from today's Waukesha Freeman -
Crusaders trying to find the right mixture
CMH lost several key pieces to graduation
WAUKESHA – Ted Schulte is accustomed to seeing new faces every fall – but this season has brought a lot more to the gym.
The Catholic Memorial High School girls volleyball team graduated the majority of last season’s roster, and that has the coach adjusting to an almost entirely new team this fall.
“This is our biggest turnover by far,” Schulte said. “It’s a new age of Memorial volleyball. There’s so little carryover, so little bridge players.
“I’m more excited about this one than teams that were destined to win state. Those are exciting years in different ways. This year is about hope and promise.”
Senior Lauren Alberti received honorable mention in All-Classic 8 Conference voting last season, and she is the only one of last year’s six CMH players to receive all-league honors to return.
Alberti split time with junior Lexi Calloway at leftside hitter last season, with Alberti getting the majority of action. Also returning are senior middle hitters Maddie Davis, Marisa Ulrich and Danela Uzelak, who split playing time as juniors.
Junior setter Haylen Levenhagen returns after seeing some action at setter as well as doing some spot serving.
Senior setter Mariah Nelson joins the team after missing last season with an injury. Junior rightside hitter Bethany Krause impressed the coaching staff during tryouts, and sophomore defensive specialist Maddie Miller joins the varsity team this fall.
“We are looking to have a very engaging and challenging practices to see who can step up and take on roles,” Schulte said.
The Crusaders will enter the season with five freshmen on the varsity roster: defensive specialist Kat Christian, 6-foot-1 middle Ivey Whalen, leftside hitter Maddie Rondeau, 5-11 middle Alyssa Miklosy and 5-11 outside hitter Alexis Alden. “The five seniors and five freshmen have to embrace each other – and the middle classes, too,” Schulte said. “The seniors have to realize they themselves can’t carry us to titles. The freshmen need the seniors to be great role models.
“They just have to understand how well they need each other.”
The Crusaders finished second in the Classic 8 last season, losing to Muskego during the regular season. CMH rebounded by beating the Warriors in the league tournament title match.
But the team will need some work before it can consider itself a title contender again.
“It’s not a team that walks on the floor and wins,” Schulte said. “This is a team that has to earn its points, and they have the disposition to understand that and be committed to the task and making it happen.”
Schulte sees Muskego as the Classic 8 favorite.
“If Muskego is going to have any issues, I think it’ll be that their strength runs through the middle more than the outside,” Schulte said. “But I’m sure they’ll find somebody who will do just fine. They have great defense, great setting and great middles. That puts them in a dominant position.”
Schulte also pointed to Mukwonago, Arrowhead, Waukesha West and his own team as trying to settle in behind the Warriors.