Confident Cardinals approach 2014 prep volleyball season
PRESCOTT - There are two kinds of confident, a positive and a negative kind.
Prescott High School Head Volleyball Coach Patti Tulip wants the PHS squad this fall to have plenty of the positive kind of confidence, the kind which can help the Cardinals rise to the top of the Middle Border Conference.
She also doesn’t want to hear from another person how the Cards’ are the favorites to win the Middle Border Conference. For that could lead to negative confidence, the kind which takes such predictions for granted as Prescott’s season begins tonight at home vs. Hastings. Game time is approximately 7 p.m.
“We can’t be overconfident,” Tulip said. “We know we have the ability to be very good team. I think the way we need to handle such expectations is the focus we bring to them. Thus, our team motto this season will be ‘One Game Forward’. We will focus on one point at a time, one set at a time and one match at a time. We don’t look back and we don’t look far ahead.”
The reason for such expectations is return of eight letter winners from last season’s 27-17 squad which finished 4-3 in the Middle Border Conference. The returnees include All-MBC first teamer Anna Weiser, one of the league’s top blockers and hitters for the past three seasons. Also back is her sister, junior Lily Weiser, who made second team All-MBC.
The only graduated seniors are Katy Syverson, Kellie Magee and Andrea Lewis. Senior Mariah Krings will replace Syverson at libero, seniors Olivia Rohl and Alexi Schommer will fill the right and left hitting spots respectively for Lewis and Magee.
Senior Annie Pryor is back at setter for the Cardinals and also returning are juniors Gabby Janovec and Alexis Maxwell. New varsity players include senior Emily Westphal, juniors Savana Stuhl and Kellie Maier and sophomore Bekah Miller.
The expectations the Cardinals have are not only based on returning letter winners. Team members won a recent pre-season tournament in Altoona, they topped the competition at a summer league in River Falls and many of them played on club teams during the offseason. They’re also one of the few teams in the MBC that didn’t take a large number of graduation losses in personnel.
“We had more offseason play than we’ve had in the past and it’s made a noticeable difference,” Tulip said. “We’re stronger hitters and blockers than we were a year ago and we’ll be able to run more quick plays on offense than ever before. Volleyball is more than bump-set-spike nowadays and the teams which are able to play the game at a faster pace than their opponents are going to have the advantage. Plus our communication is much better than before too.”
Tulip hopes all these intangibles will lead PHS over defending MBC champion Osceola along with New Richmond in the conference standings and perhaps even bigger things beyond.
“There’s an internal drive in our players that maybe we didn’t have before because they have the confidence in themselves to set high goals,” Tulip said. “We just have to keep a handle on it. We know we can win but we have to keep knowing we need to work hard to do so.”