Central Nebraska Volleyball
New head coach for Holdrege
After a 6-22 season last year, Ashley Axmann will take the reigns of the Lady Duster volleyball team. Axmann likes the makeup of this squad. "We have a very eager group of girls who are ready to enhance their fundamental skills," said Axmann. "We have already put in a great amount of hard work this summer individually and as a team. We have a group of seniors that have the desire to improve and lead us. I have very high expectations for this group of girls and believe we have the ability to achieve many things," Axmann added.
A couple of the top returns for Holdrege will be Caitlin Peining Natalie Janssen (5-7, Sr., MH). The Lady Dusters will start their season on August 31st against Kearney.
Elwood looks to continue success
Last season the Lady Pirates of Elwood finished the year with a record of 18-12. Elwood has also had recent success in the past couple of seasons as they made it to the district finals the past two seasons. In school history, Elwood has only made it to the district finals four times total in school history.
Elwood returns a wealth of experience from the past teams that have had a lot of success. Baylee Diefenbaugh (5-9, Jr., MH) had a good season last year as she recorded 106 kills and 43 blocks. Diefenbaugh is a two-year starter and will bring experience to the team. Felicia Knoerzer will also be back for the Lady Pirates as she is one of the top players in the area. The 5-8, senior, and outside hitter recorded 360 kills last season and 416 digs. Knoerzer also received a number of honors including 1st team all-conference.
Head coach Lori Knoerzer is excited about this upcoming season. "I am excited about this volleyball season as the dedication and determination of this year’s team leads me to believe that we will be competitive and have the success these young ladies are hungry for," said Knoerzer. Elwood
Axtell looking for leadership in seniors, youth to step up
Axtell has had a number of good years on the volleyball court and this year they will be expecting the same. The Lady Wildcats graduated a number of athletes from last years 25-4 roster, but head coach Brad Nelson notes there are some experienced players on his roster. We lost a number of players that started for many years. However, we return many players who gained valuable experience last season. We have a strong core of senior players who will have to set the tone for our team," said Nelson.
Nelson also noted that younger players will need to be ready to step up this season, "Our young players will have to be ready to step in and contribute immediately for us to be successful this year." The Lady Wildcats will be led by seniors Caitlin Callan (OH) and Emme Nickel (S). Axtell will begin the season on August 31st against Elm Creek.
New coach for Lady Haymakers
Neleigh Hall will be taking the reigns of the Cozad Lady Haymaker squad that finished the season at 9-19 last season. Hall inherits a team with a lot of experience including eight that have starting experience on the court.
Hall discusses the talent and experience she has on her team this season. "One great thing about our season is we did not graduate anyone last year. Our juniors who had to step up as leaders last year are now senior leaders. We have a lot of experience and talent coming back. With our returning starters coming back, along with our returning letter winners, we can keep moving forward this season without having to revise our line-up. I believe this season is the season that Cozad Volleyball is going to make a statement," said Hall.
Some of the key contributors this season will be seniors Sadie Rush, Kennedy Berreckman, Hanna Wright, and Bri Valenzuela. The Lady Haymakers will start the season on August 31st against Southern Valley.
Lady Swedes return nine letter winners
Gothenburg will look to improve off of their 13-20 record last season as they return nine letter winners and seven athletes with starting experience. Head coach Bryson Mahlberg likes the makeup of his team. "We return quite a bit of experience from last year. I look for those players to step up as leaders throughout the season to make us competitive." Arleigh Costello is one of the top returning athletes as the senior was a first team SWC team member in her junior campaign. Costello also recorded 339 kills last season.
Mahlburg also is looking for his team to be consistent. Mahlberg had this to say about his team's consistency, "We must develop into playing high-level volleyball consistently. If we can do that I think we can be competitive with the teams on our schedule. "Gothenburg will open the season on August 31st against Broken Bow.
Team continuity to be key for Lady Knights this year
Eustis-Farnam finished last season with a record of 11-16. This year will be interesting for the Lady Knights as they will be very young. Head coach Trista Koch looks for team chemistry to be key for the Lady Knights this season. "I’m excited to see how our season progresses and shakes out. We have an incredible team culture amongst our players this year who are very supportive and encouraging of each other. Our senior setter, Sammy Jack, brings a composed and motivating sense of leadership to the court that will serve our otherwise inexperienced and young team very well. I expect this year to be very much a building year, yet I also expect this young group to be competitive. They have worked hard all summer and they have already surprised me in how mature and ambitious they are on the court. My expectations on the season have definitely increased since school released last spring," said Koch.
Eustis-Farnam competes in the Fort Kearney Conference and coach Koch mentioned how tough the area competition will be this season. "We have a lot of tough teams in our conference every year. Being a young team, I would say any team we play who has experienced players is going to be tough for that reason alone. With that being said, I feel that our players are coachable and adapt very quickly and I expect us to be competitive," said Koch. The Lady Knights will begin the season on August 31st against Axtell.
Wealth of experience returns for Bertrand this season
Bertrand will look to continue the success they have had the in recent years as the Lady Vikings return five starters from last years 20-9 record. At the end of the season, last year Bertrand finished ninth in the Lincoln Journal Star so the expectations are high. Head coach Lisa Mason says the Lady Vikings will need to improve their passing game if they want to be successful this season.
