It’s been over a year now, and Abby Sigler still has not changed her mind.
The new Sheboygan South volleyball coach, who grew up in the Detroit area, remains a Lions fan.
“Usually people over here feel bad for me,” she said. “But no, it’s been good. People are trying to convince me to change over, but I promised my dad I wouldn’t cross that line.
“I’m a Detroit fan, for sure.”
Sigler, who moved to the area for a job in May of 2018, was Sheboygan Lutheran’s junior varsity coach last season.
While she was doing that, the Redwings were compiling an 0-8 record in the Fox River Classic Conference.
“The biggest thing right now I want to bring to South is I just want to be able to inspire the girls and to work with the program in order to build us up to be competitive again,” Sigler said. “My philosophy is to grow young athletes into skilled volleyball players, but also to help them outside of that, to help them grow off the court within volleyball and outside of it.”
There are five seniors on the team, including three who played on varsity last year.
One of them is Hannah Miller, a setter who made all-conference honorable mention last season.
“She is definitely stepping up as a leader,” her coach said. “She’s a four-year varsity player who brings a lot of experience. We have a few sophomores and freshmen on the team, so she’ll be able to step up and help them. Having her on the court is going to help a lot this year.”
The only other South player who made all-conference, Ashley Paltzer (honorable mention), graduated.
Kevin Herber is another new coach at South, as he is in charge of the boys program after running North’s team before taking two years off.
“I was hoping to get to South eventually, that’s where I went to high school,” Herber said. “Within the first three minutes, I realized what I was missing. It’s so much fun.”
The Redwings, who took ninth at the conference meet last year, have to replace four of their top five runners. Austin Boeldt, who finished a team-best 10th at the FRCC meet, graduated.
Seniors Jacob Hopfensperger, Cale Renzelman and Zach Trescher, as well as sophomore Alex Kaffine, will be counted on.
For the girls, junior Hannah Braatz reached the state meet after placing 14th in the conference championship to lead her team to an eighth-place showing.
“We’re looking to her to lead the team, but everybody ran this summer and is looking pretty good,” coach Brian Henriksen said. “So I’m looking forward to a good year with some improvement over last year.”
Sophomore Lily Gullikson and senior Lindsey Horen are returning varsity runners, and Riley Brotz will contribute as well.
“So yeah, I think we’ll compete pretty well this year,” the coach said.
Two players made the all-conference team last season, and both return as seniors.
Defender Noah Miesfeld and midfielder Jacob Scholten received honorable mention all-Fox River Classic after South finished 1-8 (ninth place) in the league and 2-15 overall.
Miesfield is an incredibly smart player, according to his coach, Adam Laborde.
“Tactically he’s very sound,” Laborde said. “He is a great leader on the back line for us and is able to command his back four along with guys in front of him on where they need to be.”
Laborde added Scholten is a lead-by-example guy.
“He’s the guy who’s always leading us in conditioning, leading warmups, he’s the guy on the soccer field who will not quit no matter what’s going on around him,” the coach said.
“The guys feed off of that. They see him constantly giving 110%.”
The lone girl from South that returns to the co-op team with North is sophomore Ava Wittstock.
She finished 12th at the conference meet to help her squad take third overall, before it won a regional championship.
Wittstock is one of her team’s top three golfers who are back, including North juniors Zjeneexa Vang (third at conference) and Taylor Peper (sixth).
“We are very optimistic this year,” coach Craig Walters said. “Those two are juniors, but they’ve got three years experience. Ava’s a sophomore with a full year under her belt.
“And our freshman, Anna Miller, has played in lots of PGA junior events, so she’s actually a very experienced freshman.”
The top three who helped the Redwings take eighth in the FRCC meet return, including sophomore Jessica Hittman.
She was 14th in the 50-yard freestyle and 21st in the 200 free in the league championship meet.
Junior Hannah Schaefer placed 15th in the 100 butterfly and 20th in the 50 free, and junior Annika Glavan was 19th in the 100 backstroke.
“The girls that are returning are looking strong,” coach Todd Priebe said. “They’ve been putting the efforts into the offseason in the areas of technique and endurance. I’m looking forward to them having a good season. And I’m impressed with our new swimmers. For early in the season, they’ve got good technique and are very coachable.”
All four singles flights feature experienced players, but only one of the six girls at doubles played on varsity last year.
“Our strength will be in our singles,” said coach Peter Kautzer. “I feel pretty good about singles. We’ve got some good experience coming back. We have very little experience at doubles, so it’s a work in progress.”
South, which finished 2-7 in the FRCC last year, will use senior Vanessa Ziegler at No. 1 singles after she mostly played No. 2 a year ago.
Junior Sara Miesner moved up one spot to play No. 2 and senior Camila Trimberger has No. 3 after playing various singles flights last year. No 4 belongs to junior Elizabeth Santana, who moves over from doubles.
Senior Elizabeth Binversie, at No. 1, is the only doubles player back.