ELK MOUND — Positive team chemistry has given the Elk Mound volleyball team a solid foundation to open the year.
The Mounders return five letterwinners from a season ago and Elk Mound coach Samantha Stelter said the group can solely focus improving their volleyball skills as they already have a strong feel of how to play together.
“We’re starting off with great team chemistry. There is a lot of teams that bring in really high-skilled athletes, knowledgeable athletes but they don’t always mesh well on the court,” Stelter said. “The chemistry is a mature chemistry with this group something you might see at the end of the season.”
Elk Mound went 23-9 overall last year and 7-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix. Stelter expects to once again be in the mix near the end of the season for the conference title. To do so they will need a few additions to seamlessly add to the returning core as the Mounders must replace some key pieces from last season.
Gone is Morgan Radtke who was a first team all-state selection by the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association and the Dunn-St. Croix player of the year. Elk Mound is also without second team all-conference selection Abigail Curry and fellow departed senior Qwynn Tyman.
Kortnee Halgren is back after a first team all-conference selection a year ago to once again set for the Mounder offense.
Mckenna Diermeier, Maggie Bartig. Hailey Blaskowski and Sophie Cedarblade return all looking to show more improvement with another year of varsity experience.
“This group of returners has really taken on the leadership role which has been important for those incoming kids who really don’t have any varsity experience,” Stelter said.
“Really just really trying to bridge the gap and help them settle in and become accustomed to the varsity game and they’ve done a great job in doing so.”
Tessa Tyman, Morgan Kinblom, Susan Marquardt and Lexi Nechanicky look to join the fold and contribute this season. Stelter said Tyman is already making an impact defensively near the net and Marquardt brings a lot of power from her outside hitter position. Kinblom will step in defensively and Nechanicky has provided some versatility.
Elk Mound hosted a quad on Tuesday and will travel for an invitational hosted by La Crosse Aquinas on Saturday.
Veteran Colfax group looks to continue conference dominance
Returning nine seniors Colfax has high expectations.
The group was 27-8 overall and 8-0 in the Dunn.-St. Croix winning the conference championship for the sixth straight year.
“This group of seniors has been extremely loyal to this program, dedicated to this program,” Colfax coach Pamela Meredith said. “They have put a lot of time which is why there volleyball IQ is so high.”
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Three first team all-conference players are back to anchor the Vikings. Kameri Meredith was an all-state honorable mention by the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association. She is joined by Samantha Pretasky and Rachel Scharlau. Jozie Buchanan was named second team all-conference a year ago.
Colfax also brings back seniors Taylor Irwin, Addy Olson, Kali Risler and Morgan Jensen. Senior transfer Taylor Gedatus has been added to the roster.
Junior Bailey Bradford and sophomore Madison Barstad are underclassmen who will see time on the court this year.
Colfax has goals of adding to its conference title streak and a long playoff run. To do so Meredith said the group must stay focused all season. On Thursday the Vikings hold a triangular with Ellsworth and Clayton. Colfax begins conference play Sept. 19 by hosting Elmwood/Plum City.
“We have some athletic team members but sometimes we always willing to take the shortcut and we had a good discussion with them that we need you to buy in to really playing hard and doing the best you can because why wouldn’t you,” Meredith said.
Boyceville looks to climb the conference standings
With seven returners Boyceville is looking to climb the standings in the Dunn-St. Croix this season.
After going 7-14 overall and 3-5 in the conference last year Boyceville coach Keri Peterson believes they have the depth and returning talent to fight to closer to the top of the Dunn-St. Croix after a sixth place finish in 2018.
“With as many experienced players as we have, we will work hard to make that dream a reality,” Peterson said of climbing the standings. “We’re tired of being at the bottom of the conference and believe we can perform better than that.”
Boyceville has five seniors to anchor the lineup led by Hannah Johnson an honorable mention all-conference performer last year. The Bulldogs also welcome the return of Taylor Grambow who missed much of 2018 with a knee injury.“She is hungry to get back in the game and play. She has a lot to offer our team and will be an offensive threat,” Peterson said of Grambow. “She has the ability to be a game changer on our team.”
Emma Ouellette is back as the team’s most experienced setter while seniors Emma Bygd and Megan Hintzman provide depth. Juniors Kady Grambow and Chrissa Kersten return with another year of varsity experience.
Boyceville is also expected to get contributions new additions sophomores Libby Bygd, Ella Holden and Torrie Bland.
“They are young and inexperienced in varsity play, but will fill some gaps in our lineup,” Peterson said. “I expect all three to contribute in positive ways and make our team stronger.”
Boyceville hosted Chetek-Weyerhaeuser on Tuesday and travels to Fall Creek for an invitational on Thursday.