With a talented group returning, the Nevis volleyball team will be looking to finish above the .500 mark this fall.
The Tigers posted a 4-3 record in Northland Conference play and a 12-16 overall record a year ago. Four regulars return to lead the way for Nevis this season.
Being counted on to lead the Tigers this season are senior Sadie Thurner, juniors Makenna Frazier and Maggie Carrier, and sophomore Addison Lindow. Frazier earned all-conference honors while Lindow was an all-conference honorable mention selection last fall.
Frazier finished second on the team with 242 kills, 37 blocks and 35 ace serves while tallying 125 digs in 28 matches as a middle hitter. Frazier put 238 of 270 serves in play.
Lindow returns as an outside hitter after compiling 50 kills, 22 set assists, 18 ace serves and 16 blocks while finishing second on the team with 205 digs in 28 matches. Lindow went 220 for 240 in serves.
Thurner, a defensive specialist, also played in all 28 matches and led the Tigers with 245 digs to surpass 1,000 digs in her career. Thurner put 159 of 191 serves in play with 25 aces while adding 10 kills.
Carrier returns as an outside hitter after playing in all 28 matches and going 167 for 185 in serves with 29 aces while contributing 131 digs and 29 kills.
Also back with varsity experience are junior outside hitter Ava Isaacson, freshman setter Mya Stacey, freshman middle hitter Kayli Bessler and freshman outside hitter Marley Mitchell.
Isaacson is returning from an ACL injury, Stacey served two aces and had eight digs in 11 matches, Bessler played in eight matches and tallied eight kills, and Mitchell compiled two kills and two digs in six matches. All four will be counted on to play key roles this season.
Thurner, Frazier and Isaacson will serve as captains this season.
Competing for playing time will be junior setter Mackenzie Mitchell, sophomore utility player Alle Forbes and freshman utility hitter Lyra Lubbert.
“We are a young team with outstanding captain leadership. I expect my junior and senior players to step up and lead. They know what it takes and they have the ability to win games,” said Nevis head coach Heidi Wormley, who will be assisted by Karly Drury, Emily Franck and Katie Rittgers. “This is a very coachable group. We are very athletic and determined. It has been a lot of fun working with the girls. They want to get better and build their skills.”
Graduation left four key spots to fill. Kia Heide and Cora Umthun earned all-conference honors last season while Cole Mastley and Jayden Vredenburg also graduated. Heide led the team with 293 kills, 44 ace serves and 40 blocks with 152 digs in 28 matches as a middle hitter. Umthun had 552 set assists, 102 digs, 30 kills and 18 ace serves in 28 matches as the starting setter. Mastley chipped in 34 blocks, 31 digs and 28 kills in 28 matches as a right-side hitter. Vredenburg had 23 ace serves, 21 digs and 10 kills in 23 matches as an outside hitter.
Last season, the Tigers entered the Section 5A tournament as the No. 3 seed in the North B bracket and defeated No. 6 Verndale before falling to No. 2 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
This year’s team is focusing on improving and putting a competitive unit on the floor. Wormley’s message to her players is to just enjoy their time on the court.
“We want to play hard every play and learn what our team is made of. COVID has hit the team hard just as it has the rest of our world, but we will come together and play with passion when we get to practice and play,” said Wormley, whose team hosts Laporte in the season opener on Oct. 13. “It is important for players to understand their role as it changes with a young team, believe in your teammates and always support them. Just play the game with passion each and every play, which is even more important this year as we never know about tomorrow.”