Departures don’t change Concordia Academy volleyball’s goal

Despite the loss of five seniors, four of whom were starters, the Concordia Academy volleyball team doesn’t consider the upcoming campaign a rebuilding season. In fact, a trip to the Xcel Energy Center remains goal No. 1.

Concordia head coach Kim Duis expects a few growing pains early on as some new faces settle into their roles but sees a team built to peak come playoff time.

“I don’t see it as a rebuilding at all and I think the girls would say the same thing,” said Duis. “We’re probably not going to look the sharpest at the beginning but I’m looking to have a very strong end of the season.”

Concordia Academy advanced all the way to the state final in 2015. Among the returning players from that team are seniors Erin Fallert and Anika Neuman, junior Rachel TerHaar and sophomore Taylor Brunn.

“We’ve got a good group coming back,” Duis said. “A good, solid core.”

Fallert is a two-time all-state honoree who Duis feels is good enough to be in the conversation for Ms. Volleyball, which honors the top senior player in the state each season.

“She’s our key leader,” Duis said of Fallert.

Neuman is a middle hitter, TerHaar is Concordia’s libero and Brunn is a defensive specialist. 

Also back are senior left-side hitter Sally Paul and sophomore middle/right-side hitter Sarah McTaggart.

Duis expects a couple of eighth graders to also figure into the varsity lineup this season. One is Brooke Weichbrodt, who is set to replace Elisabeth Tramm at setter. Tramm is a freshman on the volleyball team at Waldorf University in Iowa this fall.

“She is inexperienced in that area but she is capable of doing it,” Duis said of Weichbrodt. “A lot of it will fall on our defense and passing. If they can pass the ball and get it to her, we’ll be good.”

Concordia Academy took a different route to the state tournament last season. After many years playing east metro teams in Section 4AA, the Beacons were transferred to Section 5AA and faced a lineup of teams with which they were not too familiar. Duis said the only team in the section she really knew anything about was DeLaSalle and that is because the two teams both play in the Tri-Metro Conference.

DeLaSalle and Concordia met in the section final in 2015 and Duis figures the Islanders could be right back there again this season. Other top teams in the section include Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted and Dassel-Cokato.

The Beacons kick off the 2016 schedule on Tuesday, Aug. 30 with a match at Hill-Murray. The Pioneers were also a Class AA state-tournament team last season and took home the consolation championship.

Concordia Academy once again has assembled a tough schedule of games. Non-conference foes from Class AAA include Apple Valley, Cretin-Derham Hall and Mounds View and the Beacons are likely to square off against Class AAA teams in tournaments at Apple Valley and Blaine.

 

Second year back

This is the second year of Duis’ second stint as head coach; she attended Concordia Academy and then played college volleyball at Montana State. She returned to Concordia Academy as an assistant coach under Steve Dickhudt before taking over the head-coaching duties in 2001.

After six seasons, Duis stepped down and one of her assistants, Kristin Fink, also a former Beacon, became the head coach for eight seasons. When Fink left after the 2014 season, Duis returned.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

2016 Concordia Academy volleyball schedule

Aug. 30 at Hill-Murray 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 vs. Fridley 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 9 Aerie Challenge at Apple Valley 5 p.m.

Sept. 10 Aerie Challenge at Apple Valley TBA

Sept. 13 at Brooklyn Center 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 15 vs. DeLaSalle 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 19 vs. Cretin-Derham Hall 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 22 at Columbia Heights 6 p.m.

Sept. 23 Tournament at Midwest VB Warehouse 4 p.m.

Sept. 24 Tournament at Midwest VB Warehouse 9 a.m.

Sept. 27 vs. Visitation 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 29 at St. Anthony Village 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 vs. Holy Angels 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 1 Blaine tournament 9 a.m.

Oct. 6 vs. Apple Valley 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 vs. St. Croix Lutheran 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 13 at St. Agnes 7 p.m.

Oct. 17 at Mounds View 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 vs. New Life Academy 6:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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