The Badger girls volleyball team’s 2020 roster was jam-packed with seniors, and that experienced lineup resulted in one of the program’s best performances in years, finishing with a 9-6 record.
All seven of the players that played more than half of the team’s sets in 2020 have since graduated, leaving a void of veterans that this year’s team needs to overcome.
However, head coach Megan Walsh thinks it has been a benefit that there is not a patchwork of veterans and newcomers that could be more difficult to lead at the same pace.
“They’re all in that same boat of learning together, which has been nice because they can help each other along,” Walsh said.
While they do not have too many players with a history playing on varsity, the ones that saw some time last fall were mostly defense-focused players like junior Leigha Funari, who was fourth on the team in both digs and serves received.
Meanwhile, none of the Badgers’ returners had double digit kills across the entire season.
Because of that disparity, Walsh expects the team’s defense to carry the team early in the year.
“I think overall that is driving us forward. Our defense is going to keep our front row going,” Walsh said.
With so little for certain about the team’s lineup, Badger’s players and coaches have not set their sights on conference accolades or playoff glory quite yet. Their goals for the season so far are to make sure the lineup gels and the players get accustomed to their positions.
In the always-difficult gauntlet of the Southern Lakes Conference, a league that’s typically filled with at least one legitimate state title contender, the unproven Badgers have a difficult road ahead of them. But if they accomplish their goal of acclimation sooner rather than later, the experience gained in the cutthroat conference could be a boon when the playoffs come around.