FLORENCE, Wis. - Florence's "real interesting" Northern Lakes Conference volleyball season begins Thursday, Sept. 5, at Laona-Wabeno.
The league has added triangulars this season, forcing Florence to end its annual season opener with rival Niagara. The Rebels of Laona and Patriots of Goodman-Pembine are both co-opping teams in the Northern Lakes.
"Both teams should be very strong," Florence Coach Trudy Rochon said. "Crandon and Elcho also usually end up near the top."
Florence returns six letterwinners from last year's team that reached the WIAA sectional finals and finished runner-up in the NLC.
Back for the Bobcats are regulars Aly Young, setter and middle hitter; Emma Baumgart, middle hitter, and Keaghan Doda, moving from libero to setter this year. The other letterwinners are Erin Walker, outside hitter; Kristen Schroeder, outside hitter, and Rhianon Franklin, outside hitter.
"Rhianon, Kristen and Erin didn't get much floor time last year, but will be ready for action this season," Rochon said.
New to varsity are Jessica Glime and Aubree Dumke.
"They both will contribute well, "Rochon said.
Florence, with only eight players on the varsity, is finding it "impossible to simulate game play at practice."
"We will need to be creative at practice to keep things moving," Rochon said.
Florence's home opener is a Sept. 12 match with Phelps.
Roster follows (* indicates letterwinner):
SENIOR - Emma Baumgart (*), middle hitter; Keaghan Doda (*), setter; Erin Walker (*), outside hitter; Aly Young (*), setter-middle hitter; Kristen Schroeder (*), outside hitter; Rhianon Franklin (*), outside hitter.
JUNIOR - Aubree Dumke, libero; Jessica Glime, outside hitter.
FELCH - North Dickinson, resumes its varsity volleyball season this week. The team's only action so far came at the multi-team tournament held at Iron Mountain two weekends ago.
Coach Sandy Haustein liked what she saw from here team at the season-opening event.
"I thought the girls came out pretty good," she said. " I thought they did extremely well not having played six-on-six in practice."
North Dickinson has just nine players on its varsity roster. There are four seniors and five juniors. Six are returning players from last season. The Nordics lost two seniors to graduation, Taylor Steele and Marissa Jauquet.
Some of the Nordics have been at the varsity level since their freshmen season.
"I think know what they need to do to be successful," Haustein said. "We're a lot stronger this year.
"We just need to learn to communicate. That's our weakness right now, we need to learn to communicate and talk to keep everyone involved.
Junior middle Miranda Jacobson was a Skyline first team pick last season. Outside hitter Chelsey Stroud made the second team.
"Miranda has really come on strong," Haustein said. "She's hitting the ball down a lot more.
"Our strength will be our net play and serving. Serving was really strong last season. Hopefully we can continue that."
North Dickinson's 11-6 record included a 10-2 mark in the Skyline Conference. Both losses came to multi-year league champion Forest Park.
"We'll be more competitive against them this year," Haustein said. "We played well against them in the tournament last weekend."
Emily Murray coaches the Nordics jayvees.
North Dickinson's next action is Thursday, Sept. 5 at Iron Mountain.
SENIOR - Winter Steinbrecher, Kimberly Cary, Kaya Nelson, Gina Rotter
JUNIOR - Lexi Steele, Chelsey Stroud, Maria Roell, Frankie Priestap, Miranda Jacobson.