Colors: Orange and Black
Head Coach: Tracy Kuester-Burtwhistle (4th season) (95-14 record)
2017 record: 31-4 (beat Nebraska Christian in 3rd place match at State)
Returning Starters: 6
The Stanton Mustangs have the majority of last year’s team back this year, and look to make a run at a second state championship after winning the whole ball of wax two years ago.
Stanton returns 6 starters from last year, and they are Bree Burtwistle (5’9, SR S/OH), Jessie Brandl (5’8, SR OH ), Makenna Espinoza (5’4, SR S), Liz Christensen (5’9, SR RS), Reba Waskowiak (5’10, SR M), Jaiden Hartl (5’8, SR L), and Jasmine Kment (5’5, JR DS).
Head Coach Tracy Kuester-Burtwhistle says this year’s senior class is special. “The Mustangs have several college coaches visiting with our players. At this time we have two players in December 2017 verbally commitment to continue their academic and volleyball career at local colleges in Nebraska. This group of seniors have been playing volleyball together since 3rd grade. They are strong athletic group of players that truly love playing this game with each other. They have created some great memories and learned some life lessons over the years playing TOGETHER – which actually is our 2018 Team Motto the seniors picked out. Trust – lOve – Gold Driven – dEdication – commiTment – unselfisH – mEmories – feaRless = #together.”
Kuester-Burtwhistle says Burtwhistle is a very well rounded player. “Brees’ mental toughness, competitiveness and positive spirit makes her a player that teammates want to compete alongside. Bree for the 2nd year is a member of the All State First Team Class C2 and a key player to our 2017 finish at State in Class C2 3rd Place, along with 2016 Class C2 State Championship Team and 2015 Class C2 State Runner Up Team. Burtwistle recorded 573 assists, 325 kills, 260 digs and 57 aces. Bree is an exceptional all-around player in Northeast Nebraska, who regularly produces during the season a double/double or triple/double. Bree demonstrates that defense wins games and does a great job of moving towards the ball, with quickness and reading abilities to keep that ball alive. For offense her knowledge of the game gives her that cutting edge of reading her opponents so her placement of sets to her team members gives them an advantage on attacking. She has that volleyball IQ to attack strong, roll shot or tool it off her opponents. Bree currently holds the school record for most set assists in a season, and the record for most points scored on a serve in a season and career. She is on track to achieve this fall season the school record for the most career serve Ace’s currently short by 29 ace serves, which will surpass current record at 181; along with achieving the record for the most set assists in her career currently just 22 sets assist short and will surpass the record currently at 1681, and will achieve over 1000 kills in her career this fall season currently short 92 kills.”
Kuester-Burtwhistle says Brandl is a great player in her own right. “Jessie has that competitive drive that gives the team a sense of urgency when we need plays to occur, if that is a dig or an attack. A member of the First Team Class C2 All State for 2 years and 3rd Team All Class, Jess is the other key player for the Mustang’s team success with our 2017 finish at State in Class C2 3rd Place, along with 2016 Class C2 State Championship Team and 2015 Class C2 State Runner Up. Brandl recorded 360 kills, 330 digs and 50 aces last season. Jess demonstrates her power when she is serving and attacking the ball. She has excellent court sense awareness that gives her the edge offensively, and ball control skills that set her apart playing defense. A great aspect of Jess is her determination and passion for the game. This will create a drive to win and succeed which is a key to the team success. Again a player whose stats back her being that explosive offense and defensive player. Jess currently holds the school record for most kills in a game at 25 and in a season at 360, and will achieve 1000 kills in her career currently short by 45 kills. We also look at her breaking her sister’s serve receive percentages for season currently 97% and career currently 96%.”
Kuester-Burtwhistle says Espinoza is a player who grew a lot last year. “Makenna a 2 year starter was a player on the team as the season progressed became more decisive in her setting decision and getting the ball to the attacker quicker. She demonstrated that ‘consistency at the serves line’ is a key in winning matches. Makenna had 491 set assists, serving percentage at 95% and 119 digs this last season. Makenna has worked hard alongside the team in off season and look forward to the 2018 Season.”
