BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Delano volleyball coach Rebecca Rue returns a solid nucleus of players, but not as many as once expected.
Sophomore middle hitter Alex Wittinger started last season as a 6-foot middle hitter. She suffered an ankle injury, is having surgery and is out for the season. She also was the top scorer in basketball and went to the state track meet in the hurdles twice.
Plus, senior outside hitter Bridget Pinoniemi, also a starter last year, is out due to back injury and is expected back by mid-season.
After advancing to the state tournament in Class AA four straight seasons, Delano was moved to Section 2 in Class 3A. The Tigers lost in the section quarterfinals to Waconia, finishing with a 21-8 record, 5-3 in the conference.
Senior hitter Amanda Hanson and sophomore setter Kristin Kreklow return with state tourney experience. Also back are junior middle hitter Shelby Seurer and junior defensive specialist Elle Heinonen.
Key additions are senior outside hitter Jordan Meyer, sophomore middle hitter Bria Barfnecht, sophomore defensive specialist Brooke Lemke and eighth-grade hitter Tori Hanson.
“Our schedule will be challenging, but hopefully it will prepare us for tough section,” said Rue. “Ball control on defense and serve receive, along with a smart, aggressive offense, will be keys to our success.”
The Tigers play host to Waconia, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 and conference newcomer New London-Spicer, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11. Delano will play at the Farmington tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.