A setter in volleyball is like a quarterback in football and a point guard in basketball. A volleyball team's offense revolves around the setter.
For the first time in five years the Brainerd Warriors volleyball team will have a different setter. Perennial All-Central Lakes Conference setter and most valuable player Laura Bogenschutz has graduated, leaving senior Sara Swanson as the leading candidate to replace her.
"We were a little bit worried," Warriors coach Heidi Hahn said. "Sara had problems with her knees in basketball and track. But she has recovered strong and stepped up from the left side to be our setter. She runs a nice offense.
BRAINERD WARRIORS Volleyball
Head coach -- Heidi Hahn, sixth year (4th at Brainerd, 1 at Manhattan Christian High School in Churchill, Mont., 1 at CMR High School in Great Falls, Mont.)
Career record -- 81-40 (.669).
1999 finish -- 9-4 CLC, 19-9 overall
Returning players -- Lisa Renneke, Annie Zauhar, Natalie Dunphy, Erin Schellin, Kristen Terrio.
Assistant coaches -- Carla Stall, Chris Ganley, Amy Miller, Anne Niklaus, Paula Rossum.
(Varsity games 7:30 p.m. unless noted)
11-at Little Falls
14-ST. CLOUD APOLLO
16-at Crosby-Ironton Inv., 9 a.m.
19-ST. CLOUD TECH
30-at Duluth East Inv., TBA
7-at Pierz Inv., TBA
10-at St. Cloud Apollo
12-at St. Cloud Tech
"Sara attacks the ball well. We're searching for a right-side player and a setter so we can run a 6-2 offense and have three attackers all the time. You can only do that when your setter attacks the ball well. Sara does that. She's moving well too."
The Warriors return two senior starters -- captains Lisa Renneke and Annie Zauhar.
Renneke received all-conference honorable mention last season and led the Warriors in attack percentage (91.2).
"Lisa is a strong left-side attacker," Hahn said. "Last year she started hitting the ball better. She became smarter with her shots, which is one reason by the end of the season other coaches talked about our strong left-side hitter."
Zauhar is a 5-foot-11 middle blocker.
"Annie continues to develop," Hahn said. "She's getting quicker in the middle. Experience has helped her a lot. She had to step up quick last year. She was a little inconsistent but toward the end of the season she was strong, consistent and sealing the block.
"What's been impressive about Annie in the preseason is her cut shots have been phenomenal. That shows how she has matured as a hitter and is somebody who's ready to lead her team."
Others with varsity experience include senior Erin Schellin (defensive specialist, right side), senior Natalie Dunphy (middle blocker) and senior Kristen Terrio (middle blocker, outside hitter).
"Erin is extremely quick," Hahn said. "If you watched her in track she's a little speed demon. When it comes to defense and controlling the backcourt Erin is the person to do it. Being a senior she adds the leadership we need in the back row. When we need a dig, serve or reception Erin will be the one we go to.
"Natalie worked the middle last year. We're looking forward to her doing that again this year. Right now she has a broken ankle and will be out about three weeks.
"Kristen didn't see any time in the postseason but we pulled her up because she can play any front-row position. She can hit left, block, play the middle or hit right."
Hahn said Terrio's versatility is indicative of the team's.
"We have fairly versatile players," Hahn said. "The challenge the coaching staff is facing is where to put them to come up with the strongest rotation.
"From now until the end of the Crosby-Ironton tournament (Sept. 16) our rotations will probably change daily. We're looking at what will be productive and tweak it or improve it a little bit. The girls are open to that.
"They accept the fact that maybe they're comfortable in the position they have been playing for three years but trying something different will make us a stronger team."
The remainder of the roster includes senior Jesse Pohlkamp (outside hitter), senior Lisa Gorron (right side), senior Jessica Arns (outside hitter) and junior Rebekah Hewitt (middle blocker, outside hitter).
"We're definitely senior-loaded, which is nice," Hahn said. "This is the first year in my coaching history that I have had this many seniors. That pattern hopefully will continue at Brainerd because we do a nice job of developing our program, keeping kids interested and keeping them competitive."
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