Saints went 15-10 last season and saw five talented varsity regulars depart after their senior season, which ended with a close 3-2 loss to Plainview-Elgin-Millville in the Section 1AA East semifinals.

Some talented players are back from that team, including junior setter Brekkin McCready (94 percent serving, 712 assists, 270 digs); senior outside hitter Kileigh Schultz-Hansen (121 kills); senior OH Deja Mosley (56 kills); senior defensive specialisty Adalyn Pearson (92 percent serving, 16 ace serves, 136 digs) and junior middle hitter Natalia VanderZanden (81 kills, 28 ace blocks).

"We have a very strong and experienced offense returning," coach Tracie Schaber said. "We have great leaders on and off the court."

Among the top newcomers this season are senior MH Emily Dailey, and defensive specialists Analise Fabre and Tianna Iglesias.

"The girls are working very hard, and are improving in every aspect of the game," Schaber said. "We lost a lot of senior leadership last year, but we have players willing and able to fill those positions. Our team is very excited for the upcoming season, and the success that it may bring."


The Rebels lost 11 seniors, but have three leaders back from last year's 7-16 team that lost to eventual Class A state champion Faribault Bethlehem Academy in the second round of the Section 1A West playoffs.

Gone are four seniors who played extensively: Olivia Gray, Sydney Bendtsen, Laura Kiefer and Meredith Heimer.

But Southland has a trio of key players back, led by setter Kaysie Allen (32 kills, 368 assists, 14 ace blocks, 76 digs), and hitters Allison Bottema (18 kills, 59 digs, 5 ace blocks) and Katelyn Luthe (52 digs).

"We lost a lot of experience from last year, but we have a group of juniors and seniors who are great passers," Rebels coach Eric Thorson said. "We hope that our passing can make up for all of the experience and attacking that we lost from last season.

"We know that the Three Rivers Conference will be tough with an inexperienced team, but we hope that playing this quality competition will help us grow throughout the season."


The reigning conference co-champion Falcons will put an experienced lineup on the floor this season, featuring four seniors who played extensively last season for a team that finished 20-10 overall and 11-1 in Three Rivers play.

The Falcons are again expected to challenge for the conference and subsection championships with a team that is strong defensively and has talented players at every spot on the court. They are led by senior First Team all-conference middle hitter Maddie Schmoker (185 kills, 18 blocks, 14 ace serves, 362 career kills).

Two other seniors are among the team's top returners: rightside hitter/setter Tori Gadetke (83 kills, 7 blocks, 131 digs) and outside hitter/defensive specialist Abby Graner (177 digs, 22 aces).

Three key juniors are back, as well: OH Lexy Peterson (First Team All-TRC, 291 kills, 106 digs, 8 blocks, 654 career kills); libero Adrianna Baab (454 digs, 20 ace serves; holds W-K's all-time career digs record with 1,422 entering her junior season); and OH Maggie Klees (118 kills, 171 digs, 162 career kills).

"We should be a very strong team defensively, with great serving and a powerful offense," said 11th-year head coach Tara Biever. "We have a very experienced group of girls who have been working hard and are ready to play.

"We have a very talented team that is well-balanced offensively, has great ball control and serving, and should be able to play outstanding defense."

Winona Cotter

The Ramblers finished 14-12 last season, losing to eventual Section 1AA runner-up Red Wing, 3-1 in the first round of the Section 1AA East playoffs.

Fourth-year Cotter coach Brian Masyga has three talented returning starters or letterwinners from last year's team. That group is led by senior Gabby Bowlin, a five-year starter at libero for the Ramblers. Junior outside hitters Mari Crowley and Nicole Duellman also return to the starting lineup.

Junior setter Julia Greshik and junior outside hitter Sydney Fleihr are among the varsity newcomers expected to see a lot of playing time.

"With the loss of four senior starters, we will need to rework our offense to be quicker and more precise with our passes," Masyga said. "Defense will be our strong suit. We won't overpower anyone with height or dominant hitters, but we will try to be more deceptive and have a goal of isolating our hitters one-on-one with blockers.

"We will focus on controlling what we can control. The girls have great chemistry so far."

