Serve

Mariah Best was one of nine seniors who played a big role for the Warriors during the alternate fall season.

After a long wait to get a chance to compete, the Waunakee prep volleyball team made the most of its opportunities during the alternate fall season.

The Warriors put together a solid campaign during the abbreviated season this spring.

“What will be remembered the most will be how long we waited to get on the court and to cherish the short time we had together doing what everyone loves to do,” Warrior coach Anne Denkert said. “The seniors demonstrated great patience and leadership throughout the shortened season and the underclassmen really valued that as they look ahead into the future.”

The Lady Warriors played just 10 matches during the regular season. They suffered just two losses during the regular season, but had wins over Janesville Parker, Oregon, Mount Horeb, Stoughton, Milton and Beaver Dam.

“This was a tough season to not only get things off the ground but then to push/accelerate the progress of the players in the program,” Denkert said. “But despite all of that, players and coaches were excited to have a season. It would have been great to see where this team could have been a few more weeks. We were really hitting our stride in the regionals games.”

After the strong regular season, the Warriors had a nice run in the WIAA Division 1 postseason. They had a thrilling 3-2 victory over Middleton in the regional semifinal, but lost 3-1 to DeForest in the regional championship.

“Our biggest highlight of the season was the matches in the regional games,” Denkert said. “We were progressing very well leading up to those matches and felt we were playing at our best so far.”

The Lady Warriors finished the season with a 9-3 record.

The Warriors were led this season by seniors Megan Johnson, Chloe Larsen, Emma Ripp, Robyn Ryan, Mariah Best, Grace Pierner, Allison Walter, Jordyn Grigg and Claire Holden.

“This is a great group of players I have had the pleasure and privilege to coach over the course of many years,” Denkert said. “Most of these girls were involved in our youth programs and it’s been amazing to watch them grow and develop into wonderful young women. They represent the work ethic, leadership, the community and culture, competitiveness and love for the game. They will be missed greatly but they have left behind the tools for the younger generations to continue.”

Even with the loss of the strong senior class, Denkert is excited about the Warriors’ future.

“We have to carry on with the next group of players, which is going to be a quick turnaround with summer open gyms, contact days, and camp,” Denkert said. “Our coaching staff is always excited with a new season right around the corner and this year it is literally right around the corner. As a varsity group, we will be competitive as always and am looking forward to working with them and the players from JV.”

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