Eagles News · Eagle Volleyball Season Concludes with Memorable Banquet

Frankenmuth High School Volleyball  (Photo: Court Side Photograhy)

The Frankenmuth High School freshman, junior varsity, and varsity volleyball teams gathered with parents and family members this past Sunday, November 4th, to celebrate the 2018 season. Freshman Coach Bron Harmon, Junior Varsity Coach Kerri Witbeck, and Varsity Coach Shelly Conrad shared reflections of their players and from their seasons, and presented each player with a certificate of achievement. Special individual awards were also awarded as follows:

Freshman (L-R) Haley Watchorn, Team Spirit Award; Ashlee Walz, Offensive Player of the Year Award; and Nicole Rodammer, Defensive Player of the Year Award. (Photo: Court Side Photograhy)

Junior Varsity (L-R): Madelyn Maurer, Defensive Player of the Year Award; Anna Piper, Offensive Player of the Year Award; and Morgan Putman, Team Spirit Award. (Photo: Court Side Photograhy)

Varsity (L-R): Brooklin Karwat, Offensive Player of the Year Award; Madeline Walter, Team Spirit Award; Jordyn Conrad, Most Valuable Player Award; Chelsea Merkiel, Rising Star Award; and Emily Coulter, Defensive Player of the Year Award. (Photo: Court Side Photograhy)

The varsity players were each presented with their varsity letter certificate. First time Eagle varsity letter winners are freshman, Emma Kerkau; sophomore, Elle Preseau; and junior, Lauren Hochthanner.

All TVC East Players are (L-R) Emily Coulter, Josie Wager, Meghan Stange, Jordyn Conrad and Brooklin Karwat. (Photo: Court Side Photograhy)

Frankenmuth was well represented on the Tri Valley East All-Conference Volleyball teams. Junior setter, Jordyn Conrad, junior setter, was a unanimous selection for the all-conference first team and Junior outside hitter, Brooklin Karwat, was also selected for the all-conference first team.  (The all-conference first team represents the seven best players in the conference.) The Eagles also had two players selected for all-conference second team—senior libero, Emily Coulter and senior middle blocker, Josie Wagner. In addition, senior outside hitter, Meghan Stange, received honorable mention.

Varsity Team Top statistics leaders were:

Kills: Brooklin Karwat 361, Jordyn Conrad 186, Meghan Stange 180

Assists: Jordyn Conrad 801, Emily Coulter 83, Brooklin Karwat & Meghan Stange 39 each

Aces: Jordyn Conrad 61, Meghan Stange 56, Brooklin Karwat 55

Blocks: Josie Wagner 59, Jordyn Conrad 40, Elle Preseau 30

Digs: Emily Coulter 334, Brooklin Karwat 305, Jordyn Conrad 273

The varsity finished with a 16-19-4 record overall and 3rd place 3-2 in the TVC East Conference 

The following comments are Coach Conrad’s reflections on each of the varsity volleyball players (in order of their jersey number).

2 | Senior | Outside Hitter | Meghan Stange

Meghan was one of our co-captains this year and was a 3rd year varsity player. This was a special and important season for Meghan having dealt with the disappointment of battling a shoulder injury her sophomore year and then a broken finger her junior season. She was healthy this season and it was fun to watch her compete and fight alongside her teammates. Meg has the ability to adapt and make smart decisions in the midst of competition. She was strong this season—having worked hard strength training in the off-season—and we witnessed that when she put balls down hard. Meghan is a soft-spoken, quiet leader who is a kind and caring teammate. She provided stability to the team as an all-around player who could pass, play defense, and serve with consistency and power.

3 | Junior | Defensive Specialist | Courtney Palmer

Courtney might be small but she is mighty when it comes to her heart and determination to improve and be an effective player. She is quick and athletic which are two of her major strengths. Courtney came off the bench to help us on defense and she embraced her role with great character. It is my opinion that the best of Courtney as a defensive player and passer is yet to come. I know she has the motivation to improve and become more confident in herself. Her positive demeanor and selflessness are two character traits that are rare in sports and she possesses both. Courtney boldly and courageously—despite dealing with some fears—sang our national anthem each home game and we’re all so proud and thankful to her for doing that!

4 | Junior | Defensive Specialist | Chelsea Merkiel

Chelsea was initially selected to the team as an outside hitter but it became obvious from the start of practice she had the quickness, athleticism and the knowledge to become a defensive specialist. She is incredibly coachable and positive and she added a spark to the team when she took the court. Chelsea gained more and more confidence in her role throughout the season and she excelled as a dependable defensive player and passer. She is smart and able to adapt to changes during matches. A selfless player, Chelsea puts her teammates first never seeking the spotlight but she humbly embraced her new position this season because that was what the team needed and she played with passion and enthusiasm. 

5 | Sophomore | Outside Hitter | Tessa Bronner 

Tessa has grown so much this season in both her technical skills but also in her confidence. This was a training ground year for Tessa as a back up outside hitter and she has been working on refining her swing and becoming a more consistent and confident hitter. She has an incredibly quick arm swing and she has been working on her control and focusing in on becoming a smarter hitter. Tessa has a tremendous amount of untapped potential and it is my belief that we will see her rise up next year as she steps in and fills the void at outside hitter left with the loss of Meghan to graduation. Quiet but determined, Tessa showed incredible character this season as she trained hard in practice and soaked in all she learned from her mentors, Brooklin and Meghan.  

