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Volleyball: 1993 state champion players comment on Coach Praschak

This is the Somerset volleyball team that won the 1993 WIAA state championship.

The WIAA state championship won by the Somerset volleyball team in 1993 was the first team state title in Somerset School District history.

A few of the players from that team were asked to comment on Coach Sarah Praschak, the influence she had on that team and the influence she had on their lives. Here are their comments.

Alicia (Klinger) Anderson

"Sarah was not only a coach for me. She was someone who guided me in life outside of volleyball.

She made magic happen. She took a bunch of pieces, put them together, and found a way to make them work in perfect harmony.

She knew what you were capable of before you even knew it yourself.

She pushed you to your limits to be the best you could be.

She brought excitement to every game, every play."

Sara (Trautmiller) Eichten

"Sarah's passion for the game and her all-in, all-the-time attitude made her fun to play for! Her constant jumping up and down drove other coaches/players nuts, but as her athlete, it fueled my fire for the game. Additionally, she believed in us as players and even though we were underdogs that year, she never coached us that way. I think from that team at least four of us went on to play some level of college ball."

Brea (Belisle) Bradshaw

"I can hardly think about Coach Praschak sitting still.....she was never still. Not that a coach would be, but she was constantly running around the court, hitting, throwing, passing balls for us to field. Her mouth was never still either. Always yelling advice, corrections, and of course, encouragement. When it came to game time you could just tell that the "coach sits on the bench" rule was nearly killing her. Her butt would be touching the bench, but that's about it. She was usually crouched over so low her head was level with the bench, arms outstretched, feet barely on the ground watching every play as if she was out there playing herself. If something good happened she would jump up like the bench was on fire, hands clapping wildly, calling out your name to tell you great job. She didn't just jump up once or twice, but EVERY game, EVERY good spike, save, or point we earned. (We had a lot of good games the year we won state...!)

She has a competitive spirit that wasn't overbearing like you were scared to lose, but you definitely wanted to fight to win! Infectiously competitive she still hugged you after games---win OR lose.

I still think back to the year we won state (1993) with fond memories. All of our coaches were so invested in our success. Coach Driscoll, Paulus, Potter. Praschak. Coach Praschak wears her emotions on her sleeve. She seemed to have so much faith in us winning that we actually believed in ourselves! That also may have been an Oscar winning acting performance on her part, but it didn't matter, we still managed to believe her. Her energy was endless. I can't imagine a better coach for that particular year and for all of my time at Somerset playing volleyball. Those that came after us were so lucky to have her and I'm sure they felt that way too!

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for more than 30 years.

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