ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
The Marion Warriors have nine seniors and letter-winners on this year’s squad. Pictured are: back row (from left), Kimber Hardey, Kristen Waner, Kalaya Jackson, Austin Percell, Lauren Helmer; front row, Erin Richmond, Kari Tajchman, Jandee Sharp, Erin Carr.
First-year volleyball head coach LeAnn Blaesi is excited about having 10 Warriors returning to Marion’s varsity team.
“We’re not the tallest team, so we’ll have to be scrappy” Blaesi said. “We don’t think about height…. One of my shortest girls has the highest vertical (leap) and I am more concerned about that than the height.”
Blaesi’s varsity squad will be led by seniors Erin Carr, Erin Richmond, Jandee Sharp and Kari Tajchman.
“Carr is a great outside hitter and a very strong player,” Blaesi said.
Bringing experience to the front row will be Carr, Sharp and Tajchman.
“Sharp is willing to do-and can do-anything I ask,” Blaesi said. “Tajchman has great ball sense, where it is going and where to place it.”
Richmond and Austin Percell are the team’s most experienced setters.
“Richmond is an excellent setter who really knows her hitters,” Blaesi said.
Percell is one of five juniors on Marion’s team this fall. Classmates Kalaya Jackson and Kristin Waner will play as middle hitters and Lauren Helmer is one of the team’s most versatile players.
Junior Kimber Hardey may earn some playing time as a setter.
In addition to lessons learned in game experience, some of the girls raised their level of play by lifting weights during the off-season, Blaesi said.
Sophomore setter Camille Christensen is one underclassman that Blaesi will consider at the varsity level.
“(Christensen) is also running cross country, so I’m not sure how much playing time she’ll get” Blaesi said.
With this group of returning players, the Warriors will look to improve on last year’s 13-17 record. Marion’s season got off to a tough start Saturday at the Mid-Central Activities Association Preseason Tournament, as the Warriors lost all five of their matches.
The team was scheduled to be back in action Tuesday, Aug. 29, at Hesston.
The Warriors will play at Nickerson on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Matches begin at 5 p.m.