• • •


Returning All-SEC Players

• Lauryn Bohr, Jr., MH, Spring Grove

• Dakota Delaney, Jr., MH, Mabel-Canton

• Courtney Graves, Sr., MH/S, Mabel-Canton

• Julianne Hanson, Jr., OH, Schaeffer

• Emily Harris, Sr., LI, Schaeffer

• Lexi Melander, Sr., S, Lanesboro

• Cassidy Ruud, Sr., OH, Lanesboro

• Savannah Slafter, Jr., OH, Mabel-Canton

• Bethany Strouf, Sr., OH, Lyle/Pacelli

• Coranda Vickerman, Sr., S, Mabel-Canton

2015 Standings






Spring Grove#9#5#15#13


Hope Lutheran#2#12#5#13


Schaeffer Academy#10#4#15#9

Lyle/Austin Pacelli#10#4#14#10

Grand Meadow#9#5#16#15




Team Previews


The Wolverines were winless a year ago, but coach Lisa Ziebell has more than a dozen letterwinners back.

That group includes four seniors: Setter Kayla Gerber, outside hitter Lani Poole, middle Bree Ellingson and rightside hitter Madi Nelsen.

Ziebell said Gerber is the team leader and an experienced setter, Poole has the most varsity experience on the team and Nelson has a good feel for the game, with soft hands to pass the ball well.

"My expectations are for the team to work hard and come to practice every night with the drive to improve," Ziebell said, "to push one another to get better, but build on the team concept while doing so.

"We have small numbers, which means more reps in practice and more one-on-one. These girls challenge each other and work hard at getting better."

Grand Meadow

The Superlarks finished 17-16 a year ago, falling to Medford in a Section 1A West second-round match. Fourth-year head coach Tori Burmester lost five seniors to graduation, all of whom played every spot in the rotation.

Three players with varsity experience are back, though: Sophomore outside hitter Jordyn Glynn (a three-year starter), junior setter Allie Lubahn (returning starter) and Brittanie Winfield, the team's lone senior and a returning middle hitter.

Among the newcomers who coach Burmester expects to make a big impact on the varsity this season are freshman libero Isabelle Olson and freshman outside hitter Riley Queensland.

"We are a very young team and rebuilding," Burmester said. "We are very small in size this year so we will need to rely on our defense. This is a very driven group. I look forward to seeing their growth over the season.

"We hope our youth allows us to make great improvements each night out as the season goes on. The players are working hard and have put their time in during the off season."

Hope Lutheran

The Patriots finished 5-13 last season and lost to Fillmore Central in the first round of the Section 1A East playoffs. Coach Tammy O'Laughlin has five seniors back to lead the team this season. A request for team preview information was not returned to the Post-Bulletin.


The Hurricanes went 5-16 a year ago, losing in the first round of the Section 1A West playoffs. They lost three top seniors from that team — Kelly Jerviss, Maya Upton and Ruby Johnson — but have some strong players returning.

First-year head coach Brianna Primmer will lean on returning varsity regulars Amber Chapel (64 kills, 29 solo blocks, 43 block assists), Becca Lee (146 digs, 27 aces, 24 kills) and Alyvia King (203 digs) to be team leaders.

Primmer said she expects a handful of newcomers to contribute significantly to the varsity, including Macey Englund, Ariel Scanlan, Marissa Kennedy, Alyssa Rostad and Gretchen Hill.

"I am very much looking forward to the season and seeing what the girls are capable of," Primmer said. "We conditioned and practiced hard the first few days.

"Our season goals are teamwork and ball control; a strong team starts with good communication and controlled passes. We have a few very strong hitters and will put as many of them up at the net at a time as we can.

"Our defensive specialists are also very talented back-row attackers, so hopefully we will see a lot out of them there."


The Burros went 16-6 a year ago and lost to Rushford-Peterson in the second round of the Section 1A East playoffs.

They lost four players from that strong team, but have a half-dozen returning players who saw extensive varsity time last season.

Lanesboro will be led this year by five seniors: Setter Lexi Melander, outside hitter Cassidy Ruud, middle hitter Haley Polin, defensive specialist Maggie Decker and outside hitter Alyssa Gathje, as well as junior middle hitter Joelie Schreiber.

