by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Sean Haugen is the new Maple Grove volleyball head coach but he is not new to the Crimson volleyball community.
Haugen has been an assistant at Maple Grove since 2009 and takes over when former coaches Steve and Monika Getchell retire. Prior to coming to Maple Grove, Haugen had coached at Totino Grace from 1998-2008, the final two seasons as the head coach. He compiled a 40-12 record.
“I had taken a year off from coaching and was not really looking to get back into the game,” Haugen said. “In 2008, my family and I bought a house in Maple Grove. I was already good friends with Steve and Monika Getchell. They approached me about coaching the following season.”
Haugen accepted and served as the Crimson varsity assistant coach in 2009.
“The plan was for me to get acclimated to the program. When they decided to retire, I would take over the program,” Haugen said. “So that brings us to present day. I have truly enjoyed my time here and look forward to taking the program in a new direction.”
Haugen inherits a team that finished in the top half in the conference last year. The Crimson lost their top hitter Tegan LaBerge to graduation but return several top players.
Leading the way is senior all-conference setter Kayla Crane, last year’s set assists leader. Other returning starters are senior opposite hitter Laura Brixius, senior middle Taylor Johnson, junior outside Amber Demenge and sophomore middle Lauren Bright. Senior defensive specialist Courtney Medick will provide steady defense and passing.
The Crimson are off to a good start as they defeated Heritage Christen Academy and Rogers last week.
Bright and Brixius were the Kill leaders in the Heritage match with seven kills each. Crane led in assists with 17, and Demenge had 11 digs.
Crane was the player of the match against Rogers with 15 kills and 19 assists. Demenge led with 24 digs. Bright had six blocks and Paige Aspinwall led with 22 assists.
Haugen is excited about the season and feels the Crimson will be able to compete well.
“We are not very tall in some positions, but we can play big and I believe we will be able to play with the teams in our conference,” Haugen said. “We are a passing and defensive team. I believe that these two traits are keys to being successful. We look to finishing in the top half of the conference and hope to do well in sections. “
The Crimson next enter the Howard Lake-Waverly Tournament Sept. 7.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]