The Clear Lake volleyball program is under the direction of a new coach this season.
Richie Ellis is new to the Lions, but he brings a good deal of experience to the helm. Ellis is in his eighth year as a head volleyball coach, having coached six years at Kee High in Lansing and one at Central Community in Elkader, Iowa. Prior to that he coached club volleyball in Elkader.
Ellis said goals for his team include improving on last year’s 9-22 record, finishing in the top half of the North Central Conference and making a deep run in the post season.
“Even though we lack varsity experience, many of our players spent this winter playing club volleyball which will help us be ready for the speed of the varsity game. We will be a very balanced team with several different hitters we can go to,” said the coach.
Five letter winners return to lead the Lions. Senior Chloe Mueller will play libero and senior Kayla Ritter has been tabbed as a middle hitter. Juniors Maranda Harrison and Macy Mixdorf will both be outside hitters and sophomore Julia Merfeld will be in the setter position.
“I feel many of our girls could have a break-out year if they play with confidence. I don’t feel like we have that one or two ‘go-to girls,’ but we have a well balanced team,” added Ellis.
The Lions got a jump on the season by attending a camp put on by North Iowa Area Community College, as well as holding their own camp.
Ellis said it is hard for him to predict who conference leaders will be, but traditional powerhouse Algona has three strong hitters returning, which should make them one of the favorites.
Ellis will be assisted this season by Erin Schroeder, who will coach the junior varsity team, and freshman coach Abby Lasher.