By Robert Whitmire
The SPASH Volleyball team looks to up its game and challenge for the top spot in the Wisconsin Valley Conference in 2017.
The Panthers welcome back Julie Johnson to the head coaching position this year. Johnson, who previously led the Panthers from 2009-2013, will have former SPASH standouts Jordan Gollon and Molly Williams on her bench along with along with Brooke Walsh, Nicki Nelson and Val Every.
Johnson enters her 20th year of coaching volleyball, which includes NCAA Division I and III, high school and club levels. She played her college ball at the University of Minnesota.
Looking to put together a solid and balanced roster of returning players and newcomers, the Panthers eager to move up from a fifth place finish in 2016 and battle it out with conference powers D.C. Everest and Marshfield.
“I fully anticipate a very competitive environment, which will create the kind of team culture necessary to accomplish our goals,” said Johnson. “We have a very talented group and we will work hard to elevate the level of play, build team cohesiveness and develop a winning attitude.”
Three of the returning players looking to lead Panthers’ the way are senior setter Ally Miklesh, middle blocker Rachel Sullivan, and junior outside hitter Kayla Lass.
Miklesh, a 2016 first team All-Conference selection at the setter position, finished last season second in the conference with 308 assists and a 7.51 assist per set percentage. Lass averaged 3.83 digs per set to put her amongst the conference leaders, and Sullivan was solid at the net with 63 kills in 188 attempts.
“We have work to do to get the program where we want it but I couldn’t be more excited about this team,” said Johnson. “We have committed players who want to be a part of something positive and who are working hard to make that happen.”
2017 Volleyball Schedule
Saturday, August 19 @ 9:00 am – Scrimmage @ Marshfield High School
Tuesday, August 22 @ 9:00 am – Panther Invite @ SPASH Fieldhouse
Friday, August 25 @ 7:15 pm – Invite @ Just A Game Field House in Wisconsin Dells
Saturday, August 26 @ 8:00 am – Invite @ Just A Game Field House in Wisconsin Dells
Thursday, August 31 @ 7:00 pm – @ Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School
Saturday, September 2 @ 9:00 am – @ D.C. Everest High School Invite
Thursday, September 7 @ 7:00 pm – Host Marshfield High School at SPASH Field House
Tuesday, September 12 @ 7:00 pm – @ Eau Claire Memorial High School
Thursday, September 14 @ 7:00 pm – @ Wausau East High School
Saturday, September 16 @ 9:00 am – @ WVC Meet @ Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School
Saturday, September 23 @ 9:00 am – @ Appleton East High School Invite
Thursday, September 28 @ 7:00 pm – Host Merrill @ SPASH Field House
Tuesday, October 3 @ 7:00 pm – @ Chippewa Falls High School
Thursday, October 5 @ 7:00 pm – @ D.C. Everest High School
Saturday, October 7 @ 9:00 am – @ WVC Meet @ Wausau West High School
Tuesday, October 10 @ 7:00 pm – @ Marshfield High School
Thursday, October 12 @ 7:00 pm – Host Wausau West @ SPASH Field House
Thursday, October 19 @ 7:00 pm – WIAA Regional @ TBA
Saturday, October 21 @ 7:00 pm – WIAA Regional @ TBA
Thursday, October 26 @ 7:00 pm – WIAA Sectional @ D.C. Everest High School
Saturday, October 28 @ 7:00 pm – WIAA Sectional @ Menomonie High School