EPPJ Volleyball Team Ready For Season

ELGIN — Every year Coach Tina Thiele-Blecher’s Wolfpack volleyball team aims to be playing their best volleyball of the season when it matters most — in the postseason.
Last year the Wolfpack made it to the district finals before seeing their season come to an end. This year, they want to take it to the next level of postseason play — the state tournament.
One year ago the Wolfpack posted a 12-17 record, winning the C2-10 sub-district before seeing their season end with a loss to Crofton in the district finals.
While Coach Thiele-Blecher has some holes to fill with the graduation of four seniors from last year’s team, there’s a strong nucleus of players ready to take the court and earn their place in Wolfpack lore. Returning starters from last year are hitters Jenna Parks, Liz Selting, Taylor Schumacher, Nikki Beckman and Baylee Wemhoff.
“We have a lot of returners that gained a lot of maturity since last year, and these girls worked hard all summer long,” Coach Thiele-Blecher said.
Back for her junior season in all-conference second team selection is Jenna Parks. She led the team in kills last year with 160 and was second in set assists with 168.
Another standout performer from last year whose numbers should increase will be sophomore Liz Selting. As a freshman last year, she had 139 kills at the net and led the team with 36 ace serves.
Another sophomore who made a major contribution last season and will be expected to do so again this year is Baylee Wemhoff. She was the team’s top setter as a freshman, with 185 set assists last year.
Seniors Taylor Schumacher and Nikki Beckman also return as starters from last year. Beckman led the team in serve percentage at 97 percent last year and was third on the team in serve receive with 243. Schumacher was second on the team in serve receive with 287 last season.
There are areas of concern for the team as they head into the season. “We aren’t the tallest team around,” Coach Thiele-Blecher said. The teams top two blockers from last year were seniors. Newcomers expected to lend their talents to the varsity team this year are defense specialists Sharla Schindler and Jordan Mescher, and front row players Hayley Stamp and Terri Seier.
“We are excited to play, we are ready to compete,” Thiele-Blecher said. “With a majority of girls back this year we are ready to play in districts again!”
Tabbed as the conference favorites this year are St. Mary’s and Stuart. The tournament will be played in October.
EPPJ opens the season Thursday night at a double triangular hosted by CWC. The matches will be played at Chambers.