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Big Foot volleyball team adds to school’s fall success

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JOHN N. BARRY
September 29, 2011
— There’s no doubt Walworth Big Foot is known as football school.

Coach Rodney Wedig’s program is in the midst of a 33-game Rock Valley Conference winning streak, has played in the Division 4 state championship game two of the last three years and won the state title in 2009.


The girls volleyball program, however, takes a backseat to nobody, including the football program. Coach Jen Stelling’s program has won 30 straight Rock Valley South matches and is the two-time defending conference champion.


The Chiefs are 27-1 this season, including seven wins against Division 1 opponents.


Senior Annie Kunes, a two-time All-Rock Valley South first-team selection and Texas-San Antonio recruit, said the rivalry between the football and volleyball teams is a friendly one.


“I think everybody knows this is a football school, but we think we’re pretty good, too,” Kunes said. “If they go to state, we want to go to state. We haven’t got there yet, but we feel like this is our year.


“But it’s been a lot of fun to be a part of each team’s success. We go to all their games, and they’re, at least some of them, pretty good about coming to ours.”


Stelling, now in her ninth season as coach, knows she has got a special group this season. Kunes, Meghan Schneider and Laura Hanley are four-year varsity players. Schneider joined Kunes on the All-Rock Valley South first team last year.


Big Foot’s only loss this season was to Deerfield, a team it also defeated earlier in the season. Stelling said the won/loss record this season is a reflection of not only the talent on the team, but the chemistry, as well.


“This group is dedicated to volleyball,” Stelling said. “And it’s an exciting time, especially for the seniors, because they know they’re part of something special.


“These girls didn’t hope to be good enough. They went out and prepared themselves to be the best they could be by playing club volleyball, going to camps and making volleyball a priority.”


The No. 1 priority is a trip to state. The school has never advanced to state.


The past two seasons have ended in the regional finals with losses to Lakeside Lutheran. The Chiefs beat the Warriors earlier this season.


Schneider said the key for the Chiefs in the playoffs would boil down to a couple things.


“We have to continue to play consistent, and everybody has to step it up,” Schneider said. “This will be the last time a lot of us will get to play volleyball together, and because we’ve worked so hard and played so much, we’re not going to be happy unless we get to play at state.”


Stelling believes her team’s diversified offense will make the Chiefs a tough out come tournament time. Four players, led by sophomore Amy Schryver, have more than 135 kills on the season. The team is serving at a nearly 90 percent rate, with junior Katarina Rotta amassing an astounding 518 assists thus far.


“We’ve really done a nice job of distributing the ball,” Stelling said. “We’re not one-dimensional where we’ve got a go-to player. We spread it around.


“I would consider us a medium-sized team, so we have to use our athleticism and our balanced attack to make up for it.


“This team definitely has high goals this season, and they should. This is a very talented group of girls who love volleyball.”


A trip to the Resch Center in Green Bay in November would be a fitting way to cap off that love affair.



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