Megan Nelson sets a ball last season for Waseca. Nelson led the team in assists with 562 last season and is one of the few returning starters this season. (File photo/southernminn.com)

It’s not easy replacing a combined 11 years of starting experience in one season, but that’s what Waseca faces this season.

Last year’s middle hitters Rachel Breck and Lexi Herman graduated along with outside hitter Breanna Conway. Breck and Herman started four years each for the Bluejays and Conway started for three. Additionally, Waseca graduated its starting libero following a 15-10 season where it lost to Le Sueur-Henderson in the second round of the Section 2AA playoffs.

“It’s a lot of big positions but we also have a lot of promising athletes coming up,” Bluejays head coach Jolene Hauger said. “This year, we are a very young squad.”

Hauger has experience returning with her setters Megan Nelson and Sophie Potter. Nelson is a returning all-conference award winner. She finished with 562 assists last season and reached 1,000 career assists. She also had 197 digs and 46 serving aces.

“I’m looking to my setters especially with Megan Nelson to kind of lead our team with another setter, Sophie Potter, who played a lot of varsity last year.”

As for replacing the hitters, Hauger will turn to Audrey Williams to fill one of the middle hitter spots after playing as an outside hitter last year. Avery Madsen will join Williams in the middle. On the outside, Waseca has Camryn McQuery and Samara Johnson returning.

Haylee Sommers will likely see time as the team’s libero this season.

“Right from the get-go, we’ve been working on team chemistry and just being comfortable with each other because it is a completely new team,” Hauger said. “We’re getting to learn about each other and what works on the court and how to best communicate.”

Though young, the group has spent plenty of time in the gym with club volleyball in the past. The junior varsity team also performed well last season.

“They’re a solid group,” Hauger said. “The youngsters, they know what they’re doing and they have a bright future.”

Waseca opens the season Thursday against New Ulm in Waseca.

Reach Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-835-5447 or follow him on Twitter @WCNSports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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