ELK MOUND — After losing a ton of talent from last year’s Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship team, including several multi year All Conference players, the Elk Mound volleyball team hopes they can fill these spots and finish at the top of the conference in 2013. After finishing 9-0 in conference play with their only loss to Colfax, the Mounders beat Whitehall, and Colfax again in the regional tournament, before falling to Eau Claire Regis in the regional final.
Head coach Donna Weix, beginning her 25th season leading the team, knows it will be a tough task after players such as Becca Kopp, Maddy Polden, Kaysi Meindel, Katie Bergh, Kylynn Simon, Amanda Ward, Anne Kendzierski and Ali Hill-Zurbuchen graduated. (Kopp is the starting libero for the Riverside Community College volleyball team in southern Minnesota this fall). But six seniors return along with 11 juniors, most of which honed their skills by playing club volleyball during the off season.
Seniors include MaKenna Borofka, Carissa Wiesser, Mattie Pitts, Kyra Anderson, Katie Johnson and Anna Sessions. Johnson is a letter winner and was the second leading setter on the team last season while Anderson, Pitts and Sessions also earned letters as juniors. Rounding out the varsity at this point are juniors Amy Hoffman, Katie Gerber, Rachel Caron, Elly Friberg, Lizzie Schreiber, Katie Benson, Leia Kufahl, Moriah Mauer, Morgan Polden, Lexi DeLong, Lexi Peterson and Dayna Kotecki. Friberg and Schreiber have varsity experience having lettered last season.
“It’s going to be tough, but our girls have set their goal on a conference title,” Weix said. “They are really a hustling team and work together well. But they have to build on their confidence level and believe they are capable of hitting the ball hard on the offensive side. We will know a lot more about ourselves after we play in some early tournaments. Right now, we have so many girls who are equally talented because of the extra time they put in before the season starts, it’s hard to say who will make up the varsity,” she added.
With 45 girls out this fall, the Mounders will have three junior varsity teams that will rotate on the game schedule. Assisting Weix and coaching this large group of underclassmen are Jenny Garnett, Darla Diermeier and Wende Kasakaitas. Weix expects Colfax and Mondovi to be the teams to beat in conference play and they will find out pretty early about the Vikings as they travel to Colfax for their first conference match Sept. 17 after competing in three tournaments, starting Aug. 30 at the Menomonie Sprawl.