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Featuring five returning seniors, the Viroqua volleyball team has potential heading into 2013.

Coach Katie Schwarz is entering her seventh season and last year’s squad started strong, but finished 9-12. Still, that was an improvement for Viroqua, which has been on an up-swing of sorts in a very competitive Coulee Conference.

Schwarz can’t predict the future, but she knows that effort equals success and what the Blackhawks do on the court will translate in the win-loss column.

“I am hoping to be competitive this year and finish in the top three in conference as well as advance beyond regionals,” Schwarz said. “I know we can only control what happens on our side of the net. I feel that we can be a fundamentally sound team with a little discipline and with that discipline a lot of hard work, hustle and a little luck we could do great things this season.”

The high hopes are warranted as the Hawks return all-conference middle hitter senior Paige Howell. Also back are seniors Mira Marko, setter; Jessica Cummings, libero; Rachel Arch, libero/hitter; and Briana Vikemyr, setter/utility player.

Junior Avery Schaller also saw varsity action last season as outside and middle hitter and returns.

The Blackhawks get a boost with athletic and tall middle hitter Faith Lampman joining the varsity roster. Viroqua also has another senior libero in Jenny Poliquin.

The remainder of varsity includes juniors Chloe Horan, Kenzie Stackhouse, Rachel Anderson, Hailey Ostrem; and sophomore Jessica Schmidt.

The Coulee Conference always seems full of tough volleyball squads including West Salem and Westby.

“I think Arcadia will be a tough team this year as they are a very fundamentally sound team and have some height,” Schwarz said.

Viroqua’s game could come down to power.

“I feel that we have stronger hitters this year than we have had in the past and will be able to get points for us if we can get them the ball,” Schwarz said. “I truly do not how our team will do this season, but I do know that they will compete, we are senior heavy and I know they want to go out with a strong performance this season.”

In an effort to make that happen, the coaching staff has made some changes.

“We have adjusted our defense this year and need to get better at reading our opponents when playing defense to be successful,” Schwarz said.

The ideals being instilled in the players as they varsity season approaches, are universal. They include hustle, hard work, discipline and having fun.

“I want them to get better every day in practice and walk off the court after games proud of their performance,” Schwarz said.

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