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Preview: Young Spartan volleyball team opens Saturday

Superior High School sophomore Chloe Wilson hits over the Hayward defense during a scrimmage last week in the SHS gym. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelgram.com)

A young and inexperienced Superior High School volleyball team will be hitting the court this fall for coach Brenda Pluntz.

The Spartans return just three players with varsity experience from a team that went 8-23 last season and finished fifth in the Lake Superior Conference with a record of 2-5.

Key players lost through graduation include libero Abbie DeMeyer (second-team all-conference), middle Whitney Larson (honorable mention all-conference), outside hitter Sage Olson (honorable mention all-conference) and outside hitter Amber Welsh.

Pluntz will be relying on several players to help fill that void, including senior middle hitter Hannah Kolanczyk; junior outside hitter Jordyn O’Brien; and senior libero Kearra Thimm.

Thimm is currently sidelined with a knee injury, but Pluntz is hopeful to have her back in action by the end of the season.

Expected to join Kolanczyk and O’Brien in the starting lineup are senior MacKenzie Stariha; and sophomores Chloe Wilson, Payton Shuster and Caleigh Jensen.

Rounding out the varsity roster are senior Bailey Patterson; juniors Lynzy Beitel, Amanda Paulson and Ashley Welsh; and sophomores Autumn Siers and Hannah Hughes.

“We are inexperienced, but we have a very talented, young varsity group of players,” Pluntz said. “This is a very hard working, determined, team-oriented group.”

Pluntz, who begins her fourth season as SHS volleyball coach with an overall record of 36-56, expects Hermantown will be the team to beat in the LSC.

“I believe the LSC is wide open, but Hermantown should be at the top to defend their title,” Pluntz said.

Superior last won the LSC title in 2011.

Tuning up for the season, the Spartans competed in a quad at Chippewa Falls, hosted several teams in a scrimmage and took part in the LSC jamboree.

Superior plays for real at the Marshfield Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Spartans first home match is Sept. 13 against Ashland.

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior’s 2015 season ended with a three-set loss to River Falls in a WIAA regional match. … Pluntz’s assistant coaches are Kelsey Swanstrom and Sarah Johnson.

Superior High School

2016 Volleyball Schedule

Tue., Aug. 23........... Chip. Falls Quad, 1 p.m.

Wed., Aug. 24......... Hosting scrimmage, noon

Wed., Aug. 24......... LSC Jamboree, 5 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 3........... Marshfield Invite, 9 a.m.

Sat., Sept. 10.......... Hudson Invite, 10 a.m.

Tue., Sept. 13.......... vs. Ashland, 7 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 15......... vs. Denfeld, 7 p.m.

Tue., Sept. 20.......... at Hibbing, 7 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 22......... vs. Marshall, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 24.......... at East Invite, 9 a.m.

Thur., Sept. 29......... at Proctor, 7 p.m.

Tue., Oct 4.............. at Duluth East, 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct 8.............. Esko Invite, 9 a.m.

Mon., Oct 10........... at Hermantown, 7 p.m.

Tue., Oct 11............ at Rice Lake, 7 p.m.

Thur., Oct 13........... vs. Cloquet, 7 p.m.

Tue., Oct 18............ at Denfeld, 7 p.m.

Thur., Oct 20........... WIAA Regionals

Superior High School

2016 Volleyball Roster

Kearra Thimm............................ L/DS          Sr.

Hannah Kolanczyk........................ M            Sr.

MacKenzie Stariha........................ S             12

Bailey Patterson.......................... L/R           Sr.

Jordyn O’Brien.......................... M/R           Jr.

Lynzy Beitel............................... S/R           Jr.

Amanda Paulson......................... DS            Jr.

Ashley Welsh............................... L             Jr.

Caleigh Jensen........................... M/L           So.

Payton Schuster........................... L            So.

Autumn Siers.............................. S            So.

Chloe Wilson................................ L            So.

Hannah Hughes              DS/L       So.

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