Experienced hitters to lead Comets

The 2013 season will be a bit of rebuilding year for the North Polk volleyball team.

The Comets will have to replace six key senior performers off last year’s team that finished 20-10 overall and 7-2 in the Heart of Iowa Conference. But North Polk does return five other players with quality varsity experience, plus the Comets have some talented newcomers entering the varsity program this fall.

So expectations remain high, according to head coach Susan Nemmers.

"We want to win conference, win a tournament and be a state qualifier," Nemmers said. "Although we have a great group of returning hitters, we are rebuilding in our setter and defensive roles. But I am confident that North Polk volleyball will pick up right where we left off last season and improve with each match."

Back for North Polk this season will be the twin tandem of seniors Megan and Miranda Murphy, senior outside hitter Jill Christensen and junior outside hitters Lilly Lomica and Morgyn Bullock.

Megan returns at outside hitter after leading North Polk in kills last year with 159, and Miranda will again patrol the middle blocker spot after picking up 119 kills and a team-high 47 blocks a year ago. Christensen had 141 digs, 81 kills and 61 assists last year, Lomica finished with 97 kills and 74 digs and Bullock recorded 109 digs and 14 kills.

"We have a great core group returning to build this year’s team around," Nemmers said. "We are returning four hitters, two of which led the team in kills per game and kill-efficiency rate, and we also return a defensive specialist (Bullock) that will be stepping into a new role as an all-around player and setter."

Two freshmen will be stepping into starting roles this season. Courtney Bonewitz will help out at middle blocker and Hannah Becker gives the team height and talent at middle blocker.

Two other freshmen – Gracie Harmeyer and Rebecca Rimathe – will be counted on to help out at setter.

"We have a great group of freshmen that worked hard in the off-season to step up their game in preparation for playing high school volleyball," Nemmers said.

Seniors Stephanie Torsky and Kaylee Wolfe will also be in the varsity mix. Torsky will help out at outside hitter and Wolfe will contribute as a defensive specialist.

Defending HOIC champion Nevada will be North Polk’s toughest foe in conference play. Roland-Story and Gilbert also figure to provide strong competition.

Nemmers also said the Bondurant-Farrar tournament to open the season will be crucial in setting the tone for the rest of the year. The Bondurant-Farrar tournament takes place this Saturday and is set to start at 8:30 a.m. in Bondurant.