Posted On: 09/24/20 12:19 PM

Prep Dig will be hosting the Octoberfest Tournament at the Community First Champion Center in Appleton on Saturday, September 26.  There is plenty behind the name with connections to the Fox Valley area with the City of Appleton traditionally hosting their own Octoberfest that lines the streets of College Avenue downtown that also features a car show, bands, and plenty of entertainment along the way.  Octoberfest in Appleton has been going since 1981 and is a major supporter of non-profits throughout the community.  However, there will not be an official Octoberfest this year due to the coronavirus as it is “Reimagined” where they will still be able to give back to the community without the gathering of thousands.  With no festival, why not name our tournament that will take place the same weekend, the last weekend of September, in honor of Octoberfest in Appleton.  

We have also named our brackets “Fox” and “Winnebago” with the two bodies of water in Appleton with the Fox River flowing North to Green Bay and Lake Winnebago (If you haven’t been able to check out Lake Winnebago at High Cliff State Park, I highly recommend). 

What About The Teams? 

These teams are not affiliated with their high schools, but most are playing with their high school teammates.  We have local teams such as “Thunder” comprised of athletes from Appleton North, “K-Town” (Kimberly), and “Ball of Duty” which is out of Neenah.  We also have Sterling “Golden Girls” which is out of Sterling, IL which has athletes who are definitely “Golden” which many of these athletes being on the Sterling squad who won an Illinois state title in 2018 and 2019.  Libero, Lexi Rodriguez, a Nebraska commit won a gold medal with the USA Youth National Team last year in Egypt. “The Elite” will be a combination of athletes who do not have a fall season from between the Madison and Milwaukee area – Jordan KarlenJordanKarlenSMilton | 2022StateWI (Milton), Emma MansEmmaMans6'2" | RSFort Atkinson | 2021StateWI (Fort Atkinson), and Andi SpiesAndiSpies5'9" | SJefferson | 2023StateWI (Jefferson).  A strong core of these athletes have played for Capital Volleyball Academy out of Madison. 

What Athletes and Teams Need To Be On The Radar

Ella BuddenhagenEllaBuddenhagen5'11" | OHKimberly | 2022StateWI – K-Town 

Buddenhagen has taken being an upperclassman to the next level where she is explosive with her approach, solid in the backrow, and is becoming a legit scoring threat from anywhere on the court.  This group lost five extremely experienced Seniors who went to multiple state tournaments and they are finding a way to reload. 

Sienna RolingSiennaRoling6'1" | OHSun Prairie | 2022StateWI – Sun Prairie

Roling has really picked up her game throughout the summer and is becoming another point scorer for the Cardinals.  The outside hitter has a  high contact point and with more confidence each week is wanting the ball set her way to terminate. 

Grace Egan – Sterling 

Egan is one of the top attackers in the Midwest from the pin.  She is from the Class of 2023 and will have quite the recruiting journey ahead of her with the ability to be a rock solid passer in the backrow, a scoring threat from anywhere, and such a high IQ when it comes to knowing where to score points.  

Madisen MillerMadisenMillerLAppleton North | 2022StateWI – Thunder

Miller is gritty, she’s the libero for the “Thunder” and is able to be everywhere controlling the backrow.  She’s had a huge summer teaming up with Brianna CantrellBriannaCantrellOHAppleton North | 2022StateWI, another top Class of 2022 prospect to have big success on the sand.  Miller has the instincts, IQ, and grit to change the game. 

“The Elite”

Some of these players were able to compete last week.  The team got together the day of the tournament and just played.  With more reps together, they will be dangerous.  Emma MansEmmaMans6'2" | RSFort Atkinson | 2021StateWI can swing from anywhere in the front row and hits such a heavy ball making it so hard for the defense to get a clean pass to the net.  Jordan KarlenJordanKarlenSMilton | 2022StateWI and Andi SpiesAndiSpies5'9" | SJefferson | 2023StateWI might be some of the most dynamic players in the state with their ability to set, swing, and play defense.  Karlen just has a major spark about her style where she celebrates, jumps with excitement for her teammates, and looks like she has so much fun while she plays. 

Red Raiders

These athletes from Pulaski are young, but have improved every time they step on the court.  Continuously improving.  Emily Bruss is a Class of 2024 setter to watch and 2023 libero Ashton Birr provides such a spark in the backrow.