Gaels riding wave of momentum
Dee Huss believes she has found the correct nucleus to put the St. Edmond volleyball program on the map.
Four returning starters are back for Huss from a 17-win season a year ago that included a deep postseason run in seniors Macey Mason, Devyn Scott and Jacque Oberg, along with junior Josie Huss.
“The commitment and dedication starts at the top with our seniors and returning varsity players,” Huss said. “They have put in an enormous amount of time to better themselves individually in order to build a solid foundation to build upon.
“The growth I have seen in these kids over the past two-to-three years has been so fun to watch. The upperclassmen are leading the way and creating a team culture that the younger players are wanting to be a part of.”
Senior Chloe Lewison, juniors Cambrie McBride and Rylee Kinney, and sophomores Kacey Kruthoff and Sydney Engels are among those looking to replace Hannah Huss, Livi Huss and Hannah Schaeffer, who have all graduated.
“Volleyball is a true team sport where the effort of everyone has a direct reflection on the overall success of the team,” Huss said. “These girls are learning valuable leadership skills and what it means to work hard and give 100-percent commitment to the team.
“They are really a fun group and are adjusting to everything we throw at them.”
Mason is a returning captain, two-year letterwinner and has earned all-NCC honors each of the past two seasons. She had 27 aces, served as a .928 percentage and made 258 digs last year.
Oberg had 128 digs and and 21 serving aces as a junior.
“Macey will be one of our top defensive players in the back again this year and provide the leadership and consistency we need with her ball control,” Huss said. “Jacque will transition from a defensive specialist to a setter. She has really nice hands and is working really hard to develop a balanced offense.”
Scott had 89 kills and 33 blocks, including 14 solos. Kinney had 10 digs, served 27 of 28 and had an ace in limited time last year.
“Devyn is a returning middle blocker and we expect her to really step up this year,” Huss said. “Rylee has gained valuable playing time in the offseason and has proven to be a solid addition to our team as a skilled, all-around player.”
Huss is the leading returning player in kills after recording 128 last year behind Hannah Huss (366) and Schaeffer (131). She also had 50 aces and served 308 of 334 attempts successfully.
“(Josie Huss’) ball control will be huge on both sides of the ball, with her focus being on becoming an offensive threat from every position,” Huss said. “She will also back Jacque up from time to time and be asked to set if the competition requires us to adjust.”
Lewison, McBride, Kruthoff and Engels are “really going to have to step it up and fill in the gaps quickly.”
“Chloe has show much commitment over the past three years and I am excited for her to have this opportunity,” Huss added. “Cambrie is that kid that every coach wants on their team as she is a dedicated athlete in and out of season. Kacey and Sydney are both going to have the opportunity to do big things this year.”
The Gaels open their season Thursday at Jefferson for a triangular with Greene County and Perry. They host their own invitational on Saturday with Bishop Garrigan, Pocahontas Area, Southeast Valley, Webster City and Aplington-Parkersburg completing the field.
Huss will once again be assisted by Josephine Alstott, who will also coach the junior varsity.
2018 ST. EDMOND VOLLEYBALL
Seniors — Macey Mason, Devyn Scott, Jacque Oberg, Chloe Lewison.
Juniors — Josie Huss, Cambrie McBride, Rylee Kinney, Milena Naughton, Maggie Conrad, Isabel Woodhouse, Amanda Richman, Zoe Rodriguez, Emma Neverman, Taryn Feser, Allie Lundberg.
Sophomores — Leah Neverman, Hallie Ehn, Kacey Kruthoff, Sydney Engels.
Freshmen — Mya McClain, Emma Alstott, Kierstin Clark, Clare Conrad, Alyson Nieland, Aleah Anderson, Alyxis Mericle, Katelyn Adson.
(Matches start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
Aug. 23 — at Greene County, Perry; 7 p.m.; 25 — host St. Edmond Invitational, 8:30 a.m.; 28 — at Storm Lake, 7 p.m.; 30 — at Hampton-Dumont/CAL.
Sept. 6 — at Iowa Falls-Alden; 10 — Eagle Grove; 13 — Clarion-Goldfield/Dows; 16 — at CYO Tournament, noon; 20 — Webster City; 27 — at Algona.
Oct. 2 — at Manson Northwest Webster; 4 — at Humboldt; 6 — at Hampton-Dumont/CAL Tournament, 9 a.m.; 11 — Clear Lake.