Girls spikers thinking big

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Lily Welti and Middleton's girls volleyball team have high hopes this season./File photo

Franco Marcos knows the history, the success stories and the failures of Middleton’s girls volleyball program better than anyone.

And if the Cardinals’ veteran coach tried summing it all up in a few short words, it would go like this.

“We have been good forever,” Marcos said. “Now we want to be great.”

Marcos is exactly right.

Middleton has been extremely good, making four trips to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament since 2001. The Cardinals have been a fixture at — or near — the top of the Big Eight Conference.

But Middleton hasn’t reached the state tournament since 2009 as area programs such as Sun Prairie and Verona have caught — and passed — the Cardinals.

Middleton will continue its pursuit of greatness when it begins its season Saturday at the Wisconsin Rapids Invite.

“This group of returnees together with the newcomers will be very good,” Marcos said. “The overall skill level and chemistry is better. We are a young team.”

Sophomore outside hitter Lily Welti is the Cardinals’ top player. Last season, Welti led the team in aces (67), was second in kills (280) and third in digs (237) as a freshman.  

“She is expected to lead the team both on and off the court,” Marcos said of Welti. “She is one of our co-captains.”

Senior libero/defensive specialist Jessie Nonn will play a huge role, as well. She was fourth on the team in digs and service receive last year.

Marcos is also expecting big things from senior right side hitter/setter Mimi McMurray. Last year, McMurray finished second on the team in assists.

“This year she will be setting and playing right side on occasions,” Marcos said. “She is very athletic and could do great things for the team.”

Junior outside hitter Jennifer McGinnis will take on a greater role, as well.

“She gives us a strong block and could crush the ball at times,” Marcos said. “She is very quick and would help us on defense.”

Sophomore middle blocker Hannah Flottmeyer will also be counted on for big things in 2016.

“She is a quick learner, and with some more experience and refinement, will help contribute to our success,” Marcos said. “She is always looking for feedback to improve her skills.”

Middleton’s other returnees include senior setter/right side hitter Maddie Dagitz and senior defensive specialist Olivia Nyffeler.

Junior setter Ashley Harris is one newcomer Marcos thinks will contribute immediately.

“Ashley is a good setter with strong hands and quick feet,” Marcos said. “She did a great job in the scrimmage that we had.  She is expected to be one of the starting setters.”

Sophomore defensive specialist Reagan Thomas, sophomore rightside hitter Keller Frinzi, junior middle blocker Cami Spellman and junior outside hitter Jordan Gundrum are other newcomers Marcos believes will give the Cardinals a lift.

Sun Prairie is the Big Eight Conference favorite and Verona should be solid, again. But Marcos likes his team and believes they can make plenty of noise.

“We will be in the conversation,” Marcos said. “We went with only 12 (varsity) players to get more reps at practice, during warm-ups and during the matches. 

“Roles should be fully understood and accepted before the end of the season. Taking care of the unforced errors will help us win the close matches.”


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