MARION-FLORENCE:   Volleyball team relies on unity

Summer workouts went well

Staff writer

Marion’s senior volleyball players are a close-knit group.

Many have been playing together since the seventh grade, being friends even longer.

“We’ve known each other since the first grade,” Megan Richmond said. “It makes us play harder together.”

After finishing sixth in the Heart of America League in coach Deanna Thierolf’s first season, the team is ready to take a step forward.

“I’m excited about this year,” Thierolf said. “We lost three players, but we have some good young talent coming in, and they’ve done a really good job of filling the holes.”

Quickness will replace length the team lost as seniors Kaelyn Thierolf and Kelli Hess replace middle hitters Briana Hall and Montana Percell.

“Kelli Hess is 5-3¼, but she plays bigger than she is,” Deanna Thierolf said. “She’s got a nice vertical and she’s quick, so she’s going to come in and do some nice things.”

Kaelyn Thierolf returns as a multiple-year starter as well as setter Katey Ehrlich and Richmond, the libero. Sophomore Kirsten Hansen also has experience as a setter, and junior Julia Hall will hit and set.

“We’re older this year, and maybe just a little more experienced,” Deanna Thierolf said.

Senior Lauren McLinden, juniors Shayla Kline and Samantha Davies, and sophomore Bailey Robson will also help contribute in 2013.

During the summer, the team spent a lot of time in the gym and weight room, also going to scrimmages in McPherson and Hillsboro.

“The girls have done a good job of getting into the weight room this summer, and also getting in the gym and touching the ball, and their skills are getting better,” Deanna Thierolf said.

Ehrlich, an all-league setter a year ago, said the team’s goal is to surpass what it was in 2012.

“We want to have a winning record this year and win the three tournaments we go to in Marion, Centre, and Belle Plaine,” she said. “Our group has worked really hard and we appreciate the support from the community.”

Coach Thierolf wants to see her team improve through the work it put in during the summer.

“I think you can have all the talent in the world, but if they don’t work hard and they don’t work together, it’s not going to be very much fun,” she said.

The Warriors’ first action this season will be in Lindsborg, where they will play Smoky Valley and Hoisington.

“So far what I’ve seen, this group of girls, they just like each other,” Deanna Thierolf said. “That core and that unity, they just play well together.”

 

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