Volleyball: Swanville season preview

The Swanville volleyball team possesses a nucleus of players that have spent most of their high school careers playing together.

That string included a one-year hiatus from one of their key pieces last season, with Stephanie Koetter forced to the sidelines due to injury.

Swanville senior Danica Hanson eyes up a pass during Tuesday’s Prairie Conference Jamboree in Long Prairie. Hanson’s varied strengths on defense and as a setter and hitter will be looked upon to lead a deep group of returners for the Bulldogs.

Swanville senior Danica Hanson eyes up a pass during Tuesday’s Prairie Conference Jamboree in Long Prairie. Hanson’s varied strengths on defense and as a setter and hitter will be looked upon to lead a deep group of returners for the Bulldogs.

Now a senior, Koetter returns to the volleyball court as an imposing force in the middle as a top hitter and blocker for Swanville.

“Stephanie Koetter is now healed from her knee surgeries from last year and is practicing with us,” Swanville head coach Kerie Thoma said. “She is a strong player and will be a great attribute this season.”

One of the top Bulldogs alongside Koetter will be fellow senior Danica Hanson, whose versatility enables her to be a factor from multiple spots on the court.

“Danica Hanson is a leader on and off the court,” Thoma said. “We are looking for her to be a strong soul out on the court. She is very passionate about this sport and we are hoping she can lead us to success this season.”

Seniors Ashlie Kaun and Simone Grittner and juniors Haileigh Sales and Rachel Evans all return with considerable varsity experience, with junior Ellie Koetter and sophomore Madison Beseman expected to see significant action as well.

With so many familiar faces back, it is easy for Thoma to pinpoint the main advantage the Bulldogs will have this season.

“Team cohesiveness,” Thoma said. “Our strength this year would be that our team has grown up playing together for the last five years and has had the opportunity to learn each other and the game together.”

Swanville is scheduled to open the season at home against Isle, Tuesday.

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