The members of the Verona volleyball team may think they have unfinished business from last season.
In the alternate fall season last spring, Verona went 6-2 and looked primed to be the top regional seed and a contender to make a state tournament run after two regular season wins over Big Eight Conference rival Sun Prairie.
Instead the postseason was over before it started when a positive COVID-19 case in the program forced the Wildcats to pull out of the postseason before the seeding meeting.
“I expect us to compete for another conference championship in the Big Eight,” third-year coach Jillian Bauer said. “I think we have the experience and power to do so.”
Verona has five starters returning, led by senior outside hitter Claudia Bobb, a Southern Illinois commit, and senior outside hitter Delaney McIntosh, a Colorado St. University commit. Bobb was a first-team Big Eight All-Conference selection as a sophomore in 2019 and McIntosh was honorable mention all-conference.
The other trio of starters back are senior middle blocker Lexi Stremlow, senior defensive specialist and libero Kimmy Quinn and sophomore setter and right side hitter Reagan McIntosh.
Bauer said Stremlow is explosive in the middle and quick to the pins.
She said with five seniors returning as starters, Verona will have quite a bit of experience on the court. The Wildcats will have to blend their seasoned veteran talent with seven newcomers.
Bauer said with seven newcomers the team will need to work on building that trust amongst one another.
Two other players back for the Wildcats are senior right side hitter and defensive specialist Viviane Graham and junior setter and right side hitter Syudney Schultz.
The newcomers for Verona include juniors Jamie Puent (right side and outside hitter), Lucy Rammer and Lydia Durnen (defensive specialist/outside hitter) who are club players for the Capital Volleyball Academy; Laura Kisting (middle hitter) and middle hitter Paige Lambe, at 6-1, who is drawing recruiting interest by college coaches in basketball.
Bauer said Verona will have several players become surprises this season as they continue to develop and learn the game.
“We have a number of players who are coachable and with lots of repetition, I’m confident that they will make great strides,” she said.
There was no conference season last spring. Verona won the Big Eight in 2019 and will look to repeat this year.
Bauer said Sun Prairie, Middleton, Madison Memorial and Janesville Craig will all be contenders with Verona vying for the conference title.
Bauer said those programs have a number of athletes who play club volleyball and can compete.