Pictured is the 2010 Fort Recovery High School volleyball team. Front row from left are Olivia Thien, Shelby Brunswick, Holly Brunswick, Nichole Kaiser and Holly Thien. Back row are coach Diana Rammel, Kelsey Fiely, Rashell Muhlenkamp, Chelsea Pottkotter, Kayla Kahlig, Kylie Kahlig, Ericka Lennartz, Abby Backs and Emily Link.
Pictured is the 2010 Fort Recovery High School volleyball team. Front row from left are Olivia Thien, Shelby Brunswick, Holly Brunswick, Nichole Kaiser and Holly Thien. Back row are coach Diana Rammel, Kelsey Fiely, Rashell Muhlenkamp, Chelsea Pottkotter, Kayla Kahlig, Kylie Kahlig, Ericka Lennartz, Abby Backs and Emily Link.
The 2009 season was a roller-coaster ride for the Fort Recovery High School volleyball team.
The Indians came out hot, opening 5-1 and winning the St. Mary’s Invitational. But then they stumbled, dropping seven of their next eight matches.
However, they were able to fight back, winning seven of their next eight — the only loss came to top-ranked Marion Local in four games — and picking up their first sectional title since 1994 with a three-game sweep of Coldwater. They also put up a strong fight against undefeated Archbold in the district semifinal before falling in four games.
The Indians, who finished 14-11 overall, would love to bring home another sectional title this year while hoping to avoid another mid-season slump. In order to do so they’ll have to overcome some major losses to graduation, including six players who saw action in at least 74 of the team’s 81 games last season.
Top among the losses is Nicole Pottkotter, who led the squad in kills (260), assists (380), blocks (56) and aces (37). Also gone are Emily May (425 digs), Alyssa Brackman (191 digs), Josie Guggenbiller (83 kills), Chelsea Leuthold (198 digs, 140 kills) and Carly Staugler (300 assists).
The most experienced returning player for the Tribe is middle-hitter Holly Brunswick.
She was second to Pottkotter with 232 kills last season, and also notched 41 blocks. During her sophomore year she had 115 kills and 26 blocks.
“Holly Brunswick is outstanding,” said FRHS coach Diana Rammel. “She’s been playing really, really well in practice.
“You might even see her a lot on defense this year,” she added of the senior who had just 14 digs a year ago.
The only other returning players who saw significant varsity playing time last season are seniors Olivia Thien and Shelby Brunswick. Thien played in 72 games and recorded 109 kills and 20 blocks, and Shelby Brunswick finished with 46 kills and 10 blocks.
This year, however, Shelby Brunswick will make the move to setter, where she plays during the club season. She will have big shoes to fill with the losses of Pottkotter and Staugler, as the returning players to the FRHS squad combined for just nine assists in the entire 2009 season.
“Olivia Thien has been playing really well, hitting really well,” said Rammel. “(Shelby) has been doing a really nice job for me.
“Definitely I would say Shelby Brunswick, Holly Brunswick and Olivia Thien are my leaders. They just take charge of the team and keep people motivated during practice. I think that’s what it takes.”
Nichole Kaiser and Holly Thien, who each saw limited varsity action last season, round out the group of five seniors. They are joined by juniors Ericka Lennartz (an outside hitter), Kylie Kahlig, Rashell Muhlenkamp, Kayla Kahlig and Abby Backs, as well as sophomores Chelsea Pottkotter, who will run opposite Shelby Brunswick at setter, Kelsey Fiely and Emily Link.
“I’ve got lots of hitters that can hit anywhere,” said Rammel. “We may run four middle hitters this year. It should be interesting.”
With so many new players involved, practice has been a learning experience for everyone. But Rammel said she is hoping the group will come together and give the Indians a chance for another plus-.500 season.
“We’ve played pretty well (during the summer),” she said. “It’s hard … to get a real good grasp of what you’ve got. …
“I think just having the girls play together (is a key). Right now everybody is playing next to somebody new. So they have to get used to each other. I think that’s the biggest thing right now.”