October 23, 2019

Lady Bulldogs will be loaded with experience this season - Daily Leader Extra : Sports

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Lady Bulldogs will be loaded with experience this season

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Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 3:43 pm

The Madison Lady Bulldogs volleyball team returns a bunch of experience from a team that posted a 22-10 overall record last year.

Players returning for seventh-year head coach Jill Kratovil include seniors Grace Nelson (setter/middle hitter), Morgan Anderson (libero), Kendra Leighton (outside hitter), Morgan Hansen (setter), Briana Steuerwald (out last season with an injury) and Kelsey Gustaf (defensive specialist). Juniors returning to the court are Sophia Vanden Bosch (outside hitter), Autumn Barger (right side hitter) and Abby Brooks (middle hitter).

"The girls worked hard all summer, and that didn't change when practice started," Kratovil said. "We lost two seniors last season and were one match short of the state tournament. These girls don't want to feel that again. If they continue to work hard and play together, these girls could do great things."

Experience will be a major strength for the Lady Bulldogs.

"We have a lot of girls with experience coming back," Kratovil said. "We should be defensively strong with our blockers in the front and defensive specialist experience in the back row."

What worries Kratovil is the team's serve receiving.

"We have a lot of hitters who can put the ball away, but we need to continue working on our serve receive and consistently getting the pass up to the setter," she said.

According to Kratovil, the Dakota XII Conference is loaded this season. She believes that Sioux Falls Christian will have a strong team, along with Elk Point-Jefferson.

Playing in such a strong conference prepares the Lady Bulldogs for future matches.

"It prepares us for tough competition that we will meet throughout the season and postseason," Kratovil said. "Good competition will only make us better."

Madison lost Maddie Gerry (middle hitter) and Erin Englert (defensive specialist) to graduation.

Assisting Kratovil, this season are Katie Weeldryer and Jerricka Mabon.

Madison will open the season at home against non-conference foe Flandreau on Thursday. The C team will play at 5 p.m., followed by the junior varsity and varsity matches.

"I have been impressed with how hard the girls have been working. I am excited for these girls to show how much they have improved since last season," Kratovil said.

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