By Billy Stitz
The front line of the 2013 Flandreau Flier girls’ volleyball team may look a little different than it did just a year ago when FHS was headed by then seniors Makayla Dietrich and Kelly Johanson, but the Fliers do return a lot of help and some experience as they look to improve off last year’s 7-18 record under second year head coach Andrea Gullickson.
“Last year was a learning experience for both the girls and myself,” Gullickson said. “We struggled at times last year because of some changes, but the girls bought into what we are doing and I hope to continue with the positive things we started last year,” she added.
So we will start with the positives. Flandreau is returning a key piece to their offense, a piece not usually noted in the post game highlight reels, but one of the most important positions on the court. Taylor Peters, a senior on this year’s squad, will be returning to the line up as the team’s primary setter. Peters, who had over 1,000 attempts last year as the team’s setter, will be a huge factor in whether the less experienced front line of Flandreau can be successful.
But Peters will need some help in that department, that is where some of the younger players will step in. “Maria Patterson and Brooklyn Behrens were the setters for JV a year ago and their setting experience will be needed to help replace Brice (Rose).” Rose was second to Peters last year in set attempts.
But a good set does no good unless a team can finish. Flandreau, who as was stated before, lost two of their top four attackers from a year ago, will look towards a less experienced crop of girls for success.
Marisa Hare, a senior this year, will be looked on to lead the team, she was second on the team in kills a year ago with 120. Her, along with sophomore Hannah Williams, who was third on the team last year with 74 kills, will be mainstays in the Flier frontcourt.
“Returning Marisa and Hannah will be a huge help as they will not only lead us offensively but will also be a huge part of our defensive strategy as well,” Gullickson said. “Hannah and Marisa do a great job of blocking and getting their hands on opponent’s attacks. They also guide the outside blockers with their timing and positioning,” she added.
Joining the two top returners in the frontcourt will be Shanaya Lunday, Kaitlin Rice, Alicia Jackson and Paige Dexter. These four girls may not have the varsity experience yet but they bring height and athleticism to the table.
“These girls are all competing for those varsity positions that opened up with last year’s graduating class.”
As for the back row defensively, Flandreau will have to find a new Libero after Kendra Duncan wrapped up her career last year as a senior.
“The libero spot is open with a couple people competing for the position. A lot will depend on finding the right placement of the players and how their strengths can help us most,” Gullickson said of the open position.
Flandreau is returning two key parts in Peters, who dug out 203 balls for Flandreau a year ago, and Emily Rosheim, who picked up 150 digs as a sophomore a year ago, along with three other girls with solid varsity court experience in Brenna Price, Brooklyn Behrens and Amy Sanderson.
However the line up fills out, the girls all have the same goals in mind, starting with being more consistent. Flandreau had several matches last year where they would go on major runs of 6-10 straight points but lose their ways late and drop close contests, they hope to remedy that this year.
Gullickson is helped by assistant coaches Jen Lueck (JV and C-Team), Amber Texley (8th grade) and Denae Bass (7th grade).
The Fliers hit the court for the first time on September 3rd in Elkton to take on Elkton-Lake Benton before coming home on the 5th to take on Hamlin.