The leaders behind Shawano’s conference-winning team

Hawks tie for title for first time since 2000
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Contributed Photo Shawano Community High School junior Bayleigh Laabs sets up senior Brandi Gueths for an attack during a Hawks volleyball game this season. Laabs earned first team all-conference honors and Gueths earned honorable mention.

The Shawano volleyball team won a share of the Bay Conference championship this season for the first time since 2000.

The Hawks (27-9, 5-2 Bay) tied with Xavier and Seymour for the top spot.

The players and coach attribute much of the team’s success to its closeness and the leadership of its top four players.
Averi Vomastic, Brandi Gueths, Bayleigh Laabs and Julia Klement combined for 265 points across their seven conference matches and all earned all-conference awards.

“We knew they were going to be good players for us, but they’ve really changed the way the whole team works,” head coach Breanna Young said. “They just continue to excel and prove their true potential. They’re all our leaders, and the girls look up to them and play harder because of it.”

The four starters have helped bring the team together.

“What I’ve seen change most is the closeness of our team,” said Gueths, a senior middle blocker. “Being close, we can trust and depend on each other, and that’s hugely improved how we’ve played this year.”

Klement, a junior, agreed.

“This year, compared to last year, it’s amazing how close we are,” she said. “Our team has just been so much more positive, and that helps everyone become a better player and dedicated to putting their best on the court.”

Vomastic, a senior outside hitter who has been on varsity for four years, accounted for 21 service aces, 78 kills and 50 digs in Bay play. She was co-player of the year in the Bay and was named to the all-conference first team.

“Personally, I’ve become a lot more positive on the team and way more vocal,” she said. “I like being someone that others can come to and depend on to be a positive leader.”

Vomastic commended her team for putting in extra work leading up to the season.

“It helps that the majority of our team has played in the offseason, so everyone is getting extra touches,” she said. “It’s really improved our game overall this year.”

Laabs, a first-team all-conference setter, tallied 139 assists, 13 service aces, 26 kills and 64 digs.

“I think honing in on the game more and understanding it better has really helped me since I started on varsity freshman year,” she said. “It gives me more confidence to not overthink plays and also to just play harder.”

Klement, who joined varsity last year, tallied 66 kills, 12 service aces and 39 digs to earn a spot on the all-conference first team.

“I think we’ve really upped our intensity in practice,” she said. “We have the mentality that we don’t let anything go — no dropped balls, nothing. We work as hard as we can to help improve us no matter what play comes up in a game. And all the girls have that mentality, so we know we’re all giving 100 percent.”

Gueths, a three-year starter and all-conference honorable mention, recorded 36 kills, 13 service aces and 27 digs in conference matchups.

“I started to become more of a vocal leader this year,” Gueths said. “My sophomore year I was really shy and quiet on the court, but now I’m talking more and not afraid to be vocal and do my part as a senior on the team.”

The Hawks, a fourth-seed, won their first game of the WIAA Division 2 tourney on Tuesday and face No. 5 Oconto Falls on Thursday in a regional semifinal.

“This is our year,” Vomastic said. “We all have the exact same goal of going to state. We’ve proved that this year with how hard we’ve played and winning tournaments and conference champs — there’s no reason why we can’t get to state.”