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Off-season work pays off for Rosemount

By AARON PAITICH, Special to the Star Tribune, 10/12/13, 4:52PM CDT


The Rosemount volleyball team credits its youth program and rigorous training for its improvement.


Rosemount volleyball is on the rise. The South Suburban Conference program has steadily improved, from a 13-14 record in 2011 to 18-11 last year and a 16-6 mark this fall.

A couple of things have happened the past few years under coach Smokey Vitek’s watch, including more talent and athleticism, which he attributed to a strong youth organization.

Co-captain Sarah Jacobs has seen the team turn into a contender.

“Rosemount has seen a lot of very talented players come through the program.” Jacobs said, “and I think the past few seasons, we’ve really stepped up and strived towards being that incredible team rather than it just being a possibility.”

There’s also strong leadership, which has led to a rigorous offseason training regimen.

“The program is improving based off of the hard work and dedication from players at all levels,” said Brianna Glaus, the other co-captain.

“This past offseason training has been key to our success on the court. It’s been an honor to be a part of the Rosemount volleyball program these past four years. Every year we have improved, and I see this trend continuing for the program.”

This fall the Irish have also shown resiliency in the loaded South Suburban. Rosemount has battled back in several games after trailing early.

“It’s kind of a stressful strength to have, but it works, and it keeps everyone on their toes,” Jacobs said.

Glaus attested to that quality.

“Being in the South Suburban Conference, no match is ever easy,” Glaus said. “The team always has concentration and patience on the court, which has allowed us to gain so many victories this season.”

One big match was against Burnsville, which has ended the Irish’s season the past two years in the section playoffs. The Blaze took a 1-0 lead in the match. Rosemount battled back to win three consecutive sets for the victory.

The Irish are more than just persistent. They possess skill on both sides of the net, with offensive weapons and blocking ability. They have six solid hitters.

Outside hitter Brittany McLean, a sophomore in her third varsity season, leads the team with 209 kills.

“She is our go-to hitter so there is a great deal of pressure on [Brittany] in key situations, and she is really stepping up to that challenge,” Vitek said.

Setter Maddie Phyle’s quickness and defensive play have been critical as well, along with many of her serving runs.

The versatile Erin Slinde is another talented sophomore. Justine Buckmister and Ellie Vraa are tall, athletic middle blockers.

The co-captains have been crucial in tying it all together.

“So many times teams talk about working hard and doing the simple things right, but they struggle to take that to the court day in and day out,” Vitek said.

“Sarah Jacobs and Brianna Glaus have done a nice job of leading and driving our team to bring it every time we hit the court.”

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