Knights Looking For Stronger Offense
GRAETTINGER – For Coach Teresa Alesch and the Lady Knights of Graettinger/Terril, there are lots of goals on their minds for the upcoming volleyball season. They’d like to improve on a 6-4 Cornbelt Conference mark and a 7-4 overall mark, but the most important goal is personal.
“Our number one objective is to walk on the court together, leave nothing behind and walk off the court with dignity, no matter what the scoreboard says,” Alesch says, “The Knights are pumped up and aim to become conference leaders and this would be a great year to start.”
With four seniors and a pair of junior letterwinners returning to anchor the Knights, Graettinger/Terril could become one of the favorites in the highly-competitive Cornbelt Conference this season. Despite the loss of five key players, including Jade Alesch, Amanda Kropf, Gina Lair, Jennie Mart and Allison Peyton, the Knights won’t be that short on experience.
“We lost some experienced back row players and a front row player, along with some exceptional team leaders both on and off the court ,” Alesch admitted, “But on the other hand, we are looking forward to a stronger offense this year has we have a more powerful front row. But nevertheless, I am confident our novice back row will quickly step up to fill the positions.
Theresa Peterson, a First Team All Conference pick from 2007 returns as one of the senior letterwinners this season, along with Liz Sparks, Leah Flaharty and Malorie Girres. Also returning as the letterwinners are juniors Dakota Hovinga and Tasha Neilson, giving Alesch and Assistant Coach Tiffany Johnston a fairly experienced front row.
“Currently, our strengths are positioned at the service and attack lines,” Alesch noted. “Thus far in practice, I have seen some great power from these ladies. I believe that we also have some qualities of quickness and endurance that will be crucial in close situations. We do have some work to do with reception and positioning, but this will come with practice.“
Newcomers to the Knight varsity squad will include seniors Keisha Meyer, Alex Rehm and Jassi Mehregani, along with sophomore Lindsay Flaharty.
Also reporting for drills this season are Gabby Kerr, Hailley Nelson, Alissa Simington, Nikki Brown, Skye Simonsen, Callie Herke, Kayla Smith, Morgan Matthews, Morgan Mortensen, Logan Clabaugh, Kristina Girres and Leah Bisenius.
“We are striving to achieve team unity with our senior leadership from last year gone,” Alesch noted. “I am expecting our current seniors to come together as one and lead our team practices with intensity and integrity.“
While Alesch admits that a successful season is one with more wins than losses, there are other measures of success for a team.
“Each day, I see a great deal of progress, but teamwork is such an important ‘skill’ in this game that improvement is needed for the Knights to be successful this year,” Alesch said. “Being fairly new to the world of coaching, I’m still trying to add different offensive strategies to our game plan, but I believe we first need to master the fundamentals. We’re getting closer, however, and I hope to also take advantage of the talent my front line has to offer.”