Experience boosts Panthers’ season hopes

PLYMOUTH – Experience is a major plus for the Plymouth Panthers who have high hopes this season in girls volleyball.

The Panthers lost only two seniors off last year’s team which tied for third in the East Central Conference race with an 8-6 dual record and was 26-17 overall. PHS advanced to the Division 2 regional semifinals where it lost to Chilton.

“I am very hopeful, with eight returning seniors and five returning starters we have some real potential,” said Panther head coach Peggy Huhn who is in her eighth season directing the team.

Heading the group of returnees is senior outside hitter Sophie Albert who was an All-ECC first-team pick last season. Albert ranked fourth in the league in kills with 295 (3.2 per set).

The other returning starters are seniors Megan Goeser, Emma Grapentine, Jessica Schumacher and Margeaux Suttner. Goeser, a middle blocker, earned All-ECC honorable mention in 2015 when she finished second in the league in solo blocks with 79 and total blocks, 146.

The coach pointed out the team’s strengths:

“We have eight seniors with great leadership ability and a very strong upcoming sophomore class.

“Our depth and experience is the core of this year’s team. We have six very strong rotations with many options in both offensive strength and passing ability on defense,” said Huhn.

She said the Panthers’ key athletes are Albert, Megan Goeser, seniors Emma Grapentine and Jes- sica Schumacher and sophomore Cece Huhn (coach’s daughter). Schumacher is the team’s main setter.

The coach mentioned newcomers who have impressed her.

“Cece Huhn [6-foot-1 middle blocker] is very physical in the middle, a nice-size block and very dynamic offensively,” said coach Huhn. Hana Goeser (outside hitter) on the outside is incredibly smart for a sophomore with great ball-handling skills and great ball control.”

Coach Huhn said the keys for the team to be successful include staying together as a team and staying healthy, and she said after that the season will fall in place.

The coach’s top goals are to stay together as a team, get better each match and have fun.

She thinks PHS, Kettle Moraine

Lutheran (Jackson) and Winneconne will be strong in the ECC. Winneconne is the defending champion and KML placed second last season.

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