Waukon volleyball team plays to 6-28 season

The 2015 Waukon volleyball team played to a 6-28 season record this fall, winning one of its six matches in Northeast Iowa Conference play to finish sixth in the final seven-team standings. Although that win-loss record may not have offered much in the way of season highlights, Waukon volleyball coach Peyton Lapel found her own bright spots within this fall’s campaign.
“The girls were very dedicated and coachable, on many occasions girls stayed after practice to take more reps and they were always good about adjusting their technique or hitting spots to match the defense we were up against,” Coach Lapel said. “We hope to build off of those strengths to improve individual skills for upcoming seasons. The volleyball season always goes very quickly, so the off-season is the most crucial time for building the program. Strength training and court time are very important for the off-season.”
While that willingness to work on skills and make adjustments during the season are admirable aspects, it was the more physical aspects beneficial to the game of volleyball that Coach Lapel sees as being this season’s biggest obstacle for her charges to overcome. “This season, one of our biggest challenges was height, “she remarked. “We were up against many teams who were taller than us or could jump higher than us. We cannot make players taller, but we can focus on improving our verticals and quickness in the off-season to help lessen that challenge for next year.”
A large group of eight seniors headlined this season’s veteran experience. Kaley Benzing, Rachel Kucera, Jessica Sholes, Leslie Sivesind, Madison Snitker, Bethany Stock, Kaela Wood and Kourtney Wood each played their final matches in a Waukon volleyball uniform with completion of this season.
“We had eight seniors this year who all made great contributions to the team,” Coach Lapel commented. “Only two of them were returning letterwinners, but the others stepped up to the plate and adapted very well to the varsity level of play.”
In addition to their upperclassmen leadership, several of those seniors also paced this year’s squad in some of the final statistical categories. Sivesind led the Indians with 206 assists and 40 ace serves, sharing a team-high 204 successful serves with Snitker. Kaela Wood posted a leadership total of 163 digs, with Snitker not far off that pace with 144 digs. Kortney Wood finished second on this year’s team with 11 solo blocks.
A great deal of this season’s statistical leadership is also set to return next fall, as junior middle hitter Regan Wasson posted team-high numbers of 134 kills and 51 blocks, including 32 of those being solo denials. She also served up the second-highest ace total, 29. Sophomore Rylee Einck added 128 assists of her own this season and served up a team-high success rate of 93.6%, with junior Claire Beyer not far behind with a 93.3% serving efficiency. Sophomore Lauren Elliott swatted a runner-up total of 71 kills this season.
For her efforts this season, Wasson earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors, and has played her way very near to the top 10 in a couple all-time career records for the Waukon volleyball program. With still one season remaining to play, she ranks 12th overall with 386 kills and 10th with 136 blocks.
Snitker and Benzing also each showed the right combination of success both on the court and in the classroom this season by being awarded Academic All-State honors.
With a good portion of this season’s squad being lost to the graduation of eight seniors, Coach Lapel knows that the off-season is going to be crucial to any future success for the program. “I would like to see girls in the weight room on a regular basis year-round and partaking in some sort of volleyball, whether it be club or park and rec,” she urged. “I also would like to see them take advantage of our summer open gyms and camps that are offered here and at surrounding schools/colleges.”

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