Seeking another SCC title
It is hard for Donna (Lee) Nawrocki to contain her enthusiasm for the soon to open 2009 Blue Earth Area volleyball season.
As the Buccaneers head coach, she feels this is going to be a fun year for Blue Earth volleyball.
“Volleyball is always fun, of course,” she says. “But this year we are going to have a different style on the court. It will be very noticeable, and it will make us very competitive.”
The Bucs lost only two graduated seniors from last year’s squad – which went a perfect 10-0 in the South Central Conference.
But they were two key players; outside hitter Danika Stindtman, and setter Kirsten Johanson.
“We will definitely miss those two, but I think we have girls ready to step in and fill the holes,” Nawrocki says.
The Bucs have 14 girls on the varsity, and all but one are either seniors or juniors. There are 39 girls out in grades 7-12.
Brenda Smith returns as B-squad coach, and Sarah Albright returns after a one year absence as C-squad coach.
“This is the first year out of my five as head coach that we have had this much depth of talent and versatility on our team,” Nawrocki says. “Versatility means we can specialize a lot more on the court. We have a lot of good role players.”
The Bucs are blessed with a group of tall girls, and Nawrocki will move them in on the front court. Plus, they have a group of skilled players for the back row as well.
Fans will see the Bucs run a 6-2 formation, with two setters. Both Morgan Dickman, a senior, and junior Ashley Olson have court experience at several positions. Olson was out with an injury all of last season, but had an excellent year as a sophomore, and was an all-conference libero. Dickman was all-conference last season.
The team will look to senior Kate Hassing, junior Sydney Ristau and sophomore Jenny Smith to lead them at the net.
Other seniors on the team are Mariah Cooke, Hayley Pirsig, Theresa Claeys and Carrie Stebakken.
Juniors include Maddie McDonald, Katie Krieger, Charlotte Haugh, Katrina Zingler and Carly Hyland.
“It is a great group of girls,” Nawrocki says. “They have terrific attitudes, and are all very competitive. There is a great atmosphere with this team.”
The team was at an inter-conference scrimmage last week, and Nawrocki liked what she saw.
To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.