Volleyball hopes to gain experience with younger girls


Photo by Ally Benning

Junior Sydney Dejarnett goes for a kill during practice last Tuesday, Sept. 12. The team looks to improve their number of wins against Forest Lake on Tuesday.

Ally Benning, Podcast Reporter

This year’s varsity volleyball team is a little different from last year’s state fourth place team, with many new faces that were not seen on the court last year.

Eight girls graduated last year. All eight were an integral part of the team’s very successful season last year. Five of the girls who graduated were in the starting rotation.

“Last year’s team was a lot older,” assistant coach Sara Biermaier explained. “We had more seniors, girls with a lot more experience playing at the varsity level.”

We had a really good setter last year, [but] they both stepped up and have taken that position.”

— Sydney DeJarnett

For every girl that graduates, a new girl steps in her shoes. In this case, four of the eight newcomers were underclassmen. 

“Gabby Boegel, who is new this year, has really stepped up and taken that setting position, and also Olivia Foss. I think both have really stepped up,” junior Sydney Dejarnett added. “Because we had a really good setter last year, they both stepped up and have taken that position.”

With a lot of new girls on the team, it is of utmost importance that they play well together and be a team. Building great cohesion and improving communication is their primary focus. 

“We’re working on being a team right now,”  freshman Sophie Hoheisel explained. “We’ve been playing like individuals, and we’re just trying to play together.”

In order to come together as a team, they work hard in practice and have great enthusiasm for each other in games. However, the real connections form off the court, as they do many things together to develop a close-knit team.

“We go to volleyball games as a team, and watch other people,” freshman Tori Liljegren explained. “We also do a lot of other team bonding stuff.”

Senior captains Maddie Whittington, Maddie Oeltjen and Elly Sprenger have been taking that leadership role and running with it. Returners have also made an effort to help younger girls and newcomers improve their game.

“Our captains and our returning players know how everything works and I really look up to them,” Liljigren added. “I listen if they give me pointers on how to change my game.”

They have had a bit of a rough start this year, with losses to North St. Paul, Eagan, Moorhead and Minnetonka. However, the girls have been trying to just worry about the next game and how to improve.

“They learn from the losses just as much as they learn from the wins,” Biermaier added. “They play for each other, which is always fun to see as a coach.”

Their greatest Suburban East conference competitor is East Ridge, who will be tough to beat. They will be hosting the conference clash on Oct 1.

“We just have to make sure we are putting our hearts out on the court and play our best,” Dejarnett added. “Then we should be able to beat them.”

“We compete hard. We always say that we work hard, we play hard, we play for each other, and we have fun,” Biermaier explained. “If we do those four things, then we mostly win games.”