By Hannah Johnson, Current Staff
Championship teams are often taken apart, but for East varsity volleyball the problem isn’t salaries or player trades—it’s the team’s graduation rate.
This year, the East varsity volleyball team had an extremely successful season, ending as undefeated conference champs. This was an exciting moment for the team, but the end of the season also meant the end of East volleyball for nine important seniors.
These nine seniors include Delaney McCreary, Melanie Fischer, Baylee Gross, Sarah Laufer, Cassie Gillian, Molly Kieser, Mary Tennies, Natalie Geidel, and Megan Kiefert.
It is not often that this number of athletes makes it together through all four years to the very end of their season. Coach Colleen Hasse says that she has not had this many seniors on any of her teams before. The closest was two years ago when there were five seniors.
When asked what will be missed most about the seniors, their teammate Hannah Stueber, an East junior, said, “Their passion for the game.”
Four of the nine seniors are dedicated to continuing their passion for volleyball in college next year. McCreary has committed to Clarke University in Iowa. Both Gross and Geidel have committed to Viterbo University. Kiefert has also decided to play at Cardinal Stritch University.
Coach Hasse feels that the seniors made a real impact on her and the program.
“They allowed me to be a good coach and mentor. They got me laughing and smiling on the court very often which is something you haven’t seen in a few years. They let me see the whole person, not just the volleyball person,” said Hasse.
Underclassmen Lexie Uselding and Olivia Darkow said that they will miss the seniors’ personalities and leadership the most. These are a few of the things that the seniors hoped they would pass down to the underclassmen.
“They should not take their four years playing volleyball here for granted. Once it is over, you are going to wish that it never ended,” said McCreary.
With nine seniors leaving the varsity team to continue their journeys in college, underclassmen will have to take over the program next fall. When asked how the underclassmen will take over the roles of their seniors, Coach Hasse said, “I have no doubt that they will be able to handle the expectations set for East Volleyball. They have had great leaders over the years and they will make the program their own.”
“It will be a young team, but the older girls will help the younger girls. It will be a good year for them,” said senior Sarah Laufer.
There were six girls on the team that were not seniors. Next year, Hannah Stueber will be the only senior but she will be followed by Olivia Darkow, Lexie Uselding, and Erin Melvin, who will be juniors next year. Abby Simpson and Lizzie Odness will also be sophomores next year and will have a year of varsity experience under their belts.
Uselding, currently a sophomore, says that her hopes for next year are to place well in tournaments and continue to reign as conference champs.
(Images courtesy of the Geidel family.)