Mike Sohre is in his sixth season as Faith Christian School volleyball coach. And, he feels this year’s team could be his best.
“We really have some very strong net players which we haven’t had in the past, so our style will be a little different and pretty exciting to watch,” said Sohre. “We have a good blend experience and youth.
“Depth is always a concern for us because of lack of numbers but I think this team can overcome that.”
The Saints graduated three players from last year’s 9-11 team - Madde Brown, Carlyn Ross and Katie Anderson. The returning letter-winners include senior Lauren Freichels and juniors Ashley Johnson, and Ashley Nordvik.
The other players on this year’s varsity include senior Faith Britton, sophomore Tiffany Crapser, ninth-grader Alison Cornelius and seventh-grader Lauren Curott.
Following is a question-and-answer interview with Sohre.
•Question: How would you describe your players?
-Lauren Freichels is a great all-round player who is also a former MVP. She should have a great year.
-Faith Britton is a home school addition who has lots of experience and will raise the competitive level of the team a lot. She had a great basketball season last year.
-Ashley Johnson is another great all-round player who has really stepped it up in the last two years.
-Ashley Nordvik is in her second season and now understands the team concept and has solid skills for serving and back row play.
-Tiffany Crapser is a first year varsity player and should help solidify the lineup.
-Alison Cornelius is a first year varsity player who is very athletically gifted and could become a real force once she gets everything figured out and gets some experience.
-Lauren Curott has great hands and will be our starting setter. A real natural on the court.
Freichels, Britton and Johnson are captains.
•Question: What would be areas that need some work?
•Sohre: Cohesiveness on the floor will be a work in progress as the girls adjust to a new system this year to take advantage of our strengths of setting and hitting.
•Question: What would be goals for the season?
•Sohre: We want to be in the medal round at the end of the year tourney.
•Question: What schools would be favorites in your league/state tournament?
•Sohre: Cambridge, Rochester (RAHS), and St.Cloud Christian.
•Question: What strides has the volleyball program made the past few years?
•Sohre: The last couple years into this year, we have a nice junior high program developing which will really pay off in a couple years in adding experience to the varsity program.
•Question: What keeps you coming back as coach?
•Sohre: Seeing the athletes develop their skills and, more importantly, realizing the importance of team unity to being successful and the fun the players have with each other throughout the season.
The Saints opened their season by winning two of three matches.
Faith Christian topped Chisago Lakes Christian 3-0 in its opener Aug. 27 at Chisago Lakes. FCS won the first game 25-12 and followed up with 25-7 and 25-13 wins.
“It was a solid win for us in the heat and humidity and we got some revenge for last year’s loss to them,” said Sohre. “I was very pleased with our serving – we made 93 percent of our serves (66-71) and we had a 67 percent kill rate.”
Johnson was 16-15 serving with four aces, while Crapser was 12-12 serving with three aces and Curott was 14-16 serving with six aces. Britton was 8-9 serving with four aces, five digs and six kills while Nordvik was 6-6 serving with three aces.
St. Cloud Christian defeated Faith Christian 3-0 (29-27, 25-23, 26-24) Aug. 29 at FCS.
“We played very well,” said Sohre. “It seemed like the heat and humidity affected us more than it did at Chisago Lakes.
“Our serving was pretty good at 89 percent but St. Cloud has excellent diggers and features three girls over 6-feet who play very well at the net. Even so, we had 11 kill points to their four. I think we established that we are a team to be reckoned with.”
Crapser was 17-17 serving with four aces while Johnson was 17-17 serving with four aces and Britton was 13-14 serving with six aces, five digs and six kills. Freichels was 7-9 serving and had five digs and two kills.
The following night, Aug. 30, Faith Christian outlasted Lake Region Christian 3-2 (18-25, 29-27, 25-23, 16-25, 15-11) at Brainerd.
“Lake Region had defeated us for at least the past seven years but I felt our showing against St. Cloud Christian would bode well for us in this match,” said Sohre. “We started out slow and showed signs of fatigue from our matches earlier in the week.
“We settled down in the second game and focused on the basics. Faith Britton served an ace at the end to give us the win. Freichels was in the groove in the third set as she was 11-12 serving with four aces while Britton and Johnson combined for seven kills. We looked tired in the fourth game but we came back and played well in the fifth game.”
Britton was 10-14 serving with four aces and she had 15 digs and 16 kills while Freichels was 24-30 serving with eight aces and 18 digs and Crapser was 12-15 serving and had seven digs. Johnson was 14-19 serving with four aces and she had nine digs, nine kills and three blocks. Curott was 10-14 serving with three aces.
Faith Christian was idle last week. The Saints are at the Granite City Tournament in St. Cloud Friday and Saturday, then travel to St. Cloud Christian Monday.