Saturday, June 23, 2018
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Maturity matters

Experience should help Swede volleyball team get over hump

Many times last season, the Swede volleyball team gave up sets, even matches, by merely two points.

“Those games are heartbreaking,” said Gothenburg coach Mary Clark.

They also leave a bitter sting that Clark hopes will fuel this year’s more mature Swede players.

“I think we have a little bit of proving to do,” Clark said, “and we want a little revenge too.”

The Swedes lost a handful of graduates from last year’s 12-18 season.

Clark thinks her 10 returning letter winners come back stronger, smarter and focused on a complete package.

“The girls have really worked hard on speeding up the tempo of our game and, at the same time, have concentrated on making good passes so we have an opportunity to run some options,” Clark said.

In addition to four-year starter Jacey Wiggins, Clark said she will use Aryn Meisinger and Rachel Rice in a combined role for the other setting position of the Swedes’ 6-2 offense.

She said that allows Wiggins to take over the right side of the net when she’s in the front row as well as utilize her setting skills.

Middle hitters Regan Geiken and Tiani Reeves should be formidable forces at the net.

“Regan has really stepped up in that position,” Clark said. “She plays so smart. And Tiani is always going to be a factor at the net.”

Add the quickness of Taylor Mroczek around the entire rotation and important roles filled by Maddy Costello and Tylyn Haynes and the Swedes have a complete package, Clark said.

“We are demanding perfection on our passing,” she said. “That’s the only way we’re going to be able to effectively get anything done on offense. We’re working to really solidify the defense too by being disciplined in our positions and we’ve made a definite improvement in serving.”

It has taken time and patience from the girls and the coaches, she said, but the unity is finally falling into place.

“I love the passion these girls have for the game and the way they play with heart,” Clark said. “I believe they’re capable of playing with and beating anyone.”

The Swedes open the season at home on Thursday hosting Broken Bow.

“It’s always good to start at home,” Clark said. “We like to play in front of a big crowd.”

Gothenburg will host three triangulars, a four-team invite and two head-to-head matchups.

Clark expects Minden and Ogallala to be the toughest Southwest Conference opponents.

“Both teams have good athletes, great coaches and well-developed programs,” she said.

Gothenburg will compete again this season in the C1-11 sub-district, to be played in North Platte.

Sub-district teams have changed slightly to include Chase County, Cozad, Gothenburg and Ogallala.

Thursday’s matches against the Indians are set to begin with sophomores at 5 p.m. followed by reserves and varsity.

Members of the 2012 Gothenburg volleyball team are (*denotes letter winner):

Seniors—Maddy Costello*, Tylyn Haynes*, Kenzie Hiebner*, Jacey Wiggins*.

JUNIORS—Rebecca Anderson*, Regan Geiken*, Aryn Meisinger*, Taylor Mroczek*, Rachel Rice*.

SOPHOMORES—Bailey Aden, Bailey Baxter, Mary Cardenas, Haley Cline, MaKaela Franzen, Tiani Reeves*, Kerry Wellmann.

FRESHMEN—Sarah Brown, Shae Brown, Blaire Gibbens, Sydney Gruber, Keely Lecher, Natalie Mazour, Blayr McMichael, Megan Moore, Bailey Morton, Brianna Richey, Mady Vogel, Kim Whiting.