By PATRICK SLACK
After graduating only two seniors from a team that went 19-11 and finished second in the Central Minnesota Conference (CMC) last year, the Pierz volleyball team is poised for an even stronger season this fall.
Junior middle hitter Bridget Bednar and senior setter Brook Brausen are the leading returners for the Pioneers.
Bednar was named first team All-CMC after leading the conference in blocks and Brausen was selected to the second team after finishing second in set assists.
Seniors Megan Boser (defensive specialist) and Anna Welle (outside hitter) and junior Tiara Hopkins (outside hitter) also provide starting experience from last year.
Expected to step into leading roles are seniors Alyssa Boser (middle hitter), Mickey Rocheleau (right-side hitter) and Miranda Woitalla (libero) and sophomore Jessica Hawks (setter).
Seniors on this year’s team include Alyssa Boser, Megan Boser, Brausen, Katie Kowalzek, Kailee Monson, Rocheleau, Elizabeth Tomala, Welle and Woitalla.
Graduating from last year’s squad were Lindsay Monson and Olivia Zajac.
The Pioneers are looking to contend for the CMC championship and make a deep run at sections, head coach Sandy Tautges said.
“This team is very supportive of each other,” she said. “We go deep on our bench which really helps in practice to push each other to be better.”
Pierz hosts Aitkin, Tuesday, in its season opener.