The start of the 2011 volleyball season is less than a week away for Emmetsburg's Lady E-Hawk volleyball team. After a dismal season in 2010, the Lady E-Hawks have one simple goal for the upcoming season - Improve as a team every game they play.
"Team Unity is going to be the key to our success this season,"?noted Head Coach Andrea Accola-Sabin, who returns for her fourth season at the helm of Emmetsburg's net fortunes.
Emmetsburg, like many other teams, was hit hard by graduation last season. The Lady E-Hawks bid farewell to Hannah Drost, Halie Cody, Nicole Leuer, Hillary Pico, Chelsey Rouse, Morgan Vlasman, Nikki Schany and Molli Schmeling.
This Fall, the Lady E-Hawks return just two seniors to lead a junior-dominated varsity squad for this season.
Leading the way will be senior Paige Naig, a middle hitter and Second Team All Lakes Conference selection from last year, along with junior Miranda Vlasman, also a middle hitter, as the two returning letterwinners.
Also stepping up this season in a libero role will be senior Jayme Penrod.
Stepping up to the varsity level this season will be junior Jacque Carlson as an outside and middle hitter, along with classmate Whitney Kibbie as a setter and outside hitter. Another player moving into the varsity scheme will be junior Rachel Schroeder as an outside hitter.
Rounding out the lineup will be junior defensive specialist Britni Will, junior setter Shelby Brindley and outside hitter Ashley Morris, also a junior.
At the junior varsity level, Emmetsburg has nine sophomores playing for Assistant Coach Kari Mueller, including Hannah Bird, BriAna Campbell, Kendall Deitering, Tegan Olson, Kayla Goeders, Mandi Hartman, Haily Malm, Staci Schmeling and Maura Soukup.
Freshmen Coach Tim Rodemeyer welcomes a bakers' dozen players to the court this season, starting with Kiersten Aldous, Emily Bonnstetter, Alison Gould, Taylor Knight, Katie Ruiz and Ashton Connelly. Also playing as freshmen are Alexa Naig, Ema Enriquez, Tara Harris, Jayden Johnson, Michaela Rehm, Chelsea Strohman and Tess VanDenHurk-Moran.
"We are going to be a young team this year with only our two returning letterwinners, but, this is a very close-knit team."?Accola-Sabin noted. "Paige Naig is going to be a leader for the team with having two years of varsity play under her belt.However, the inexperience in varsity-level play for a majority of our players is going to be something for us to improve on as the season plays out."