Nicolet boys volleyball team wants title
Second will not be good enough for hungry Knights
Optimism is running high for the Nicolet boys volleyball team as the Knights try to take that next step over last year's impressive WIAA state runner-up run.
"We return a talented group," said Knights coach Brad Kuehl. "… Last year, I stated that our goal was to make state finals, knowing we were going to face a tough Marquette team (which beat the Knights in the finals). This year, all I have to say about that is that we are looking to improve on last year's finish and there is only one way to do that."
Nicolet got the 2009 campaign off to a sound start, beating Brookfield East in the opening dual on Sept. 3 and then taking a strong second in the 12-school Kettle Moraine Invitational on Saturday.
The Knights will build around three honorable mention all-state returnees. They include four-year setter Anatoli Berezovsky, four-year middle hitter Rob Mayer and junior three-year outside hitter Matt Klingspohn.
"These are the three everyone is going to look at," Kuehl said, "but we will have many solid parts around them."
Mayer and Klingspohn were both first-team all-conference; Berezovsky was second team.
Those other "solid parts" include senior Aaron Westling (serving and defensive specialist), juniors Jon Fuqua (opposite side hitter), Christian Griggs Williams (middle hitter) and Patrick Bieser (libero) and sophomores Dan Mulcahy (middle hitter) and Brian Her (defensive specialist).
Kuehl said that Griggs Williams could be the wild card on the team because at 6-7, he could be an imposing presence in the middle. If he develops, Kuehl said that would allow Mayer to move over to his more natural outside position, where he would form a devastating one-two punch with Klingspohn.
Bieser's and Mulcahy's roles will increase dramatically from last year and Her will serve as a shot of adrenaline when the team needs it, said Kuehl.
In the Kettle Moraine meet, the Knights finished second only to Catholic Memorial, as Westosha Central was third.
Against Brookfield East, Nicolet cruised to a 25-14, 25-13, 25-16 decision as Klingspohn had 14 kills, Berezovsky 28 assists and three aces, Her 10 digs, and Mulcahy three blocks.
This Saturday, the powerhouse Racine Park Invitational will be held starting at 9 a.m.
- Steven L. Tietz
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