JANESVILLE

Inch for inch, Janesville Parker's roster simply doesn't stack up to the Big Eight Conference's top teams when looking at the "height" column.

That didn't stop the pesky Vikings from frustrating many of their opponents at times a season ago.

And after feeling pretty good about the way the 2017 season ended, Parker hopes momentum keeps building as it opens its 2018 campaign.

"Last year, we were a handful for some teams, and our outside hitters were 5-foot-5, and 5-6," Parker coach Andy Kimball said. "It'll be a little bit different this year. There will be a handful of new faces, but a couple of those faces will be jumping right in. So far, they've looked good at the varsity level, but the Big Eight is a good conference, so we'll see."

Parker went 3-6 in league play last season to finish seventh. The Vikings, who graduated eight seniors, lost to Stoughton in the first round of the WIAA Division 1 tournament.

Senior Julianna Getka is the top returning player to the squad. She received honorable mention status as a middle blocker last year, but Kimball said she'll move more to the outside this season.

"She'll be our best player with some size out on the outside," Kimball said.

Junior Tina Shelton returns to her spot as a middle blocker.

Junior Shay Riley takes over the setter role. Senior Alissa Anderson will shift from a defensive specialist role to the libero position. Rachel Van Beek got valuable varsity experience a year ago and is poised for a bigger role during her junior season.

"Several players that will be in a slightly different position or different role than they had last year," Kimball said.

The other seniors on the team are Joelie Van Beek, Ashley Gerarden and Hannah Brunner.

Junior Carlie Curtis returns as a defensive specialist. Sophomore Jenna Gackstatter and freshman Kylie Skrzypchak are attempting to work themselves into roles in the lineup.

The Vikings will still need to sort out the final couple positions as the season gets going.

"Those teams that are the regulars at the top of the conference (Sun Prairie, Middleton, Verona, Janesville Craig), you never really know which might be the best. We do understand how good those teams are," Kimball said. "But I'd like to see us near the middle and creeping toward the top. Our girls have high hopes and expectations, which is great."

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