A fresh start: West De Pere volleyball preview
By Murray Gleffe
DE PERE-The West De Pere girls volleyball team has a new coach for 2018.
Nicole Stegall takes over the Phantoms program after spending 12 years at Appleton Xavier (also Bay Conference) as an assistant and head coach.
“I am super excited to be the volleyball coach here at West De Pere,” said Stegall. “I took a few years off to start a family but the coaching bug kind of never went away. I wanted to get back into it and this opportunity presented itself.”
West De Pere will center its team around seniors Emilie Everard, and Savannah Schmitt and junior Cambria Budinger who all bring multiple years of experience to a varsity squad with two freshman and two sophomores.
“Emilie brings leadership, passion, and skill each time we step out onto the court,” said Stegall. “Cambria gets the team going after every point and game, and Savannah is our libero (any back- row position) who is multi-dimensional and seems to be around the ball every opportunity she gets.”
West De Pere hopes to improve on its 11-25 mark (4-3 conference) from last season.
“I know the team had some success in the middle part of the season,” said Stegall. “I want to be consistent throughout the entire season including our non-conference tournaments.”
After losing to Seymour and Appleton Xavier by scores of 3-1 last season, the Phantoms will most likely have to beat one of them if it hopes to contend for a conference championship.
For volleyball, the Bay Conference is set up where teams play seven games to determine seeding and then a tournament at the end of the season determines the overall champion.
“In order for us to finish in the top half this year, we have to have some of our players fill roles early on,” Stegall said. “You have to be able to substitute a bit when your starters get tired but fill those spots with quality versus just quantity. I feel like we have that in place this year with our girls. The Xavier game will be a difficult one to coach but once both teams are on the floor I have to put everything aside and concentrate on the opponent across the way and not the name of the school. It’s not about me but rather the players.”
With the fresh faces on this year’s squad, the Phantoms will have to learn quickly to taste early season success as they open up down in Watertown and Madison in the first couple of weeks of the season.
“We are going to experiment a bit in the tournaments right out of the gate,” added Stegall. “You get to see which players are going to bring it each and every game, and which types of players can play certain positions. It is all about rebranding and building those relationships with the kids here at West De Pere.”
With a new coach, comes new challenges and goals. However, coach Stegall said her philosophy won’t change.
“For me its about developing players games’ from practice to the matches,” said Stegall. “I want my volleyball players to be students first and then be athletes. West De Pere does a tremendous job with the academic side and holds them accountable in both realms. Volleyball is one piece of life. My hope is that they develop a good work ethic playing volleyball and to be around good teammates that display good energy and communication. The first match can’t come soon enough!”
Complete schedules can be found at www.maxpreps.com
West De Pere Volleyball Roster: Alivia Baumann, Brooke Bemowski, Rachel Breu, Cambria Budinger, Maddy Counard, Bri Destache, Emilie Everard, Emilie Planert, Emily Schmechel, Savannah Schmitt, Mya Zielinski, and Elle Zimmerman