Appleton North Summer League Preview
Being in the Fox Cities which consists of Appleton and the surrounding communities is like one small town. Many of the athletes who will be competing in the Appleton North summer league are all too familiar with each other from being on the same club team, playing against each other in CYO basketball, or even being on the same sports teams as kids growing up. Always a reunion. However, in the FVA it has been a trend where the champion makes their way to the state tournament, with Neenah bringing home the title in 2016 (they actually finished second in the conference that year behind Appleton North who they beat in the state quarterfinals). Here is a quick preview of teams and players to take a look at in the Appleton North Summer League.
Teams Competing: Appleton East, Appleton North, Hortonville, Kaukauna, Kimberly, Little Chute, Neenah, Oshkosh West, Seymour, Appleton Xavier.
Appleton North: Coach Steve Scheuerell has built his program off of solid ball control and quality setters which has resulted in three state tournaments in the past five years. This year they will be replacing outside hitters Mikaylah Van Lanen who is at Dayton and Katie Hoeffner who will be playing at Alaska-Anchorage. The Lightning will have two quality setters in Brooke Bolwerk and Taylor Vanden Berg. Bolwerk is a scrappy defender out of the backrow with a smooth release, where Vanden Berg is a six foot physical attacker who always has to be respected when she is in the front row. North will also be returning Lilli VanHandel and Niki VanWyk, who were on Appleton North’s state championship basketball team from this past winter.
Kimberly: First year head coach Carrie Knutson will have a roster full of talented athletes this year at Kimberly. Maggie Cartwright will lead the way as an Honorable Mention All-State Hitter who will be heading to Arkansas as well as returners from the 2017 state tournament in setter Kalli Mau and outside hitter Courtney Pearson. The Papermakers will have to replace middle blockers Emily Scott who is at Louisville and Brianna Weyenberg who is at MN-Duluth. Carlee Doering will look to fill one of those spots as a 5’11, long, athletic, and dynamic middle who can terminate as well as block from pin to pin.
Neenah – Tradition doesn’t graduate, and for the Rockets they will potentially have ten Seniors on the team this season. Kayla Kraus and Addison Barnes will be back…again after starting since their Freshman year. Kraus was the FVA player of the year while Barnes is a two time All-State selection. Both will be heading to Loyola in Chicago after graduation. Tommy Albers will be back as a setter who earned All-Conference honors last year.
Oshkosh West – With Neenah being loaded with Seniors, Oshkosh West has a talented incoming Sophomore class with setter Morgan Yenter and Eva Beeth who were All FVA as Freshmen. Natalie Johanknecht is ready for a breakout year as an athletic middle who can paint the corners as well as Randi Welhoefer who will provide size in the middle.
Senior Players To Know:
Hannah Vanden Berg – Outside Hitter – Little Chute – The go to player since her Freshman year for Little Chute. Last year, Vanden Berg led the Mustangs will nearly 600 kills before one falling one match short of the state tournament with a sectional final loss to Luxemburg-Casco. Vanden Berg will play at Marquette following graduation.
Gabby Murray – Middle Blocker – Xavier – Murray has been a force in the middle for Xavier the past couple years. With a high reach and great volleyball IQ, Murray is still uncommitted as to where she will play collegiately after high school. In 2017, Murray hit just under .300 and also averaged almost an ace serve per set.
Tiffany Paalman – Middle Blocker – Appleton East – Paalman will be the leader for East who is always a scrappy defensive team and competitive year in and year out in the FVA. Paalman brings lots of power and puts up a solid block at the net. The Patriots will do all they can to get Paalman as many swings possible who will be one of the top athletes on the court.
Adrianne Hagen – Middle Blocker/Opp – Hortonville – Hagen plays well above the net and was on the same club team in FC Elite 17 Navy as Paalman, Cartwright, H. Vanden Berg, Kraus, and Barnes. A dynamic and quick athlete Hagen can be used in any of the front row positions. Hortonville could be a sleeper this year in the FVA with Aliza Van den Elzen, a state high jump qualifier and Ashley Sager.