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The Gibault Catholic High School volleyball team will attempt to reload rather than rebuild with new talent after having lost five players to graduation from last year’s squad that finished with an impressive record of 25-12.
Gone from the team are Courtney Schutt, Erin Unverferth, Katy Gyore, Brittany Laurent and Missy Kimlinger.
“We lost several seniors to graduation last year, including both middle hitters, our libero, and an outside hitter,” head coach Heather Ebert told the Republic-Times.
But Ebert is remaining upbeat about this year’s team thanks to her freshman and junior varsity coaching staff, which she praised as great at developing skills for the varsity volleyball level.
“My underclassmen have risen to the challenge and are filling in nicely,” Ebert said.
Key players to watch for the Hawks this season, according to Ebert, include senior Megan Branz, junior setter Ashley Grohmann, junior outside hitter Lauren Goldschmidt and junior Maddie O’Neill, a newcomer to the varsity team at libero.
Other team members include Rachel Lindauer, Bailey Lehman, Kelly Dooley, Caralyn Papenberg, Amanda Schmidt, Molly Branz and Lauren Schmidt.
The 2014 Hawks have many strengths, according to their coach, especially their mental toughness and determination to succeed and improve.
“We will have strengths in every position on the court,” she said.
As for key games, Ebert said her team will play two Class 2A schools that have been in Gibault’s regional in the first two games of the season — Red Bud and Wesclin.
“It will be fun to see where we match up,” Ebert said.
The Hawks will strive for the same goal as in past years, the coach said.
“The girls have the same goal every year… go as far as possible in the state tournament,” Ebert said. “This year is no exception.”