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Spring Valley spikers don't want to slow down

Spring Valley's Becky Fesenmaier in bump position. She's one of eight returning letter winners for SV.2 / 2

SPRING VALLEY - No matter how much experience they have or don't have, no matter who is coming back or who has graduated, the Spring Valley High School volleyball team doesn't want to slow down one bit this upcoming season.

The Cardinals begin play Tuesday at a quadrangular meet hosted by River Falls.

The bulk of the Cards' setting, hitting and service points the past few seasons came from three players: All Dunn-St. Croix Conference first teamers Tana O'Keefe and Emily Boisen along Nevada Schlegel, who was honorable mention All D-SC last season. All three have graduated.

But eighth-year head coach Kelli Schlegel does not want the loss of these players to be an excuse for the team to slow down their pace of play, which helped them to a successful 27-15 overall record last fall (7-2 in the D-SC).

"We have to get our passing down," Schlegel said. "If we do that, then the confidence will be there to run the kind of sets on offense at a quick pace like we were able to a year ago because we had an experienced setter, hitter and middle. We still have a great deal to work with and I'm confident they'll come together and play in the same fashion."

Spring Valley returns eight letter-winners, many with a good amount of varsity minutes. This includes senior Maria Nygren, who will moving over to the setter spot to run Valley's offense. 

"Maria has to adapt to being a 5-1 setter," Schlegel said. "But she had has great hands, she has experience at a variety of different positions, she sees the floor clearly. I think she'll be able to adapt to her new role very well."

Also back is Becky Fesenmaier, who saw plenty of playing time last fall and scored plenty of kills, 151 to be exact. The sophomore starter also had 20 aces. Junior Katie Boardman will join her in the middle. Working the strong side as hitters will be senior Justine Boardman and sophomore Ally Lee. Junior Jessica Christensen will be a hitter on the right side and letter winners sophomore Tatum Huntress and seniors Ellen Brorson and Cassie Quinn will all play in the backrow and handle the team's defense.    

"We may not have a lot of varsity experience," Schlegel said, "but our team's has good volleyball experience from all the time they've put into the game. They get along well and they work very hard. We have a lot of positive characteristics which means it won't take us long become a good team if we're able to pass and move the ball efficiently."

Schlegel sees defending champ Colfax and Elk Mound being the teams to beat in the Dunn-St. Croix.

"If we're going to take out the big dogs, then it's important we get off to a good start," Schlegel said. "If we do well in own home invite (Sept. 6) and the Baldwin-Woodville match (Sept. 11) here in Spring Valley, we'll be set-up for another successful season."