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Wolverines ready to create more havoc on volleyball court

Photo by Brian Hansel Heather Theisen will be WDC's No. 1 setter this season and a lot rests on how well she recovers from a back injury suffered during the 2010-2011 basketball season.

They took it to all 33 of their opponents last fall and now Sue Volkmann and her Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines are known from the Canadian border to Iowa.

The team that lost their school in the June tornado that hit Wadena became the darlings of the state volleyball tournament by digging in against state foes Delano, Sauk Centre and Hutchinson and proving that a little adversity could not stop them.

The Class AA state champions will have a good share of their talent back but with five invaluable seniors gone, the Wolverines are a team undergoing some transition.

"We lost five outstanding seniors but our cupboard isn't bare," Volkmann said.

Seniors back include Brittney Noon, Avery Jackson, Kaitlin Ditsworth and Morgan Lugert.

Noon has been an outstanding outside hitter for the Wolverines. Jackson is one of the club's back row specialists but will also be playing on the outside this season. Ditsworth returns as an outside hitter but Lugert is going to move to a defensive spot.

Juniors include Caitlin Volkmann, Melissa Moenkedick, Emily Miron and Halley Maas. Volkmann was a strong server and defensive player for WDC last year. Moenkedick will give the Wolverines a tall player on the outside. Miron came on last year to fill a middle hitter spot. Maas is coming up from the junior varsity to play outside hitter.

Sophomores on the team will be Heather and Hope Theisen and Sydney Schissel. Heather will take on most of the setting duties and Volkmann believes that a key to WDC's season will be how well she recovers from a back injury suffered last winter in basketball. Hope gives the Wolverines a solid defensive player at the libero spot. Schissel is also slated for defense.

It was defense that made the Wolverines the powerhouse they were last season.

"I think we are going to probably have one of the best defenses in the state this year," Volkmann said. "These kids play with no fear, they go after everything and they are very good at passing."

The Wolverines entered the season ranked No. 1 in Class AA last year after two straight trips to the state tournament. Their goals for the coming season have not changed - a Mid-State Conference title would suit them just fine along with another trip to the state tournament in St. Paul. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Perham are two of the teams that Volkmann regards as good section challengers this year. Thief River Falls has an up and coming team in the north half of Section 8AA.

The Wolverines enter the season ranked eighth by Breakdown magazine and 10th by the Minnesota Coaches Association.