ELK MOUND — When there are usually more than 50 girls at the high school level out for volleyball each fall in Elk Mound, you can bet there is a lot of talent rising to the top to play at the varsity level each year. Nine seniors, two who saw action for three years, were part of a team that reached a regional final twice, won the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title once and were the runner up in the conference twice.
Elly Friberg and Elizabeth Schreiber were three year varsity players and helped the Mounders win the conference championship as sophomores with a 9-0 record. They then reached the regional final with wins over Whitehall and Colfax before losing to Eau Claire Regis in three sets in the regional final. Playing two years for Elk Mound were Morgan Polden, Rachel Caron, Moriah Mauer, Katie Benson and Dayna Kotecki while Leia Kufahl and Katie Gerber moved up to varsity for their senior year. As juniors, the Mounders were second in the conference with a 7-2 record and played probably their best match of the year when they beat an always powerful La Crosse Aquinas team in five sets in the second round of regionals. They lost the regional final to Arcadia however, in three sets. Although they lost only one set in conference play until the last match against Colfax as seniors, the Mounders ended up 8-1 for second place after a five set loss to the Vikings, then ended the season with a loss to Regis yet again, this time in a regional semi-final game.
Friberg spent a lot of time near the net in her three years, scoring on 366 kills with 208 as a senior which was second for the team. She totaled 119 solo blocks, leading the team with 44 as a junior and was second this year with 75. But she also played big at the back of the court, serving up 78 aces with 48 as a junior and collecting 325 digs all together. She was a First Team All Conference pick this year and Honorable Mention as a junior.
Schreiber came up with 341 kills in her three years and was third on the team in both her junior and senior seasons with 154 and 175 respectively. She served up eight aces with seven this year and also had 12 solo blocks as a senior and totaled 249 digs with 138 as a senior. She was a First team All Conference selection this year for her efforts.
Polden had two extremely strong years for the Mounders and was a Second Team All Conference pick as a junior and was First Team this year. Polden was another player who worked all areas of the court and led the team in kills this year with 224 and in digs with 315. Totals for her two seasons were 412 kills, 46 ace serves, 20 solo blocks and 451 digs.
Caron spent a lot of time on the floor diving and saving points as a back row specialist and led the team in digs as a junior with 235 and was third this year with 278 for a two year total of 513. She added six kills and 33 aces for her career and was a Second Team AC selection this year.
Kotecki spent a lot of time in the front row doing another job which was setting her teammates up for all those kills. She led the Mounders in assists this season with 481 and was second as a junior with 154 for a grand total of 635. She did plenty of work from the back row too, as she was second this year in ace serves with 36 and fifth in digs with 210. She finished her career with 53 aces, 285 digs and three solo blocks. Kotecki was a Second Team AC pick for her efforts this year.
Mauer totaled 145 kills, 85 digs, 11 assists and 28 solo blocks in her two years. She was fifth on the team with 80 kills as a junior and tied for second with 17 solo blocks that year. She did most of her work in the back row this season with 67 digs but also had 11 blocks up front.
Benson played a little of everything as she totaled 41 kills in her two years with 24 as a junior, and added seven aces, 20 digs and 11 solo blocks as a valuable back up player.
Kufahl became a very reliable setter for the team as a senior and was second in assists with 348, but also dug up 124 balls to save points, served up 34 aces and slammed 12 kills.
Gerber saw limited action in her two years but as a senior came up with five digs and a pair of service aces.
After the final loss to Regis this year, Donna Weix, the head coach for the Mounders for over 25 years, commented on the team.
“The girls worked hard in every game and practice,” she said. “People measure a team’s success on the outcome of games which means wins and losses, but being successful should be about a lot more. Determination, flexibility, cooperation, strength and inner self worth are just a few things that also measure success. The team represented themselves, the team, the school and community in a fashion where everyone should be proud of them. They may have lost some big matches by the score but they are all winners and I am proud of them,” she added.