Girls spikers anxious for ‘normal’ year

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Evin Jordee and Middleton’s girls volleyball team will now have their season from Feb. 22-April 12./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Maddie Vogel couldn't wait for the girls volleyball season to arrive.

Vogel, Middleton’s first year coach, was thrilled to take over the Cardinals’ once-dominant program. She inherited a young and gifted squad.

And Vogel was hoping to lead Middleton back to greatness on 2020.

For now, she’ll have to wait.

Middleton recently voted to push fall sports to the spring due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. That means Middleton’s girls volleyball season will now take place from Feb. 22-April 12.

“While it would have been nice to have a normal season in the fall, I am just excited at the prospect of hopefully having a more ‘normal’ season in spring,” Vogel said. “This has been a crazy year to be taking the reigns of the program, but everyone has been understanding and supportive so I think we will be able to make the best of a tough situation.”

Vogel knows there will be challenges.

Club volleyball is rolling during that time of the year, and many athletes may choose to play there instead of at Middleton. There could also be a brief crossover with volleyball and true winter sports girls basketball and girls gymnastics — which could also hurt participation numbers.

“For volleyball specifically, we have potential conflicts with club volleyball as many of our athletes participate in both,” Vogel said. “Beyond that, normal spring sports like softball or soccer might be the top choice for some athletes, so we could potentially see lower numbers this year.”

Vogel has not heard yet if she’ll have any contact days with her team between now and the start of the season. But she’s cautiously optimistic that will happen.

“We are still waiting to hear what contact days will look like this year, but I am very eager to finally get to start working with my players,” she said. “So hopefully we will get to have some interaction between now and February!

“I am just excited to get kids in the gym to get the rust off. It’s been such a tough time for everyone and I think that getting back to sports will provide a sense of normalcy for a lot of kids.”

Vogel, who played at Verona, was Middleton’s JV coach last season. She also coached at Madison Edgewood before coming over to MHS.

Vogel inherits a team from legendary coach Franco Marcos that will return 12 of its 16 players from a year ago. And when the Cardinals eventually get going, Vogel believes MHS is set for a big season.

“I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to coach varsity, and regardless of when that finally happens I will be just as excited,” she said. “Everyone in the program has been immensely supportive during this adjustment period, so even though it’s been an atypical year in every sense, I think we will be able to make the most of it.”

Many schools across the state are slated to begin practicing on Sept. 7 and could be playing games just a few days later.

Vogel knows it will be tough for her team to wait and watch others having a fall season. But the fact Middleton will get a chance to compete roughly six months from now does give the Cardinals something to look forward to.

“Knowing we are now looking at a spring season definitely softens the blow,” Vogel said. “My priority is making sure my players are as safe as possible in these circumstances, and if that means a spring season then that’s where my support lies. While it’ll be tough watching other teams get back in action, I think our district is making the right decision for our students.”

 

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