Edgerton volleyball has success without specializing

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Thursday, October 15, 2009
— In this day and age of kids specializing in sports, nowhere is it more prevalent than in volleyball.

Club volleyball has become the norm and not the exception for the best high school players.

If you want to get better and play at the next level, club volleyball supposedly is the path to take.

The Edgerton High girls team is bucking that trend.

The two-time Rock Valley North Conference champion Crimson Tide has no club players.

Club Knott—as in head coach Jason Knott—is the only clubbing the team does or wants.

“I coach three sports, and I like my girls to play three sports, if possible,” Knott said. “When our season ends in November, these girls won’t pick up a volleyball until summer camps roll around. And that’s the way it should be.

“Not having a club player gives these girls that ‘us against them’ mentality. When we step onto the court against a team with all club players, we seem to play our best.”

The Crimson Tide is 34-3 on the season, with all three losses coming to state-ranked Division 1 teams, including Big Eight Conference champion Middleton in a tough three-game match last Saturday.

Edgerton won its 29th straight conference match Tuesday night at Jefferson, breaking the all-time record of 28 set by Clinton during the 2001-03 seasons, and has beaten 18 state-ranked teams this season.

Senior middle hitter Bethany Wedvick, the reigning Player of the Year in the Rock Valley North, said none of this year’s accomplishments will mean anything without a Division 2 state title.

“We don’t just want to make it to state. We want to win state,” Wedvick said. “That has been our goal since the first day of practice.

“We’re excited we won conference, but we’re more excited about what happens after conference. We want to experience that.”

Wedvick became the first player in school history to go over 400 kills in a season and leads the Rock Valley.

Senior Molly Langer is the Rock Valley’s all-time season leader in digs (544 and counting), while junior Meggie Schmidt leads the Rock in aces (60) and assists (641). Wedvick’s twin sister, Katie, leads the team with 285 blocks.

Juniors Tori Wileman and Anne Tronnes flank Bethany Wedvick on the front row, while senior Ashlee Krohnforst starts in the back row with Katie Wedvick and Schmidt. Senior Caitlin Johnson and sophomore Tessa Snell also see plenty of playing time.

“What separates this group is the cohesiveness and how well they play together,” Knott said. “Our four seniors are four-year starters and are 49-5 in conference play in four years.”

Krohnforst said the team’s success could be traced to a simple formula.

“We all have different roles on the team, and we know what they are,” Krohnforst said. “And because we’re all really good friends on and off the court, we have as much fun as we can playing.

Schmidt, who was the shortstop on the Crimson Tide softball team that advanced to the Division 2 sectional final game last spring, said the so-called lack of club players is a strong motivating force for the team.

“It’s like a slap in the face,” Schmidt said of the constant reminders from opposing coaches and players that Edgerton could be even better if there were more club players on the team. “No one on our team has ever had any interest in playing on a club team.

“We know that if we play up to our ability, we can play with anybody.”

Edgerton already has shown that. And a state title would give the Crimson Tide a free pass into an elite club.

Last updated: 11:44 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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