By PATRICK SLACK
Four starters and three powerful hitters return from last year’s Prairie Conference champion Upsala volleyball team.
The Cardinals went 29-3 a season ago, winning the inaugural Prairie Conference championship game over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Leading Upsala this year will once again be returning Prairie Conference most valuable player, senior outside hitter Aimee Pelzer, as well as all-conference senior middle hitter Makenna Peterson and senior middle hitter Tracy Herzog.
Returning sophomore starter Danica Cheney should see an increased role as an outside hitter and setter.
Seniors on this year’s team include Pelzer, Herzog, Peterson, Kim Mayer, Alissa Zehrer, Emma Guthrie and Sadie Welinski.
Graduating from last year’s team were Brianna Westrich, Kaitlyn Wuebkers, Kayla Roering, Donna Ripplinger and Melissa George.
“We will be strong contenders in the conference again this year,” head coach Leah Merten said. “This team works hard to improve on their skills and has done a great job so far in the preseason.”
Upsala opens the season at Onamia, Tuesday.
The Cardinals’ first home match is against Swanville, Sept. 11.