The Alexandria Cardinals are coming off a year that saw them finish with a perfect 12-0 Central Lakes Conference record, a Section 8AAA championship and a trip to the State Class AAA volleyball tournament.
A repeat of last year’s success could be hard to come by for the Redbird volleyball team, but with talent and youth on their side, it certainly is not impossible.
“We will have a very young and talented team this year, with a lot of potential,” said fourth year head coach Becky Schlichting. “I expect this group of younger girls to be led by a very athletic and well rounded group of seniors both on and off the court.
“Our strength will definitely lie in our potential to continue improving throughout the year, and we have a good, solid base to start from.
“Our weakness is similar,” she added, “in that we will have a somewhat inexperienced team at the varsity level and things will take time to develop.
“However, there is so much ability to work with and to develop, we are hoping to have a very exciting year!”
Despite losing seven to graduation, there will still be a solid group of returning letter winners including seniors Sam Trumm, middle hitter; Kaitlin Becker, right side hitter; Nicole Swedberg, outside hitter; Cameron Swedberg, outside/right side hitter; juniors Rachel Thompson, middle hitter; and Laurel Thompson, setter/right side hitter.
Schlichting will also have a strong group of new prospects coming in, including junior outside hitter Brianna Johnson, junior defensive specialist Missy Schroeder, junior setter/defensive specialist Quinn Kragenbring, junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Danielle Warren, sophomore setter Allie Noetzelman, sophomore libero Shanee Herd, freshman middle hitter Emily Kuennen and freshman outside hitter Amanda Christianson.
“Based off of scrimmages, I would say both St. Cloud Tech and Rocori look to be potentially strong this year,” said Schlichting. “Fergus Falls also has some good talent.”
The Card coach also looks for Bemidji and Moorhead to have strong section teams.