With four of its top six hitters back in the rotation from a year ago, Denison-Schleswig will enter the 2019 volleyball season expecting continued improvement under veteran head coach McKenzie Mich.
Five letterwinners in all return from last year’s Monarch club that went 2-8 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference, 15-18 overall in matches and 44-48 in games played.
Returning veterans are seniors Allana Arkfeld (middle blocker) and Tia Petersen (setter); juniors Paige Andersen (middle blocker) and Hannah Neemann (outside hitter); and sophomore Sophie Sonnichsen (Libero/defensive specialist.
Neemann, Arkfeld and Andersen were second, thid and fourth in overall kills a year ago.
Neemann is the leader back after slamming 151 kills for an average of 1.94 per set.
Arkfeld finished with 131 kills and Andersen contributed 98 kills last fall.
Junior Ellie Magnuson also was among the hitting leaders with 45 kills last fall as a sophomore.
Neemann, Andersen and Sonnichsen were among the team’s serving leaders a year ago.
Neeman hit 189 of 230 attempts with 38 aces a year ago.
Andersen was 245 of 277 with 33 aces and Sonnichsen connected on 266 of 281 serves with 38 aces as well.
Petersen returns as the team’s top setter after recording 646 assists (7.18 per set) a year ago.
Neemann is the team’s top returner in the digs department after accumulating 113 last fall.
Petersen also had 92 digs as a sophomore a year ago.
Arkfeld led the team in blocks a year ago with 14 solos and 56 block assists.
Andersen was second in overall blocks with 58.
"We are returning quite a bit of experience in both the front and back row," commented Mich, who will be assisted by Joshua Tucker and Dana Marten.
"Our middle hitters should be quite strong with a lot of experience up there. We’re brining up some players from the junior varsity squad that got a lot of playing time at that level," she added.
Filling out the D-S roster are senior Payton Goslar (Libero/DS); juniors Paige Kastner (DS), Kennedy Marten (S) and Cierra Kastner (OH); and sophomore Kira Langenfeld (MB).
Mich said that the Hawkeye 10 will be very tough again with a lot of teams returning quite a few players from a year ago.
"We are currently recovering from a couple of bad ankle sprains from the summer, so we might not be a full strength when the season starts," Mich said.
"We’re also working in a new setter, libero and outside and right side hitters. We’re putting in kids who have played a lot of JV over the past few years, so it will be just be a game of speed and ability adjustment for them," remarked Mich, whose team will open its season on Saturday, August 31, at the AHST/Walnut Tournament at Avoca.