New coach, new conference await MHS Lady Bulldogs
By LARRY LEEDS, Sports Editor
Jill Kratovil replaces Katie Brooks as the head coach for the Madison High School volleyball team this season. This is Kratovil's first year as head coach; she was the assistant coach last season for the Lady Bulldogs.|
Kratovil was an assistant coach at Aberdeen Central, Presentation College and Northwestern Area High School (two years) before coming to Madison last season.
Kratovil has a 1-0 career record as she filled in for Brooks in one game last season.
Kratovil greeted 45 players on the first day of practice. There are five seniors, 11 juniors, 13 sophomores and 16 freshmen vying for a spot on the team.
Letter-winners for the Lady Bulldogs include seniors Coley Stoller, Preslee Jorgenson, Michaela Duff and Ashley Schwebach, along with juniors Taylor Bird, Morgan Skluzacek and Roz VandenBosch.
Stoller was an All-Big 8 Conference selection last season. The outside hitter smashed down 142 kills. She also had 321 digs and a serving percentage of 93 percent with 65 aces.
Jorgenson was the team's MVP last season and was a Big 8 All-Conference selection. She registered 263 kills.
In 2012, the Lady Bulldogs captured the final Big 8 Conference title and won the Hamlin Tournament. Madison finished second in the district tournament behind Elkton-Lake Benton.
Stoller and Jorgenson are the only two starters back for the Lady Bulldogs. Schwebach, Bird and Duff saw extensive playing time in 2012.
"Our outside hitters (Stoller and Jorgenson) have a lot of experience, and our setter (Schwebach) has some experience," Kratovil said. "We have a few things to work on yet."
Madison is a member of the newly-formed Dakota XII Conference with Dakota Valley, Sioux Falls Christian, Lennox, Beresford, Vermillion, Tri-Valley, Dell Rapids, Elk Point-Jefferson, Tea Area, Canton and West Central.
"We are super excited about playing in the new Dakota XII Conference," Kratovil said. "It should be a very competitive conference."
According to Kratovil, the Lady Bulldogs are focusing on defense and serve receiving during the fall camp.
"The girls are accepting the new system, and they all have super positive attitudes," Kratovil said.
The girls reported to fall camp ready to go, according to Kratovil.
"They attended two team camps and participated in the Watertown summer league," she said.
The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2012 season with a 21-5 overall record. Madison graduated six seniors from last year's team: McKenna Bolger, Lexi Finck, Shelby Palmquist, Hailey Peters, Jenna Selgestad and Jerricka Thompson.
This season, the Lady Bulldogs will play in a region tournament, not a district tournament like in the past. Teams that will be in Region 3 are Madison, Dell Rapids, Flandreau Public, Flandreau Indian School, Garretson and Sioux Falls Christian.
"There will not be any huge difference in postseason play," Kratovil said.
Assisting Kratovil this season will be Steph Krusemark and Katie Weeldreyer.
Madison will open the season on Saturday afternoon hosting Dakota Valley.
"We want to focus on our side of the court and do what we do best," Kratovil said.
Action begins at 3:15 p.m. in the Madison Middle School gym.