Coaches: Head coach Kris Krug (19 years as head coach, 30 total years coaching), Janet Wardall (8 years), Marty Heyne (18 years).
2016 Record: Overall 29-10-2; Wis Valley Conference 10-2 (2nd place).
2016 Post Season: Lakeland 3-1, Northland Pines 3-1, Medford 3-2 (Regional Champ), West Salem 3-0, Bloomer 3-2 (Sectional Champs), Catholic Memorial 0-3 (Semi Finals at State in Div. 2).
Key Returners: Morgan Wardall, Senior, Middle Hitter- Strong MH with three years of starting varsity, Top Player in the conference; Maddix Bonnell, Senior, Outside Hitter- Three year starter, savvy outside hitter with excellent court awareness; Lindsey Casper, Senior, Setter- Three years of Varsity experience; Megan Schroder, Junior, Outside Hitter- Looking forward to her being a huge factor in our offense; Kelsie Belfiori, Junior, Defensive Specialist- Fill the libero position from defensive specialist position.
Key Losses: Katie Zelinski, 1st Team All Conference; Taylor Cichy, Starting Libero.
Key Newcomers: Elle Hartson, Setter; Eve Akey, Defensive Specialist; Kelly Page, Setter.
Coach Krug Quotable: “The 2016 season was a season to remember. Although we fell twice to DCE and couldn’t capture the Wisconsin Valley Championship for the third year in a row, we finished with a respectable second place showing. Post season proved to be the highlight of the year with a nail biting victory over Medford, my alma mater, as we went five sets with them to claim the Regional Championship. The Sectional Final against Bloomer will be the match that I will remember for years to come. Losing the first two sets 23-25, 22-25, and then coming back to win the next three 25-18, 25-16, 15-10, to make the trip to State.
“Katie Zelinski will be hard to replace. She started Varsity for three years for us and was recognized as being on the All-Tournament team in Division 2 at State and also as a Honorable Mention All State selection. She and Morgan Wardall were our key attackers. Fortunately we still have Morgan but we are looking to the Junior class to fill the void.
“It will be tough to beat DCE this year and they have a strong returning line up. SPASH was young last season so I expect them to be a challenge as well. I’m excited to see what the season brings to this team. They have a comfortable amount of Varsity experience and work very well collectively. As we’ve always relied on a strong offensive, we are working on becoming a better defensive team this season, striving to improve our blocking and back row play.
“Merrill Volleyball is looking to have a successful and highly competitive season. We hope to have a strong fan support again as in the past and are excited to get the season rolling.”