Experience, depth bolster Tigers’ hopes

¦ Tigers return two All-EWC firstteam players
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

ALI SCHUELER (6), shown spiking against Oostburg last season, will lead the Howards Grove volleyball team’s attack this year. Schueler was an All-CLC first-team pick in 2013. – Review file photo ALI SCHUELER (6), shown spiking against Oostburg last season, will lead the Howards Grove volleyball team’s attack this year. Schueler was an All-CLC first-team pick in 2013. – Review file photo HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove girls volleyball team has a nice combination of experienced players and a promising crop of young ones this season as the Tigers eye another standout season.

The Tigers return four full-time starters, including two All-Central Lakeshore Conference first-team players in senior outside hitter Ali Schueler and senior setter Autumn Risch. Risch was also a first-team setter as a sophomore.

The other starters back include sophomore Brittany Schaller, defensive specialist/libero (back-row specialist), and sophomore middle blocker Samantha Yancy.

Schueler led the Tigers in kills with an impressive 513 (4.4 per game) and tied for the lead in serve receptions with 556 last season. She also had 84 ace serves, eight solo blocks and 497 digs.

Risch paced HGHS in assists with 997 (8.8 average per game); ace serves, 87; and serving accuracy at 93.4 percent. She also contributed 161 kills, 309 digs and 16 solo blocks.

HGHS has nine returning letter winners, including the full-time starters, from last year’s squad which won its second straight Division 3 regional title and finished with a 37-9 overall match record. The Tigers lost to CLC rival Oostburg in the sectional semifinals and finished second to the Lady Dutch in the overall CLC race and the league tournament.

“The team is looking forward to competing every day is practice and and having an opportunity to compete at a high level again this year,” said Tiger head coach Brett Damrow.

“Our team has good leadership and athletic ability to go along with it.

“Autumn and Ali have started for four years and bring big- game experience. We have a good mixture of young and old on our team. It has been exciting to see how they are starting to bond this young season.

“We have 16 athletes on our varsity roster. Its the second-largest varsity roster I’ve had in my 10 years,” said Damrow.

“We are extremely deep in a lot of areas which will make practice extremely competitive. It will defi- nitely be a little stressful and diffi- cult to find playing time for all the athletes, however that is a good problem to have.

“We should have a more balanced effort, offensively, this year. Having 6-7 different athletes that can really attack, led by Ali Schueler and Sam Yancy. Sam Black and Lyndsay Peterson are two seniors looking to make a statement,” said the coach.

Damrow said with Schueler the team controls its serve receive and that she has an opportunity to be the school’s all-time leader in kills.

“With the loss of senior middle Jenna Zinser to an ACL injury we are looking to a pair of sophomore middles. Sam Yancy has big-game experience but Adi Gerber and Olivia Stauss have a lot of raw athletic talent and we look forward to watching them mature as players,” he observed.

“Brianna Kidder and newcomer Zaylie Kleinman will push for front-row time. Alyssa Davis has improved a lot this young season and has brought a great attitude. Courtney Waters is learning everyday and will continue to improve.”

Damrow said his back row is very athletic and quick, with letter winners Carlie Stauss, Emma Schmid and Schaller pushing each other in practice.

“I’m really hoping we can frustrate teams with our team defense,” he said.

“We should be able to move the ball around with Autumn. Autumn has dedicated a lot of time and energy towards volleyball. Our goal is to spread the ball around and use her talents has a setter.

“Taylor Bubuloz is learning a lot and following in Autumn’s foot steps as a setter,” said Damrow.

Damrow said the team looks toward leadership from his seven seniors along with a lot of talent from the younger athletes.

“Our biggest weakness will be our overall team height. This is the smallest team that I’ve had. Also, with us being so quick and athletic all over the court, sometimes they will wait for one of their teammates to do it instead of do it themselves,” he pointed out.

“I believe this team is committed and focused to compete every time they step on the court.”

Damrow expects a strong conference.

“The conference will be extremely tough at the top and deeper than its been in awhile. Oostburg will be extremely tough. Random lake and Christian will be very competitive and Sheboygan Lutheran is always good,” he said.

“Cedar Grove-Belgium is athletic and tall, and Ozaukee, Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah and Kohler can surprise anyone.”

Oostburg returns several players from last year’s squad, led by junior Keri Hartmann, an All-CLC first-team pick.

Aug. 28 – @ Sheboygan South Invite
Sept. 6 – @ Mukwonago Invite
Sept. 9 – @ Elkhart Lake
Sept. 11 – Sheboygan Christian, here
Sept. 13 – County Classic, @ Sheb.
Sept. 16 – @ St. Mary’s Springs (FDL)
Sept. 18 – @ Random Lake
Sept. 20 – @ Pulaski Invite
Sept. 23 – @ Sheb. Lutheran
Sept. 25 – Cedar Grove, here
Oct. 2 – Ozaukee, here
Oct. 7 – Kohler, here
Oct. 9 – @ Oostburg
Oct. 11 – Triangular, here
Oct. 16 – CLC Tourney, here
Oct. 18 – CLC Tourney, here



Seniors – *Samantha Black, *Brianna Kidder, *Lyndsay Peterson, *Autumn Risch, *Ali Schueler, *Carlie Stauss and *Jenna Zinser.

Juniors – Alyssa Davis, Zaylie Kleinman and Courtney Waters.

Sophomores – Taylor Bubolz, Addisyn Gerber, Brittany Schaller, Emma Schmid, Olivia Stauss and Samantha Yancy. ___* _- _ R_e_tu_r_n_in_g_ _ le_t_te_r_ w_i_ n_e_r._____

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