Having one senior works for HG

by Dave Boehler
Review Sports Editor


EMILY BRUCKSCHEN of the Howards Grove volleyball team practices on Tuesday. The outside hitter returns after making first-team all- Big East Conference last year. – Photo by Dave Boehler EMILY BRUCKSCHEN of the Howards Grove volleyball team practices on Tuesday. The outside hitter returns after making first-team all- Big East Conference last year. – Photo by Dave Boehler The last time the Howards Grove girls volleyball team had just one senior was eight years ago.

So the Tigers are doing something about it.

Led by lone senior Courtney Binversie, the team has already gone to a movie together and had a sleep over after Friday’s football game.

Binversie says it is great to meet the younger girls and form new relationships.

“The bond that we all get,” she said. “Now we all know each other a lot more than we did before.”

Emily Bruckschen, one of five juniors on the squad, also says it is about connecting with teammates and getting to know them better.

“We have so much potential,” Bruckschen said. “We’re just continuing to work hard and trying not to focus on any age or grade level. We just want to all compete and get better.”

Nothing out of the ordinary happened at the events, either.

“One of the girls woke up late to go to a wedding, but that’s it,” Binversie said.

Howards Grove graduated 11 seniors over the previous two seasons – highlighted by winning the 2016 Division 3 state title - but returns four girls who made all-Big East Conference from last season’s third-place team that lost to Oostburg in a regional final.

Bruckshen made the first team as an outside hitter and three sophomores were honored as well.

Setter Leah Parnitzke earned a spot on the second team, and outside hitter Maddie Near and libero Mackenzie Holzwart received honorable mention.

“Leadership is the most important,” said Howard Grove coach Brett Damrow, who begins his 13th year. “What’s great about seniors is Courtney (Aug. 20 in a scrimmage), just the leaps and bounds she’s taken just because of her confidence as a senior. I love seniors, but there’s nothing we can do that we don’t have a lot of them. So we just keep moving on.”

It also helps to have three talented freshmen on varsity, including outside hitter Karissa Kaminski.

Kaminski competed on the Badger Region High Performance volleyball team in Tulsa, Okla., in July, and has been on the Milwaukee Sting and FC Elite club team for five years.

The two other freshmen, setter Emma Baeirl and middle blocker/ outside hitter Myka Roethel, have been competing for a long time as well.

“They’ve been playing club and traveling all over,” Damrow said. “I’ve had training with them somehow, someway for at least six years. So the level of the way we play the game will look very good. But we’ve done that for years that way. We’re a very young team with a lot of nonnames. Nobody knows these kids coming up. They really don’t. The community doesn’t know who these kids are and they’re going to know them.

“We’ve got some young talent coming up,” he said.

Howards Grove opens its season Thursday against Sheboygan Christian.


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