Among the varsity newcomers for first-year head coach Julie Schreiber are junior defensive specialist Caroline Meyer and sophomore outside hitter Lexie Johnson.

"With a strong group of experienced players, we will be very competitive," coach Schreiber said. "We will have a deep bench of players to use. The team had a very successful season last year and it will be exciting to see that continue this season."

Le Roy-Ostrander

First-year head coach Shannon Twait takes over a Cardinals team that went 10-16 last season and fell to Blooming Prairie in the opening round of the Section 1A West playoffs.

L-O lost four seniors to graduation, but it has at least five players who started at times during last season: Senior defensive specialist Shelby Lunning, senior middle hitter Kaylee Olson, senior outside hitter Maia O'Byrne, sophomore setter Kate Helgeson and sophomore outside hitter Hayley Hungerholt.

"We have good senior leadership and readiness to come to play each day," Twait said. "We do not have much height so we will need our blockers to play taller than they actually are."

Among the varsity newcomers expected to contribute throughout the season are senior hitter Emily Servick, outside hitter Miranda Bergen, senior outside hitter Sara Kasel and sophomore middle hitter Lauren Helgeson.

"We have a good group of girls who are hard workers and enjoy playing," Twait said. "Our six seniors have been doing a great job providing leadership and bringing enthusiasm to our practices.

"For us to be competitive, we will need to play tough defense, communicate effectively and serve well. If we can do those things, we should be fun to watch this year."

Lyle/Austin Pacelli

Second-year Athletics coach Lauren Cost has six strong players back from last year's 14-10 team that lost to eventual state champion Faribault Bethlehem Academy in the second round of the Section 1A West playoffs.

While multi-year standouts Sarah Holtz and Courtney were lost to graduation, L/P has some talented players to fill those shoes.

The Athletics will be led by senior outside hitter Bethany Strouf, who had 250 kills and 133 digs last season. Other top returners include juniors Kendal Truckenmiller (defensive specialist) and Brooke Walter (setter/rightside hitter), sophomores Lucy Nelson (outside hitter) and Faith King (libero), and freshman middle blocker Olivian Christianson.

"This is a very coachable group of student-athletes who aren't afraid of hard work," Cost said. "We need to make some adjustments to the roles that some players have played for years. The transitions will take some time and might leave us vulnerable until the players feel comfortable at their new positions.

"I have been a part of and played against many teams, but I have never seen a team more mentally tough than this group. I was beyond impressed last season by their composure in difficult situations and as we begin this year, I don't see anything changing."


The Cougars put together another outstanding season in 2015, going 35-3 and winning the Section 1A West championship before falling to eventual state champion Faribault Bethlehem Academy in the section championship match.

Head coach Lonnie Morken enters his 23rd season at Mabel-Canton and is closing in on his 600th career victory. The Cougars have been remarkably consistent during his tenure, as he has a 589-113 career record.

M-C lost defensive specialist Emma Wathier to graduation, but it has more than a half-dozen players returning with extensive varsity experience and is ranked No. 3 in the first Class A state rankings.

"We are a very experienced team, even though we only have two seniors," Morken said. "With eight of our top nine players back we hopefully will be able to jell early in the season.

"Our strengths will include ball control, serving, and versatility on offense. Weaknesses will include lack of front row depth and possibly blocking because of our lack of height."

That core group is led by First Team All-State setter/hitter Coranda Vickerman. The 5-foot-9 senior is a two-time Southeast Conference Player of the Year, a three-time All-SEC player and a four-year letterwinner. She had 209 kills, 808 assists, 323 digs and 76 aces last season. Vickerman has 1,933 assists and 802 career digs.

Other top returners include 5-foot-7 junior outside hitter Savannah Slafter (398 kills, 64 aces, 271 digs; 710 career kills, 566 career digs); 5-9 senior middle hitter Courtney Graves (180 kills, 173 assits); 5-8 junior MH Dakota Delaney (234 kills); 5-5 sophomore OH Lexi Thorson (152 kills, 250 digs, 49 aces, 116 assists); 5-6 sophomore hitter Maddy Michels (118 kills); 5-5 freshman defensive specialist Payton Danielson (64 aces, 226 digs) and 5-4 eighth-grade DS Kenidi McCabe (181 digs, 24 aces as a seventh-grader last season).

