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PC volleyball hopes formula the same for winning in 2011

Heather Von Holtum will again lead up front for Plum City in 2011.

PLUM CITY - Team chemistry was big factor in turning around a Plum City High School volleyball team from a 3-24 squad in 2009 to 20-22 team in 2010. The Blue Devils competed for the Dunn-St. Croix Conference title right to the very end and three players made all-conference with two receiving honorable mention.

However three of those players: Jordyn Mark, Bri Sigler and Taylor Ike have graduated (along with Niky Diercks, Cora Krause and Courtney Phillips) and recreating the same team chemistry and unity which carried the ' 10 squad to success is again on the mind of head coach Nanette Murray.

"Our focus is still on chemistry," Murray said. "We want a team which worked just as well together as last year's team did, especially because our expectations are higher compared to last season. "

Those expectations have been set by five returning letter winners led by All D-SC second teamer, junior Marah Boyer, returning and honorable mention All D-SC setter, senior Morgan Sweeney, seniors Abbie Hartung and Ashley Longsdorf and junior Heather Von Holtum. Four of these players are returning starters and Hartung would have seen extensive action last fall had not an injury sidelined her.

"Morgan, Marah and Heather form a very good core of experienced players," Murray said. "And what they experienced was success and the fun which comes with it. They want the same kind of season again and I think they're ready to kick it into gear."

Certainly Plum City was in gear a week ago going 6-3 to win the Colfax Quad with two wins coming over the host school and defending D-SC champs.

With a returning setter in Sweeney, front row players like Von Holtum and Hartung and a powerful hitter like Boyer and the team's libero Longsdorf, the Devils line-up seems almost set with only Sigler's spot needing a replacement, whether its juniors Shelby Kannel, Brittany Estabrooks, Amber Unser or sophomores Elaina Danziger and Lexi Radle. Kannel is the only one with varsity playing experience.

"We have several players who are on the fine line between JV and varsity and whoever can make their play rise to the top level which is needed on varsity will go over that line." Murray said. "It goes back to a desire the kids need to have to be as successful. If you want it, you've got to show you want it."

If the Blue Devils want a conference championship they are not in a bad position to compete for it. Colfax took major graduation hits as did Mondovi. PC is one of handful of teams along with Pepin, Elmwood, Spring Valley and Elk Mound which return much of their squads from last season.

"No one's really sure who is going to be the strongest team or teams, so it is very wide open" Murray said.

PC will also have a focus on serving as they lose two fine servers in Mark and Sigler.

"Jordyn and Bri were very strong servers but we need both strength and accuracy," Murray said. "Our goal is no more than five missed serves per game."