Posted On: 02/23/21 10:58 AM
Tryouts are being completed, all forms are in (after a few reminders from coaches), and the first alternate fall season is now in action for Wisconsin volleyball teams. Schools had to declare this fall if they were going to be playing the traditional fall volleyball season or the alternate fall volleyball season, which will be February 22 – April 17 (With hopes of a season-ending tournament). Here are storylines to follow and questions we have heading into the new land of alternate fall volleyball, being play in the spring (that’s a sentence I never thought I would type).
Who Is Playing?
There are just over 120 teams who will be competing in the alternate fall season which the first day of practice is Monday, February 22. A different look to say the least to have a high school season be coinciding with the club volleyball season which takes plays from January to June. The majority of teams representing the 120 participating are from Northeast Wisconsin in the Green Bay/Fox Valley area moving to the Southwest with a large contingent of teams from the greater Madison area ready to compete. First competition dates are slated for Tuesday, March 2.
Lightning Looking To Strike
Appleton North will be a clear favorite this upcoming season with a large part of their team returning from their 2019 state tournament appearance. Seniors Brooke BolwerkBrookeBolwerk5'6" | SAppleton North | 2021StateWI (Minnesota State-Mankato) and Grace DemetricianGraceDemetrician5'7" | LAppleton North | 2021StateWI will lead the way. They will also return a strong Junior class that is led by Brianna CantrellBriannaCantrellOHAppleton North | 2022StateWI who was the Fox Valley Association Player of the Year in 2019 and a 1st Team All State pick as a Sophomore. One to watch that is only a Freshman is six rotation outside hitter Ella DemetricianEllaDemetrician6'1" | OHAppleton North | 2024WI who is one of the top 2024 prospects in the state.
How Will They Do It All?
The elephant in the room will be in regards to how athletes who are playing club going to balance a high school season as well. This will take flexibility, communication, and planning on the account of high school athletes, coaches, as well as club coaches as to what the expectations will be. The majority of club practices happen twice a week (with the possibility of one on the weekend). Some high schools will have an overload of activity with football starting in two weeks as well for the alternate fall season. Some major club events that will happen during this season are Badger Region Championships that are now three day events (March 12-14 for 15s and 16s and March 26-28 for 17s and 18s). Balancing the number of jumps, keeping fresh mentally and physically will be a big key to the season, as well as remaining healthy for a chance at the postseason?
Will There Be a Postseason?
As with all of the WIAA sports, that is yet to be determined, but good news is there was a post season for all sports so far in the 2020-2021 seasons with state basketball coming up this weekend for girls in La Crosse and Oshkosh. Looking at the calendar, the most likely case for a postseason would be the week of April 12-17. Here would be some questions to consider; How many divisions? Could the postseason be during the week? Saturday, April 17 is the last weekend of Badger Region Power League and is also an ACT Test Date. Plenty of question marks where patience will be a key piece to the season as well?
What Will Schedules Look Like?
For most teams, it won’t be uncommon to play three matches in a week. With a six weeks of games, teams will be looking to get in as many matches as possible. There will be opportunities for triangulars or quads and for some conferences, a true conference champion. For the Fox Valley Association and the Fox River Classic Conference, the majority of teams will be competing in the alternate season. For the Big 8 Conference, which is comprised of the large schools in the Madison area, they will have to see who and where they can play. For teams in Dane County, they have been road warriors in every sport so far this season with no competition within county lines or with Madison Public Schools. For those athletes, if there is a place to play, they will be more than happy to take it and take on whatever competition they can find.