Starting Experience To Guide Blue Devil Volleyball Underclassmen

WAYNE – Following back-to-back first round state tournament exits, the Wayne High volleyball team has made it clear they want to make some more noise in Class C1 this fall.

The Blue Devils won a four-set match over Chase County in the C1-5 District Final before suffering a four-set state tournament match loss to #5 Broken Bow. WHS ended their season at 29-6 overall. The year prior, 2018 state champion Wahoo swept #8 Wayne finishing with a 25-10 record.

Traci Krusemark is entering her ninth year leading Wayne High volleyball. She said the returners want to continue down the road of success.

“We have four starters back and we actually have a fifth one that started part of the season,” said Krusemark. “So, we do have some experience coming back but I will say we did lose a lot. Those four seniors that graduated all had major contributions to the team.”

There’ll be 18 Wayne High volleyball players this fall totaling three seniors, six juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen. Dale Hochstein and Nicki Stolzer will be assisting coach Krusemark this fall.

Coach Krusemark added they’re checking temperatures when athletes are coming in the door and the team is taking breaks to sanitize their hands.

“Everybody has to have their own water bottle, not getting a drink from the water fountain,” Krusemark added. “Then, obviously, there’s some questions that we’re screening each of the athletes with. Just trying to be clean and safe and trying to keep everybody healthy.”

Several camps were canceled for Wayne High over the summer but the team was still able to participate in open gyms.

“We competed in one team camp at Wayne State as their other one got canceled,” Krusemark mentioned. “Then Wayne High, I host a team camp also and we were able to hold that one, too.”

Top returner for Wayne High will be senior Lauren Pick who posted 550 kills (5.8 k/s) and 31 blocks (21 solo). She also was fourth on the team in both aces (19) and digs (356, 3.7 d/s).

The team was still looking to finalize a jamboree triangular with Wisner-Pilger and Wynot on August 20. The matches would be held in Wayne.

Coach Krusemark said there’s still some work to done in the next couple weeks.

“We’ll do quite a few things just team-wise to get some of the underclassmen ready to go,” said Krusemark. “But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this team is hopefully going to be successfully and a few of the ways we’re going to do that is by playing great defense and being a great passing team.”

The season opener for Wayne High will be a home outing with Ponca on Thursday, August 27 at 7 p.m. WHS will then compete in the Wisner-Pilger Tournament on Thursday, September 3 and Saturday, September 5.