Sophomore OH Hannah Snell returns after lettering, and junior hitters Harley McCabe and Avery Arneson are among the varstiy newcomers.

"We start the season as No. 3 in the state in Class A, however our subsection and section are totally loaded again," Morken said.


The Rockets finished 7-18 last season and lost to Southland in the first round of the Section 1A West playoffs. Randolph lost nine seniors to graduation from that team.

The top returning players for head coach Marissa Knapp, in her third season, include senior setter Grace Taylor, junior middle hitter Alyssa Whitson and senior rightside hitter Maddie Grant.

Among the top newcomers to the varsity are junior setter/rightside hitter Jordyn Bey, junior middle hitter Hannah Neil and outside hitters Skyler Turek and Lindsey Grant.

"We're a young team and haven't played together much as a team, but we have some hard-working individuals," Knapp said. "They put a lot of work in in the offseason. We're very excited to see what the younger players can contribute."

Schaeffer Academy

The Lions will be a relatively young team, with just one senior on the roster, but they have high expectations after going 15-10 last year, including 11-3 in the conference.

"Schaeffer finished the 2015 season with their best conference record ever and played in the Southeast Conference championship match for the first time in school history," first-year coach Rich Harris said. "We hope to continue that upward trend in 2016 and extend our season with a deeper run in the 1A sub-sections."

Schaeffer's lone senior is outside hitter/defensive specialist Emily Harris (358 digs, 22 aces). The Lions other top returning players include junior outside hitter Julianne Hanson (245 kills, 23 aces); junior middle hitter Ann Marie Jalmasco (151 kills, 39 aces, 48 blocks); junior setter Breea Amundson (24 aces, 488 assists) and junior middle hitter Megan Boegel (45 kills, 42 blocks).

Coach Harris said he expects juniors Allison Tebben (OH/RH), Emily Park (DS) and Lillia Newsom (MH/RH) to be key varsity contributors this season.

"We have only one senior on the team, but have a talented group of juniors who were a key part of our team last year as sophomores," coach Harris said. "We will be a deep team, so practices will be competitive as players push each other to start."

Spring Grove

The Lions lost team MVP Jordan Anderson and several other talented seniors from last year's 15-13 team, but coach Kelsey Morken has five of the seven players back from last season's regular rotation.

"In order for us to be successful this year, we will need to focus on our defense, serve receive and error management," Morken said. "We are looking to fill a few important spots, but we do bring back a couple of our offensive threats."

Among the top returners are All-Southeast Conference middle hitter Lauryn Bohr, a junior; senior hitters Grace Edgington and Danika Albert; junior defensive specialists Harlee Gavin and Makena Speltz; and sophomore hitters Mariah Edgington and Maria Myrah.

"Our depth is a strength," Morken said. "We have a solid group of girls who are very versatile. We will work hard to find the right combination for us to be successful.

"We hope to work hard and be in the top half of our conference. We have an incredibly tough section and it will be fun to play against some really great teams."


Blooming Prairie

The Blossoms went 9-16 last season, falling 3-1 to Hayfield in the Section 1A West playoffs.

Five seniors are gone from that team, but the Blossoms have a good number of returning letterwinners: Courtney Wobschall (MH), Leah Inwards (RH,S), Kylie Forystek (OH), Leah Schiefert (S), Marissa Larson (MH), Bria Baldwin (Lib), Rachel Kubicek (DS/OH), Sam Wurst (MH), and Alicia Ptacek (MH).

"We have great numbers coming into our program with many players working very hard in the offseason and during the first weeks of the preseason," head coach Ranell Kittelson said. "I am looking forward to a competitive season with a strong group of seniors returning along with an excellent incoming strong group of juniors. We have a lot of versatile players with strengths in a variety of areas and I am excited to see what are team can do this season."

Kittelson said Blooming Prairie will be versatile, with many players who can play multiple positions.

"Our bench will be fairly deep with the opportunity to play multiple players in various positions," she said. "Our middles will also be aggressive and versatile in hitting out of a variety of slots on offense."

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