Some of the top returning players for Bertrand are Halle Dahlgren (5-6, Sr., MH) and Kaitlyn Ryan (5-7, Sr. MH). Dahlgren last season had 194 kills and 311 digs. Ryan finished last season with 761 assists and 195 digs. Bertrand will begin the season on August 31st against Cambridge.
Lady Warriors return solid core
SEM returns experience
SEM last season finished the year with a record of 8-21. The Lady Mustangs though will be much improved as they return seven different players with starting experience. Mikayla Dittmar (5-6. Sr., S) and Erica Eacker (5-6, Sr., OH) each have three years of starting experience. Dittmar had a solid year last year with a 95.9% serving efficiency, 359 set assists, and 148 digs. Eacker also had good numbers recording 38 ace serves, 154 kills, and 153 digs.
Fourth-year head coach Erika Kappel had a number of things to look for this season. "We will have experience on our side this year. We return two seniors that have started since they were freshman (Erica Kappel and Mikayla Dittmar) and these girls have played a lot of volleyball together. Lindsey Dittmarreturns in the middle and has also started since she was a freshman. We also have some younger girls that saw a lot of varsity playing time last year and have really improved over the summer," said Kappel.
Kappel says height may be an issue but there are other qualities the team will not have to worry about. "What we lack in height, we should make up for in our passing game. That was a big focus for us the last two years and they have greatly improved that part of their game. Sara Ripp had a great summer and off season and I look to see her make a big impact in the middle or on the right side this year. I have a lot of options this year as to how I can start and where I can put girls to help us succeed. I have seven or eight girls that really should start varsity and at this time I don’t know which ones will for sure. That’s a very good problem to have." The Lady Mustangs will open the season on August 31st against Wilcox-Hildreth.
Minutemaids return four starters
Lexington struggled last season as they posted a 1-29 record. The Minutemaids though return four starters to their squad. Those starters are Hope Dowling (S, Sr.), Hanna Brock (OH, Sr.), Jennifer Nava ( MH, Sr.), and Theresa Aquire (Libero, Sr.).
Taking over at head coach will be Samantha Hammond. Hammond likes the athletes and potential of this team. "We have some great athletes this year and I am really looking forward to watching them continue to improve their volleyball skills. This season we look to build our program and to grow into a great program. We will never get out worked and our focus is to get better every day. Lexington will open the season on August 31st against Minden.
Lady Wolves return experience
Lady Cardinals return five starters
Alma returns five starters from last years 18-11 squad. Head coach Marcus Ehrke believes his squad this season will be solid. "We should be a very competitive team in every game this year. We have experience in all our key positions and have been working on our skills throughout the spring. One of the go-to players this season will be senior middle-hitter Jaydn Heckenlively. Last season Heckinlively earned All-RPAC honors last season. Senior setter Madalyn Bruh will also play a pivotal role this season as well for the Lady Cardinals. Alma will begin the season on August 31st against Cambridge.
Lady Buffaloes looking to flip the switch this season
After a season that was somewhat of a disappointment last year (9-18) head coach Brandi McCarter expects more for 2017. "Every season I hold my expectations of our team very high. We always set our goals, as a team, to achieve the conference finals, the state tournament, etc, I don't look for that to change," said McCarter. McCarter went on to say, "We lost three seniors so we do have some shoes to fill, but we do have a nice group that I believe is confident and ready to accept that challenge."
Top returners for Elm Creek are Asia Ourada (5-4 Sr.) and Allison Bauer (5-6 Jr.). Elm Creek will begin the season with a triangular with Eustis-Farnam and Axtell on August 31st.
Southern Valley returns wealth of experience
Southern Valley finished last season with a final record of 25-4 and it seems as if they have some unfinished business. The Lady Eagles return five starters from last year's squad with some of the top contributors being Cassie Bose (5-8, MH, Sr.) and Lauryn Samuelson (6-1, MH, So.).
Entering her third year as head coach of the Lady Eagles, Jessie Thalheim is excited for what this year could hold."We have a great amount of leadership and passion from our seniors. They do not expect less than 100% effort and really want to get down to state and do something special this year. We are replacing a four-year starting setter, but we have a lot of young girls stepping up and who are mentally ready to play at the next level," said Thalheim.
Southern Valley will begin the season on August 31st against Cozad.
Lady Eagles Fall at State
Lady Wildcats End Season In Second Round of Subs
Elwood Falls in District Title Game
Behind the strong play of sisters, Mary and Morgan Nibbe 8th ranked Red Cloud (24-4) was too much for Elwood as they swept the Pirates 25-22, 25-14, 25-19 in the D2-4 District Final on Thursday night. The Nibbe’s combined for 23 kills and had seven aces as the Warriors advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history. After a back and forth first set, Red Cloud took control in the second set as they went on a 10-0 run with Mary Nibbe on serve. Red Cloud went from being down 12-10 to leading 20-12 and never looked back. The Pirates who saw their season end at 18-12 were led by Felicia Knoerzer who had 13 kills, Baylee Diefenbaugh had a nice match serving for Elwood as she had five aces.
Lady Whippets Fall in Second Round of Subs
Loomis Falls in Subdistricts
Gothenburg Finishes Season With Win, but Won’t be Heading to State, Cozad Drops Final Match of Season
SEM Falls in Subs
Cambridge Loses in Sub-State to End Season, Southern Valley Headed to Lincoln
Eustis-Farnam Falls in Subdistrict Play