By Chris Bennett

Sports Correspondent

The Elkhorn Area High School girls volleyball team opened its season with victories over two non-conference rivals.

The Elks defeated Fort Atkinson Aug. 21 in a triangular meet at Fort Atkinson. Elkhorn won the first set 25-22, lost the second set 25-19 and won the final set 15-13.

“I can’t remember the last time we beat Fort Atkinson, so it was really a nice way to start out the season,” Elks coach Amber Pedersen said. “The whole match was close, with the lead changing back and forth by a couple of points the whole time.”

In the same triangular the Elks also defeated Jefferson. Elkhorn won the first set 25-13, lost the second set 25-23 and won the final set 15-10.

“I was very proud of the team,” Pedersen said. “We could have very easily given up after losing the second game to both teams, since they had the momentum, but we didn’t panic and just stuck with our game plan.”

In the triangular, Ali Flasch tallied 27 assists and Maggie McGraw 18 kills. Allyson Reeves finished with 17 digs and Courteney Curtis served four aces.

Five starters return for the Elks this season, who are also dealing with the loss of offensive threat Emily Schahczinski. Schahczinski led the Elks last season in kills.

“We are looking for some of our younger hitters to step up to be offensive threats,” Pedersen said.

Reeves, Curtis, Flasch and junior Erin Schahczinski are expected to be key contributors.

Sophomore Maggie McGraw is also back, and seniors Dylan Moody, Victoria Brown and Meaghan Ambelang and juniors Isabella Van Dyke, Annie Gahart and Jessi Ingersoll are also expected to contribute.

“One strength is our experience on varsity, but our passing and serve/receive has to improve in order for us to be competitive,” Pedersen said.

As for the Southern Lakes Conference, Pedersen expects a middle of the pack finish.

“I expect the top of the conference to be Burlington, Union Grove and Westosha (Central),” Pedersen said. “I look for us to be middle of the conference this year. One of our goals is to be in the top half, having finished fifth last year.”

Burlington is the defending WIAA Division 1 state champion.

 

 

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