6 | Senior | Outside Hitter | Madeline Walter 

Madeline was such an incredible part of our team this season despite being sidelined by injury. She was released to practice with limitations and we all loved having her be part of every practice even though she was unable to compete. It is obvious she loves the game and her teammates and we all witnessed how she put team before herself—always willing to fill the gap in drills and play whatever position or role she was asked to fulfill. Madeline is fun to be around and she is always positive and encouraging to her teammates. She saw brief action at the end of our season which we all celebrated…even our spectators…as she was subbed in to serve and play in the match against Bridgeport. 

7 | Junior | Setter | Jordyn Conrad 

Jordyn was one of our co-captains in her second season on varsity as our starting setter. She was a dependable, hard-working, and determined court leader on offense—always hustling, pursuing and distributing the ball and creating plays. Jordyn is blessed with athleticism and has the ability, as we have all witnessed, to both block and attack the ball—which is something most setters are unable to do. It was fun to watch her deceive defending blockers and floor defensive players with her ability to jump set and attack by hitting and dumping the ball. An aggressive server, she led our team in aces this season. Jordyn really cares about her teammates and her love for them and the game is evident. I am blessed to have the gift of being able to both be your coach and your mom. You have far surpassed any expectation I had for you. 

8 | Senior | Libero | Emily Coulter 

Emily has the ability to inspire and motivate others and she was our constant fiery, determined, and aggressive passer and defender. She is no doubt a perfectionist who always pushed herself to get better and she worked hard to improve and be the best player, defender, passer, and teammate she could be. Emily moved from defensive specialist to our libero position this season, a position she embraced and thrived in. It is critical for liberos to be vocal leaders and to have good court awareness—Emily had both attributes. She consistently helped her teammates both in practice and competition—encouraging them in drills and during play to work hard and fight. Most of all, Emily has the gift of humor and contagious laughter which kept us all fired up and having fun. 

9 | Junior | Opposite Hitter | Danielle Rummel

Coach Harmon and I have been saying to one another that one day Danielle’s “light bulb” will come on. She has been diligent in working hard in practice to get her hitting technique down so she can become a more effective hitter. Well, the lightbulb came on this season! Hitting from the right side as a right-handed hitter is not easy, it is an art, and it takes practice to get the timing and technique down. Danielle did a tremendous job on our right side this season! Danielle is a natural jumper and that ability added to her value on the right side. She put up a wall and was a dependable blocker for our team. Soft spoken and quiet, Danielle is a humble player who is learning that it is okay to celebrate when she gets a kill or block. I am so glad we have her back again next season! She is going to keep getting better and better! 

10 | Freshman | Middle Hitter | Emma Kerkau 

It is not often you pull a freshman up to varsity, but in rare occasions it does happen. Emma was a welcome addition to our team and she was quickly embraced by her teammates. The 2017 class left a void in the middle and having her as one of our three middle hitters brought both youth and potential to that position. Emma’s quickness and natural athleticism allowed her to adjust and adapt to playing the fast-paced, varsity game. She has a tremendous amount of untapped potential as a volleyball player.  We saw glimpses of her potential this season in her attacking and blocking. She is a competitor and is working on being patient with herself as she learns, grows, and develops into the position. 

11 | Senior | Middle Hitter | Josie Wagner 

Josie knew after her junior season she was going to be placed in a starting role as one of our team’s middle hitters during her senior season. She also knew she would need to improve her strength in the off season in order to contribute and be effective on the court. I am incredibly proud of the work Josie put in during the off-season—training with Coach Harmon in the weight room and even doing some lifting on her own. Josie was a reliable hitter for us and she was our leader in blocks this season. She even got to serve this year and that serve of hers, although unpredictable at times, proved to be effective and often times, surprising her opponents with that quick drop as it crossed the net. Josie has led through her ability to stay positive and determined on the court and has taught everyone to keep a sense of humor when mistakes are made.

14 | Junior | Outside Hitter | Brooklin Karwat 

This is Brooklin’s 3rd year as a varsity player and starter. Brooklin is a very smart, observant player who possesses a lot of knowledge of the game. She has a strategic mind and understands the game and how to adapt quickly on the court in the midst of competition. Brooklin led our team in kills and as an all-around player, she was second in digs, and was one of our three primary passers. Her teammates depended on her in critical situations to side us out with one of her crushing kills. She is a focus, determined player who has outstanding court awareness—allowing her to key in on her opponent’s tendencies. I think she’d make a good coach someday and I sure hope that is something she considers. Congratulations, Brooklin, on a great season! 

16 | Sophomore | Middle Hitter | Elle Preseau 

Elle was the first player in the gym each day for practice and she was faithful to help set up the net system. Elle seems to not let anything faze her. She can be in a highly competitive match and yet she is able to remain calm and not let the pressure get to her. It’s not that she never gets nervous, but she never shows it. She wants to be the best she can be and is willing to work hard in practice and stay extra hours to reach her goals. We all witnessed how Elle, about three quarters through the season, began to blossom. Her timing improved and she was connecting and crushing balls into the opponent’s court. Elle’s blocking also improved and she puts up a big wall for opponents. I think we all loved it when Elle would turn around grinning ear to ear, fists closed with arms flexed! I anticipate Elle to just keep improving. 

17 | Junior | Defensive Specialist | Lauren Hochthanner

Lauren is a quiet, focused player who works hard in practice each day. Defensive specialists are expected to be consistent passers and reliable defensive players and Lauren thrived on having opportunities to get into the game so that she could help her team’s efforts. A good passer, Lauren came off the bench many times to help her teammates on serve receive. Lauren was adaptable in that she was able to make adjustments when she was asked to play any of the three back row positions. It is evident she loves the game and loves being with her teammates. She may not be the one initiating the funny conversations or cutting up in practice, but the smile on her face in response to her crazy teammates shows she is in her element when she is with her volleyball family.