Tigers’ Risch, Schueler to play college volleyball

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


AUTUMN RISCH, Howards Grove senior, signs her letter of intent Thursday to play volleyball at Minnesota State University. Looking on are Tiger head coach Brett Damrow (left) and his assistant coach Tim Schueler. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley AUTUMN RISCH, Howards Grove senior, signs her letter of intent Thursday to play volleyball at Minnesota State University. Looking on are Tiger head coach Brett Damrow (left) and his assistant coach Tim Schueler. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOWARDS GROVE — Seniors Ali Schueler and Autumn Risch, standouts for the Howards Grove girls volleyball team the past four seasons, will continue their volleyball careers at the collegiate level.

Schueler and Risch signed letters of intent at their high school Thursday to play volleyball at the University of Minnesota-Crookston and Minnesota State University (Mankato), respectively. They both earned athletic scholarships.

Risch will be a setter for the Mavericks and Schueler a back-row player for the Eagles next fall as freshmen.

They will have the opportunity to play each other because their Division II schools are in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.


ALI SCHUELER, Howards Grove senior, signs her letter of intent to compete in volleyball at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Looking on are (left to right) Tiger head coach Brett Damrow, Tim Schueler, Tiger assistant coach and Ali’s father, and Chad Stanek, one of Ali’s Fox Cities Elite Club coaches. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ALI SCHUELER, Howards Grove senior, signs her letter of intent to compete in volleyball at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Looking on are (left to right) Tiger head coach Brett Damrow, Tim Schueler, Tiger assistant coach and Ali’s father, and Chad Stanek, one of Ali’s Fox Cities Elite Club coaches. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “I’m very excited. They have an outstanding animal science program [Schueler’s major]. Academics are really important to me and also getting into the athletics with volleyball,” said Schueler.

“It will be exciting to go against Autumn. Crookston has a very good volleyball program and it’s a good conference. I’m excited to play with the team and show what I can do.

“I just want to play to the best of my ability. I’m not worried about playing time now,” said Schueler, daughter of Tim and Wendy Schueler.

Tim Schueler was the HGHS Tigers’ assistant volleyball coach this past season.

“I’m really excited. Playing college volleyball has been a goal of mine and a dream of mine for a long time,” said Risch who will major in psychology.

“It’s a very good [volleyball] program. I’m impressed with the coaches and the team in how they really come together. When I went there [for a visit] I created a bond with the team.

“I felt like it was a place I could call home,” said Risch, whose stepfather is Brett Damrow, the HGHS head volleyball coach, and who is the daughter of Carrie Damrow.

“Ali is a great athlete that I think will push herself to the next level when she understands what it takes to excel at the higher level. I believe her communication skills on and off the court will enhance with the college experience,” said Damrow.

“I believe Autumn will excel in the college volleyball environment. She has a very competitive attitude and looks forward to the challenge of competing with and against great players.

“She is a gym rat and will use her free time in college to get stronger physically. I also believe she will get mentally better and really use the film study aspect of the college game,” said Damrow.

Risch and Schueler pointed out what they will work on to prepare for college volleyball.

“I’ll be behind a senior setter [next season] who is very good. I’m excited to have her take me under her wing. When she goes [graduates], I can be the leader of the team [as a setter],” said Risch.

“I’m looking for playing time behind her. I want to keep sharpening my skills. I think I’m good at running an offense and I just want to crisp that up, so when I go to college I’ll be really ready for that next level.”

“I definitely need to get a lot more touches in [for passing] because I’ll be mostly in the back row,” said Schueler who was the Tigers’ outside hitter.

“My height [5-feet-8] diminishes me from playing in the front row. I’ll be passing a lot and I need to work on my passing.”

Pat Hofacker, who coached Risch and Schueler in club volleyball in the off-season, is confident both players will perform well in college.

“I firmly believe Autumn and Ali will start by their sophomore years,” said Hofacker, coach for the Fox Cities Elite Club.

“To watch them grow up and see how hard they work is so impressive. It’s cool to see that it shows that if young kids work hard, they get something deserved.”

Schueler and Risch helped lead the Tigers to the Division 3 state tournament recently and were named all-state honorable mention and All- Central Lakeshore Conference first team this past season.


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