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FALL SPORTS PREVIEW: Warriors look to shake off inconsistency

Zeitler hopes to improve upon an eight-win season in the SEISC-South
By ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger sports editor | Aug 26, 2014
Courtesy of: Matt Zeitler The 2014 Van Buren varsity volleyball team is, from left, front row: Hallie Whitten, Jenna Thornburg, Shayla Filson, Rachel Warrick, Madison Zimmer, Courtney Hervey, Aletha Wenke; back row: Isabell Neely, Grace Thomas, Kortney Banks, Bonnie Saunders, Libby King, Hannah Heiserman, Karissa Kobelt and Katie Wilson.

The Van Buren Warrior volleyball team strides into 2014 with something to prove.

Van Buren was able to win just eight games last season, four of which came against a two-win Harmony squad. Matt Zeitler, who was in his sophomore campaign as coach, is confident his team can improve this year if they stay consistent.

“Our kill people look outstanding at times, and then other times, they’re hitting it all over the place,” Zeitler said. “The girls have grown and transformed a lot, but inconsistency still gets us sometimes.”

Two seniors who were crucial to the team having success in 2013, Nicole Coffin and Alicia Fitzsimmons, have graduated, leaving holes in the starting lineup. Fitzsimmons led the team with 121 kills, while Coffin was right behind her with 95. Coffin served often also, and finished the year with 72 aces.

The Warriors will look to Shayla Filson and Jenna Thornburg to replace Fitzsimmons and Coffin on the front line. Filson, a lanky senior, earned considerable playing time last season and finished the year leading the team with 31 blocks. Thornburg is a long senior who knows how to knock the ball down around the net as well.

Those two big hitters will be vital to the team’s success, and so will junior setter Libby King. The junior recorded 313 assists in 2013, which was nearly 300 more than any of her teammates. She facilitates the offense, and her play in 2014 will be crucial.

Junior Katie Wilson and sophomore Grace Thomas will be in the outside and middle hitter rotation. Sophomore Kortney Banks will play libero. Freshman Hannah Heiserman will see considerable playing time as well.

Holy Trinity Catholic will still be the face of the division, as national force Mikaela Foecke is rounding up her career with five other seniors. New London, Cardinal, Central Lee and the two Burlington schools will also sport competitive teams this season.

The Warriors started the year at the WACO tournament and will soon play Davis County, Danville and Albia. Danville is the only SEISC game in that trio, and Van Buren was able to beat them twice last season.

“We’re in better shape at this point in the process than we were last season,” Zeitler said. “I think we’ll do better than we did last year. We play in a tough conference, so we’ll see what we can do.”


2014 Van Buren Volleyball: Varsity Schedule

8/25 @ WACO Tournament

8/26 @ Davis County

9/4 vs. Danville

9/8 @ Albia

9/9 @ Holy Trinity Triangular

9/11 @ Notre Dame

9/16 vs. MSAE

9/18 @ New London

9/20 @ Harmony Tournament

9/25-27 @ SEISC Tournament

9/30 @ Holy Trinity

10/2 vs. Cardinal

10/7 @ Central Lee

10/9 vs. Harmony

10/14 @ West Burlington

10/16 @ Cardinal Triangular


Head CoachMatt Zeitler, 3rd year


Key ReturneesS Libby King (Jr.), MH Shayla Filson (Sr.), OH Katie Wilson (Jr.), OH Jenna Thornburg (Sr.)

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