Several area teams expecting deep postseason runs

Season matches can start on Aug. 21
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With a full week of practice in the books, area volleyball teams are just about ready to hits the courts.

Some teams are coming off strong seasons while other programs are looking to build an identity. Games start Aug. 21.

Shawano

The Hawks are coming off one of their better seasons in recent memory after compiling a 32-11 record and 5-2 mark in the Bay Conference to claim a share of the title last year.

While the team will be without the services of co-player of the year Averi Vomastic and Brandi Gueths, an honorable mention all-conference selection, it still returns plenty of talent.

Senior outside hitter Julia Klement and senior setter Bayleigh Laabs were each first team all-conference picks last year while junior libero Kyra Klement was a second team all-conference pick.

Along with the trio of all-conference players, Shawano will also bring back junior middle hitter Abi Vomastic and sophomore middle hitter Rachel Reed, who each started last year. Senior Tori DePerry started last year and will help provide leadership for some of the younger players.

Bonduel

The Bonduel volleyball team is hoping for a bounce back season after going 3-3 in Central Wisconsin Conference-East Division play last year. The Bears were eliminated from the postseason by Wittenberg-Birnamwood.

The Bears lost first-team all-conference setter Brynn Reinke but return two other all-conference players in seniors Mckenzie Wollenberg (outside hitter) and Grace Petcka (middle hitter). Senior middle hitter Kylie Guenther is the team’s other returning starter.

Sophomore Halea Sporisky and junior Mandi McClone figure to serve bigger roles on the team, which coach Kimberly Strayer sees a lot of promise in.

“With three returning varsity starters, we expect to be toward the top of our conference this season and make a deeper run into the tournament,” Strayer said. “We were pleasantly surprised at the hard-working, athletic, and talented freshmen that joined our program this season. Although we have a lot of work to do, we have so much potential.”

Gresham

Coach Tim Wild and the Gresham volleyball program seem to be improving every season. Last year, the Wildcats posted a 21-7 record overall and 5-1 mark to claim the CWC-North crown. Gresham had its season ended in a sectional semifinal clash against Florence.

The team lost four all-conference athletes from last year’s team, leaving junior Karisa Nietzer as the team’s only returning starter and all-conference selection. She hopes to lead the team to an even better year this fall.

“I plan to help everyone out as much as I can,” Nietzer said. “I stay after with the setters to help them with placing sets and improving their skills, the upperclassmen and I are trying to help everyone out as much as we can, whether it’s passing or rotation.”

Seniors Tiana Ferguson, Savana Olsen and Kennedy Hoffman give the young team some experience and leadership.

Tigerton

Finishing just a game behind Gresham in the CWC-North standings was Tigerton, which earned a No. 8 seed and was upset by ninth-seeded Bowler in the playoffs.

The Tigers return each of their all-conference selections to the court this fall, led by first teamer Monika Minniecheske, a senior. Jaidan Miller and Kelsi Shumaker, both seniors, also started and made the all-conference team last fall. With the senior trio leading the charge, coach Holly Meverden and the Tigers believe they can finish in the top-three in the conference.

“A lot of the other teams lost a lot of their senior starters and we are returning with three players with at least two years of varsity experience,” Minniecheske said, “To be back in the top three we will have to come together as not only a team but a family.”

After playing on varsity last year, sophomore Savannah Swartz will try and help fill in one of the voids in the starting lineup.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood

The 2017 volleyball season was a success for Wittenberg-Birnamwood, which posted a 6-0 mark to claim the newly formed CWC-East title. The Chargers also won the conference tournament and advanced to a WIAA regional final before falling to second-seeded St. Mary Catholic.

Despite the graduation of several seniors and a season-ending injury to Abi Fraaza, a second team all-conference selection last year, coach Becky Rew and the Chargers have high aspirations.

Much of the team’s optimism is centered on the return of juniors Marissa Groshek and Elizabeth Muscha, who each earned first-team all-conference honors last year.

Senior defensive specialist Olivia Zoromski and sophomore setter Mckenna Metropulos both got some varsity experience last year and will be counted upon as key players this year.

Bowler

After a .500 conference record last year, coach Brad Brei believes Bowler is on the rise.

The Panthers return senior Jada Waters, a second team all-conference pick, and juniors Kayla Pecore and Ireland DeRoos from last year’s starting lineup.

Senior Jodi Wolf and juniors Brooke Theix and Alyssa Strassburg help round out an experienced group of upperclassmen. Sophomores Skye Breitrick and Tynea Johnson are expected to see more time on the court.

Menominee Indian

After struggling in conference play last year, coach Jackson Miller expects his experienced roster to surprise several teams this fall.

Second team all-conference selection Jalen Corn, a senior, will lead the team into the season. Seniors Marlee Waupoose and Kaylee Helms and junior Alyssa Corn also started last year for the Eagles.

Sophomores Mimi Beaulieu and Kay-li Corn and junior Joli Shawanokasic also bring back plenty of varsity experience.

Clintonville

After a 2-7 run through the North Eastern Conference and the graduation of several players, Clintonville appears to be in a rebuilding stage. Coach Stephanie Pinno still sees plenty of reasons for optimism heading into the season.

“We have seen tremendous growth from our girls compared to where we ended last season,” Pinno said. “We see a friendship on this team, where communication is high and will keep our feet on the ground during those tough matches.”

Seniors Allysin Booth and Chelsey Birling and junior Lindsy Carpenter return starting experience from last year’s team.

Marion

After winless 2016 and 2017 seasons, Marion will need to turn things around with a young team.

“Being a young team and coming off of two years of not having a win, we are hoping to shake things up,” first-year coach Taylor Schoen said. “Having only two seniors and being a very young team will be a struggle. But we are hoping to change some things up this year and see how the season goes.”

Senior Kendra Barrow and juniors Tessa Brei, Kyla Zillmer and Isabella Malueg all started for the Mustangs last year. Senior Madison Freeman and sophomore Bailey Malueg, Skyler Lockman and Ellen Radies all will see time on the court.