COLFAX — So just how does a coach replace five players from a team that won both a conference championship and a regional title a year ago?
One of those players ended up with the all time school record in kills and was a two time Conference Player of the Year (Kori Buchanan), another was a four year varsity starter and second leading setter as a senior (Dannielle Dachel), one was second on the team in kills (Chey Olson), and two others combined for over 300 digs (Katie Christoffel and Courtney Ottinger).
That is the question Pam Meredith will need to answer if the Vikings intend to win a third consecutive conference championship and advance deep into the playoffs this year. With just a few players back with some varsity experience, Meredith, who begins her ninth year leading Colfax, will rely on her daughter Lakken, a senior who led the team in assists last year, to continue in the role as setter. Another senior, Marianne Scharlau, vastly improved through the course of her junior season at the net and will fill the middle hitter spot, and junior Bryana Buchanan saw plenty of action in the back row a year ago. But from there on, it will be a battle to fill the rest of the varsity.
Seniors Kristi Hagen and Serena Secraw along with juniors Aaliyah Black, Kalley Hagen, Erin Nellessen, Madyson Decker and Megan Schleusner will be pushing for a varsity spot. Sophomores RyAnna Martinson, Tamara Huffman, Becca Lee, McKayla Moore and Makayla Mattson will be in the mix and filling out the squad are freshmen Alyssa Dachel, Kyah Quast, Mckenna Yingst, Taylor Meyer, Elizabeth Affolter, Madison Shipley, Trinity Krueger, Savannah Hinrichs, Emma Hurlburt, Katie Albricht and Kaitlyn Field.
“Every year we have to deal with replacing some very talented players,” coach Meredith said. “But we just have to move on and worry about this year’s team. We are going to need strong leadership from our seniors to help the underclassmen step up at the varsity level. We have a lot of talent out here and we are still working on figuring out who will play where,” she added.
Meredith expects Elk Mound to be competitive in conference play even though they lost a ton of players from last year.
“But Mondovi usually has a very tough team and we are not sure about Durand,” she said. “Glenwood City has some very good athletes and they should be better this year. We will have to get things together quickly and play our best in every match if we want to retain our conference title,” she said.
Assisting Meredith is Linda Bilodeau and Lori Buchanan. Colfax will host a quad meet Aug. 25 then plays at the UW-Stout Sprawl Aug. 28-29.