Posted On: 08/25/21 11:17 PM
The Bill Marshall Classic will kick off on Saturday, August 28th at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island. This coincides with the Nebraska State Fair and is an awesome event to showcase volleyball in Nebraska. Gretna’s Head Coach Mike Brandon said he is excited to be back at the Classic and to be playing in front of fans again. “They treat the teams like royalty and it is run really well, plus the Dragons love to participate in it.” “On top of those positives, The Heartland Event Center is a great facility and it will give his team a glimpse of the State Tournament atmosphere,” Brandon commented.
As far as competition goes, Brandon said he is excited to play both Aurora and GINW. He said that Aurora will be a great early season test because Lois Hixson teams are always so well trained and prepared. The GINW game will be a throwback rivalry game from Gretna’s Class B days. Even the younger players know it’s a big match when we square off with the Vikes Coach Brandon mentioned. The Dragons will have to replace some important pieces from last year’s squad in leading scorer Shaina Russell Shaina Russell 5'10" | OH Gretna | 2021 State NE (Midland), Sidney Hauptam (Nebraska Wesleyan) and Libero Josie Mason Josie Mason 5'7" | DS/L Gretna | 2021 NE . After sitting out her Junior season recovering from surgery Creighton commit Skylar McCune Skylar McCune 5'9" | DS/L Gretna | 2022 State NE is back. Photo: [player_tooltip player_id="58783" first="Skylar" last="McCune"]-photo taken by her mother Setter Savannah Shellbourne, who recently committed to Concordia University will give the Dragons some good experience. Also returning is MH Hailey Zimmerman Hailey Zimmerman MB Gretna | 2022 State NE who is a tremendous leader and hard worker for Brandon’s squad. He feels they may take some lumps early in the season while some of the newcomers get used to the pace of varsity play, but is really excited about this 2021 group. Another intriguing match at the Classic will be the 11:30 match between defending Class D-1 State Champion Pleasanton and 2020 semi finalist Clarkson Leigh. A player I have mentioned before after watching her at the State Tournament is multisport athlete Chloe Hanel Chloe Hanel 5'11" | MB Clarkson/Leigh | 2024 State NE who is a 5’11" MB (Class of 2024). Chloe plays years above her age. She was absolutely stellar in the semifinal match against Howells-Dodge in November where she had 11 kills in the win. She brings a ton of energy and competitiveness to the floor. Look for her to have a stellar sophomore campaign! Pleasanton was a talented senior heavy team last year, but keep an eye on returning attacker in 6’2" MB, Chelsea Fisher Chelsea Fisher 6'1" | MB Pleasanton | 2022 NE (Class of 2022) who had 231 kills and 61 blocks for the Bulldogs last fall. She would be someone the Bulldogs can start building around. At that same time slot Grand Island Central Classic plays Milford. Both teams lost their heavy hitters (Hannah Kepler) to graduation or from GICC Evan Glade Evan Glade 5'11" | OH Millard West | 2023 State NE transferred to Millard West. GICC’s Lauren Taylor Lauren Taylor 5'5" | DS/L Grand Island Central Catholic | 2024 State NE is a talented back row player and 6’0" setter Carolyn Maser Carolyn Maser 6'0" | S Grand Island Central Catholic | 2024 State NE is so fluid and has great court awareness. She sets effortlessly from anywhere on the floor. Look for Milford’s Jaidyn Bell Jaidyn Bell 5'4" | DS/L Milford | 2024 NE to be scrappy on the floor. This match could be a defensive battle! Photo: School Pictures Photo submitted by coach Sharon Zavala Here is the complete schedule for The Bill Marshall Classic on Saturday, August 28th at The Heartland Events Center: 10:00am: Broken Bow vs. Malcolm 11:30am Grand Island Central Catholic vs. Milfofd; Pleasanton vs. Clarkson-Leigh 1:00pm Aurora vs. Roncalli; Gretna vs. Grand Island Northwest 2:30pm: Grand Island Central Catholic vs. Ord; South Loup vs. Clarkson-Leigh 4:00pm: Milford vs. Roncalli; Aurora vs. Gretna 5:30 is UNK Blue/Gold Scrimmage