By: John Raffel
Merrill volleyball sizzling
Ann Wiley is in her fourth year of coaching a Merrill volleyball team that is 20-0-3 heading into late September.
“We have a tremendous junior group that is coming through right now,” Wiley said. “A lot of them are committed to volleyball. They like volleyball and they work extremely hard. We have two seniors. Six juniors and one sophomore that are on the team. They’ve made others work hard. Everybody is returning from last year except for the sophomore and one junior.”
Among the standouts has been Ashtyn Hescott, a junior, who had 34 kills 15 aces; 5 blocks and 42 digs at the Breckenridge Tournament.
“Volleyball is kind of that sport where you have to have everything happen,” Wiley said. “Ashtyn Hescott and Libby Fischer are our middle hitters who bring quite a lot of power for us. But then you have Maggie Debeau who is a good inside hitter, who brings a different dynamic for us. She can hit on the right side and also is a backup setter. Then you have Zoe Fleming who has been with me three years on varsity and two years setting.”
Despite the successes, Wiley realizes it’s a team which faces enormous challenges.
“Coleman will be a challenge, we split with them earlier in the year,” Fleming said. “We have a Mount Morris tournament in a couple of weeks. We’ll see some different things. It will be a good challenge to see where we’re at and what we have to improve on. We’ll see Sacred Heart down the road for the conference. We lost to them the last two years. It will be quite a challenge.
“The biggest thing is playing our game and not getting too frustrated when things don’t go well and not getting too frustrated. And trying to maintain our composure. Volleyball is all about momentum. You have to stay focused.”