Tiger volleyball got rolling before season ended early
In a season like no other, the Springfield Tigers volleyball team fought through the adversity of losing their first three matches to end the season with an overall record of 8-5 and a 6-1 record in the Tomahawk Conference.
“Overall, I was very proud of how our team played, worked together, and grew this season. There were many unknowns and different variables thrown at, but these girls were determined and competed well through the adversity,” said Head Coach Tiffany Pierson.
Items they had worked on last season and in the off season paid off.
“The biggest area of improvement was with our communication and willingness to play together as one team,” said Pierson. “We were blessed with quite a bit of talent, so once we bought into the idea that it was okay to spread the success among the team, our entire mindset flipped and we saw success from each player.”
The Tigers dropped their first three matches 3-1 to St. Mary’s, 3-0 to Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart and 3-0 to Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop.
Springfield then split games with a 3-1 win over Sleepy Eye and a 3-1 loss to New Ulm Cathedral before going on a three game winning streak over Wabasso (3-1), Minnesota Valley Lutheran (3-1) and Wabasso (3-0).
The team fought hard against St. Mary’s in their second match against them, but fell 3-2.
Springfield didn’t let that loss deter them as they finished the season with four straight wins over Cedar Mountain/Comfrey (3-0), Gibbon-Fairfax-Wintrhop (3-1), Sleepy Eye (3-0) and New Ulm Cathedral (3-0).
“Honestly, this season being cut short was such a heartbreaker, personally I feel so much hurt for all these kids. We however, did end our season on a very high note and I will forever be grateful that we were able to give these seniors one last swing at the game,” said Pierson.
As a team they combined to have 512 kills, 444 set assists, 97 aces, 67 blocks and 714 digs.
Leading the team was Brooklyn Sturm with 122 kills, followed by Cylee Graff with 102, Courtney Wendt with 97 and Lexie Groebner with 70.
Jaeli Richert led the team in set assists with 235, while Tori Roiger put up 165.
Richert also led the team with 29 aces in 219 serves with 14 errors. Roiger was next with 18 aces in 177 serves with 11 errors, followed by Wendt’s 16 aces in 186 serves with 12 errors, and Bree Rasmussen’s 13 aces in 82 serves with six errors.
On defense, Wendt led the team with 146 digs and 37 blocks while Sturm had 116 digs and 25 blocks. Groebner was not far behind in blocks with 20.
“The community should know that these girls not only work hard on the volleyball court, but they excel in the classroom as well,” said Pierson. “Our varsity team is a 2020 All-State Gold Team Academic Award winner. To be eligible for these awards at the state level, coaches must be members of the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association (MNVBCA). Teams with a GPA from 3.75-4.00 receive the Gold Academic Award, our section playoff roster Top 10 average GPA was 3.811. We also had six athletes earn Academic All-Conference honors this season.”
Those athletes were Anna Mattson, Iliana Tempel, Courtney Wendt, Maddy Digmann, Lexie Groebner and Jaeli Richert.
“We had a great group of seniors this season,” said Pierson. “They displayed leadership and have been a good example of what TIger volleyball is capable of through hard work and dedication. Cylee Graff, Anna Mattson, Iliana Tempel and Courtney Wendt rounded out our senior class. I was extremely proud of how these girls displayed such composure throughout this season with so many unknowns. These seniors continually played well and showed such enthusiasm for the game. The Tiger teams will definitely miss these girls, but we wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors and hope they continue playing the game.”
Even with this talented group of players leaving, the Tigers will be ready to continue their improvements next year.
“We will be returning another young, but talented squad next season. These young teams are fun to work with as they really buy into what is being taught, they truly want to succeed and compete at the next level,” said Pierson. “I pray that fans can look forward to filling our stands next season, in-person with no restrictions. I believe our fans are going to see success from the Tiger volleyball program in the seasons to come.”