Gary Giombetti

Hibbing Daily Tribune

NASHWAUK — The Nashwauk-Keewatin High School volleyball team has started the season with a 2-2 mark, and Spartan coach Jessica Noonan is looking for bigger and better things.

Nashwauk-Keewatin has the team to do that with four seniors and three juniors, who all have varsity experience.

Throw in three sophomores and one freshman, and the Spartans are primed for a successful 2019 campaign.

Nashwauk-Keewatin coming off a sweep of Deer River, and the Spartans will try to make it two in a row today when they host Northland, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Nashwauk-Keewatin High School Gymnasium.

Leading the way for the Spartans are those seniors, Jordyn Nelson, Alexia Clusiau, Halie Nash and Graci Williams.

“We want them to be able to lead the team in the right direction,” Noonan said. “They have to keep a positive atmosphere throughout the season. We’re four games in, and they’ve been doing well with that.

“They’re trying to keep positivity in the forefront of players’ minds during practices and games. They keep them on track, staying focused.”

Clusiau has done her job defensively, while Nash has done her job in the front row.

“Lexi has passed well, and Halie has been consistent in the front row,” Noonan said. “Jordyn and Graci have been good leaders on and off the court.”

The junior class is led by Johnnie Waldvogel, Madi Owens and MIsty Bozich.

“They also proved solid leadership,” Noonan said. “Johnnie and Madi both play left-side, and they have been strong players this year. Misty has stepped up this year as one of our setters.”

That position was left vacant when Libby Korpi graduated last year, so both Bozich and freshman Addy Gangl are filling her shoes.

The sophomores include, Taylor Williams, Jazlynn Svaleson and Kaydince Thoennes.

“They’re good role models for all of the ages on this team,” Noonan said. “They have strong serves and good passing skills.”

What are Nashwauk-Keewatin’s strengths and weaknesses this season?

“They’re good about picking up stray balls and being quick on their feet, but our serving needs to improve,” Noonan said. “We miss too many serves in our games. Our serve receive, it’s been looking good.

“We’ve been getting consistent passes up to our setters.”

With that combination of players, Noonan expects a good season out of them.

The Spartans will try to get over that .500 mark against the Eagles.

“We scrimmaged them before the season started, and they have a decent block and consistent hitters,” Noonan said. “They also serve the ball strong. We have to stay positive and talking.

“The girls play better when they talk, Those have been our two main focuses this season. We’re hoping for a positive season.”

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