?Wholesale graduation? Who cares?? say Merrill spikers
Coaches- Stephanie Nelson (1st head), Margaret Osness (5th JV head, 11th), Eryn Greefe (2nd JV2), Amanda Jensen (1st JV2).
Last season’s accomplishments- 12-0 GNC champs, UW-W champs, 40-3 overall, lost to Wausau West in regional final after unexpected death of Coach Sally Pfund.
Major losses- Kayla Duesing (2-time unan. 1st GNC), Abbey Kremsreiter (2-time 1st GNC), Leah Monti (1st GNC), Christine Chapleau (2nd GNC), Amanda Jensen (2nd GNC).
Key returnees- Kaylin Byer (HM AC), Jess Sabey, Andi English, Brittany Grosskurth, Lyndsay Krueger.
Promising newcomers- Renee Sladek, Sam Hojan, Jenna Zamzow.
Nelson quotable- “I expect nothing less than 3rd place for any tournament as well as conference. I can confidently say that we will be a contender for the Valley’s all conference title.
“From the sound of it, it will be competitive all the way around in every game. Our biggest competition will be Everest, but all games are going to be a battle, with nothing given for free.
“We have athletic girls who have a lot of knowledge of the game. They are quick and coachable, and the best thing is we have a pretty young team, so we will only be getting better.
“Well, being back in the Valley, I think a lot of people will be skeptical about how successful we’ll be in conference play. But I think that we’ll be in the running for champs.
“The girls work extremely hard on the court, but as soon as we’re off the court, you realize that they’re just kids having fun doing what they love. You can see this great intensity on their faces while they’re playing, but then when the game or practice is over, they’re back to joking around. They’re a fun group to watch and a fun group to coach.
“They have the attitude that it takes to win. They go onto the court with the mindset that they are going to work hard, do what they do best and leave it all out on the court.”