The De Soto High School volleyball team is looking forward to the new season, even though COVID may cause challenges.
“This season is going to be a challenging one as we continue to prepare for COVID precautions and situations,” said Ashley Wateski, who has coached for five years. “Yet, the team is determined to play and is ready to face those challenges. Our lineup this year is changing as we lost some key position players. We are looking at moving some athletes into important key role positions and counting on having some younger players step up and fill in.”
The Pirates lost the following to graduation in 2021: Cierra Spears, strong-side hitter first team all-conference, and Kenzy Kreuzer, whom Wateski said was the resilient team leader.
The team has four top returning players this season — Jenna Gianoli, Camryn Venner, Gracyn Beck and Elissa Moser.Gianoli earned honorable mention all-conference and first team all-conference honors last season. “I am hoping she will become a dominating threat at the net this year and continue to be an ace server for the conference,” Wateski said.
Venner earned honorable mention all-conference last year. Wateski said Venner is a very strong all-around player and is always dependable. “I am eager to see her hitting become stronger while attacking.”
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Beck and Moser are returning juniors. “They are going to play a strong key role in the success of this team. I have high aspirations for Gracyn being the main setter for the team and controlling the tempo of the game. Elissa’s block and left-handed attack will continue to be a challenge for opponents.”
“This team has a strong positive mindset that will take a lot to knock them down,” Wateski said. “They are resilient and will do anything that is needed to get to the next step. When a suggestion is made for improvement, they will not only do what was asked of them, they give more. It is hard to find a weakness in this team that is so mentally strong because even when they struggle, they find a way to persevere.”
Where are team’s weaknesses and biggest challenges? “The biggest challenge this Lady Pirate team could face this year is the number of players. Being able to fill the spots with COVID restrictions can and has made it difficult. The players have done a great job in the past stepping up when needed.”
Does the coach have a team motto or goals put forth to your athletes? “Keep going till someone makes us stop, regroup and find a way to keep going. Never give up!”
Wateski said she believes that North Crawford is going to be a strong team “either this year or in the future.” “The younger Trojans are showing great potential. I am optimistic that our team will be on the winning end this season but only time will tell.”
The team’s record last year was four wins and nine losses.
The coaching team includes Stephanie Floberg JV and assistant coach, Loralee Wetter assistant coach and Dale Piurkowski assistant coach.
Angela Cina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.