She says Waskowiak had a nice season last year as well. “Returner 1st year starter Reba as the season progressed last year really built her confidence as a middle on attacking the ball and blocking. Reba had 85 kills last season hitting .271 and 23 solo blocks. We look forward to see her potential this season.”
Kuester-Burtwhistle says Christensen was right at home at Stanton last year after transferring from Battle Creek. “Liz joined the Mustang Family last year. Liz will be a starting returner as our right-side hitter. Liz had 114 kills last season and at the serves line is where she is deadly with 72 serve aces last season. Liz is also a great contributor when we need something to happen, we could count on her. ”
Coach Kuester-Burtwhistle adds Hartl is great at serving. “Jaiden is also a returning starter for the Mustangs as our Libero. She is an consistent server also for the Mustangs at 95% with 34 aces last season, she averages 3.8 digs per set/341 last season and also excels at serve receive. Jaiden has worked hard in off season getting to the ball quicker with a balance platform to get that passes/digs to the target.”
She says Kment is known for her defensive prowess. “Played as a defensive specialist position for the Mustangs last season and we look forward to the experience and knowledge she gained last year to impact the back court this upcoming 2018 season.”
Other possible contributors include Ellie Locke (5’8, SO RS) and Kaylee Matthies (5’9, JR M).
Key losses from last year’s team include Allie Spence and Hannah Heppner.
Stanton expects to be really good again this year. Kuester-Burtwhistle. “The 2018 Mustang team has a good combination of six returning starters that continues to give us a great balanced team offensively having 3 aggressive players at all times at the net that teams will need to focus on. Along with gaining some experience and knowledge from last season defensively with our returning players, we look forward to be a competitive team in Class C2. ”
Kuester-Burtwhistle feels Clarkson/Leigh, Wisner-Pilger, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, and Oakland-Craig figure to be some tough teams within the East Husker Conference.
Stanton hosts West Point-Beemer Tuesday night in the season opener. Kuester-Burtwhistle says the team doesn’t know a whole lot about the Cadets. “We have not met up with West Point-Beemer at all this summer and offseason. So this will just be looking at each other as adjusting as we play the very first game. So no film to watch or anything like that, scouting report.”
Stanton is in Sub-District C2-6 with Clarkson/Leigh, Battle Creek, Norfolk Catholic, and Madison.
Kuester-Burtwhistle says the team will have seen all the teams in their sub-district before the postseason begins. “I feel like it’s a leveling playing field, especially when you have a lot of great teams in your sub-district.”
2018 Stanton Mustangs Volleyball Schedule:
08/28/18 West Point-Beemer
08/30/18 Madison Triangular (host: Madison)
08/30/18 Clarkson/Leigh Triangular (host: Madison)
09/01-09/01 (To Be Determined) Columbus Scotus Invitational (1-Day Tournament, >4 Teams) Columbus Scotus
09/08-09/08 (To Be Determined) Boone Central Invite (1-Day Tournament, >4 Teams) Boone Central High School
09/13/18 Norfolk Catholic Triangular (host: Stanton)
09/13/18 Boone Central/Newman Grove Triangular (host: Stanton)
09/15-09/15 (To Be Determined) Stanton (1-Day Tournament, >4 Teams) Stanton
09/18/18 Pender Triangular (host: Pender)
09/18/18 Wisner-Pilger Triangular (host: Pender)
09/25/18 Tekamah-Herman Triangular (host: Stanton)
09/25/18 Oakland-Craig Triangular (host: Stanton)
10/02/18 @ Howells-Dodge
10/11-10/13 (To Be Determined) East Husker Conference Tournament (2/3-Day Tournament) TBA
10/16/18 @ Lutheran High Northeast
10/23/18 Logan View/Scribner-Snyder (LVSS) Triangular (host: Logan View/Scribner-Snyder (LVSS))
10/23/18 North Bend Central Triangular (host: Logan View/Scribner-Snyder (LVSS))
10/25/18 Twin River