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Tiger volleyball counting on new faces

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sports Farmington, 55024
Farmington Independent
651-463-7730 customer support
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

The Farmington volleyball team has a couple of accomplished players — and a few promising ones — returning to the court this year.

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But after losing eight seniors to graduation, the Tigers are going to have to get some contributions from several yet-to-be-determined varsity newcomers if they’re going to improve on last year’s 14-15 record.

“We’re pretty optimistic. We graduated a lot of girls from last year, but we’re not going to lose a lot of strength. What we’re going to lose is depth,” Farmington coach Mike Woody said. “The key for us is to stay healthy. We didn’t do that last year. I think if we’re healthy we can build on last year.”

The Tigers lost several players due to injury during the course of last season, including two Woody hopes will make big contributions this fall — Morgan Cecchettini and Summer Skokan. Cecchettini is a senior captain and middle blocker who Woody said has worked hard to get quicker and stronger and Skokan is a versatile player who can fill in just about anywhere on the court.

One place where the Tigers are set is the setter position. Captain RuthAnne Schmitt is back for her senior season and will focus on setting duties after a junior year where she did a little bit of everything. She provided the team with 89 kills, 77 digs, 29 ace serves and 159 assists a season ago.

“She’s going to take over the setting duties herself this season. With her size and strength, I expect her to make defenses guess and work hard. Her height allows her to run a quick offense and make defenses not know where she’s putting the ball,” Woody said. “If we can pass the ball well, I expect her to run a really good offense.”

Schmitt will once again set up a pair of talented young attackers. Freshmen Emma Fahning and MaKenzie Hesse are both back in the fold, and Woody expects them to be a dynamic duo for years to come.

“Fahning is probably my best all-around player as far as passing and hitting and experience, and Hesse is right on her heels. We’re going to be strong with them for the next few years,” he said. “Fahning is like a silent quarterback on the court. She’s going to be in the rotation all the time and is going to be a foundation for us. And Hesse was just named an All-American for the Northern Lights during the off-season, so with them we’re not going to have a down rotation in passing or hitting.”

As an eighth-grader Fahning led the Tigers with 271 digs and 197 kills. Hesse added 94 digs while splitting time between JV and varsity.

The defensive players making that transition in the coming weeks will go a long way toward determining the team’s success on the court this year.

“We’re going to have enough offense to keep up with everybody. What we need is ball control,” Woody said. “If we can pass and play some defense we’re going to create fits for some teams.”

The Tigers begin practice Monday at Tiger Gym. The regular season opens with a home game against Austin on Thursday, Aug. 22.

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Matt Steichen
Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
(651) 460-6606
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