2010 Preview: Spartan volleyball can take next step to top of MBCThe Somerset volleyball team finished second in the Middle Border Conference a year ago. And the Spartans recognize that the door is open to them to take the step up to the top spot in the conference.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Somerset volleyball team finished second in the Middle Border Conference a year ago.
And the Spartans recognize that the door is open to them to take the step up to the top spot in the conference.
The Spartans finished 5-2 in the MBC standings last year, in second place behind New Richmond. While the Spartans graduated three all-conference players, New Richmond graduated nine seniors, so the Tigers will have to do some rebuilding this season.
Somerset’s girls do have some experienced players returning. Leading that group is senior Karli Solum, who was an honorable mention All-MBC middle hitter last season. Somerset coach Sarah Praschak said Solum has improved her play this season.
“She stepped up her blocking and she’s really hitting the ball better,” Praschak said.
Also returning to the varsity lineup are seniors Ashley Martell and Alicia Siggens. Martell returns at an outside hitter position, where she’s learned to hit more to all areas of the court.
The Spartan coaches believe Siggens ranks with the best defensive players in the conference. As the team’s libero, Siggens will get used in all three back row positions.
The fourth senior on the team is Tessa Marty. She will join Siggens as a back row specialist. She’ll also step in and set balls when setter Anna Marson is forced to take the first pass.
Marson, a junior, takes over at setter. She’s been a setter all the way through the team’s system and the coaches are comfortable that she’s ready to handle all the sets in the team’s 5-1 system.
“Anna’s got beautiful hands,” Praschak said. “We’re expecting her to be our quarterback.”
The rest of the junior class will make its presence known in the front row. Bridget Kieckhoefer, Ellie Vanasse and Lizzy Vanasse are all expected to make big contributions at the net. Kieckhoefer and Lizzy Vanasse will be outside hitters, with Vanasse also seeing action in the back row. Ellie Vanasse is a powerful blocker who will be counted on to be a force in the middle.
The eighth member of the varsity is sophomore Sarah Northey. Northey is a quick, versatile player who could see action in any of the three front row spots.
Praschak acknowledges that carrying eight players on the varsity means the girls must be ready to play for each match. She said this leaves places on the varsity for girls at the junior varsity to prove they deserve to be elevated to the varsity.
“It’s really a unique group, they all bring strengths to the team,” Praschak said of the 2010 Spartans.
Praschak said she wants the team to continue to refine its basic skills, while continuing to grow and improve. She said if the team can do that, anything is possible.
“The door is open. I think it’s open in the conference,” Praschak said. “It’s in their hands.”