Defending champs have eyes on another crown

The 2023 Minneota Vikings volleyball team. Front row, left to right: Shelby Neyens (manager), Claire Rost, Nevaeh Hennen, Eden Meagher, Grace Hennen, Lyzah Sussner, Abby Rolbiecki, Sarah Gruene, Kiersyn Hulzebos, Madison Hennen (manager). Back row, left to right: assistant coach, Emily Citterman, head coach Hayley Fruin, Emma Bottelberghe, Faith Myhre, Kenadi Arndt, Dakoda Hennen, Ella Johnson, Brooke Desmet, Elivia Faris, assistant coach Dana Peterson.

Like a motor vehicle assembly line, Minneota rolls out a new model every year that coach Hayley Fruin guides to the state tournament.
It seems like every year the Minneota volleyball team loses a key player or two to graduation and the thought is that the Vikings are finally going to have a down season. Think again.
After capturing the Class A state championship last season, the Vikings lost All-State setter/hitter Ireland Stassen to graduation, as well as two other contributors in Megan Krog and Lyssa Kremin. This year's model, however, again has the look of another successful season.
"Our section is arguably one of the best in Class A" said head coach Hayley Fruin. "We need to bring the intensity every game. We cannot start out slow – there are too many good teams that you can’t come back on. We need each player to continue to improve their level of play and not get complacent."
In Fruin's six previous years as head coach at Minneota, her teams have reached the state championship match five times. The lone blemish came in 2020 when there was no state tournament due to the COVID pandemic. The Vikings have won titles in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022. Fruin has a career record of 176-19 at Minneota, a robust .904 winning percentage. She coached three years at Lakeview and had 46 wins there for an overall total of 222 career wins.
The Vikings' success isn't hinged on one particular area as with some teams. They take pride in sending out well-rounded teams year after year with solid attacking, consistent serving and relentless defense.
This year's team has 11 returning letterwinners from a team that finished 34-3, including a five-set win over Mayer Lutheran in the state title match.
Ella Johnson, a senior outside hitter, returns after a solid junior campaign that saw her pound down 329 kills, as well as being named All-State and All-State Tournament in 2022.
Elivia Faris, a junior right-side hitter with a hard swing, delivered 239 kills a season ago for the Vikings. Emma Bottelberghe, a senior right-side hitter, finished with 136 kills last season. Kenadi Arndt, a senior middle blocker, led the team with 63 blocks.
"I think this year's team has a lot of very talented pin hitters," said Fruin. "I think we can spread the ball around and create holes in the block. We have all our back row players back from last year, so I look for our passing and defense to be consistent and strong as well."
With Stassen gone, junior Nevaeh Hennen will take on a bigger role as setter. In last year's system, Hennen notched 277 assists in a 6-2 system and improved steadily throughout the season.
The Vikings have a solid group of defensive stalwarts, including Lyzah Sussner, a senior libero, who had 506 digs and 38 aces a season ago. She was selected to the All-State Tournament team.
Defensive specialists Grace Hennen, a senior, and Abby Rolbiecki, a sophomore, finished last season with 187 and 186 digs, respectively.
Fruin would like to see some improvement from the team at the service stripe in order to keep opposing teams on their heels.
"We need to be more aggressive behind the service line," she said. We’ve played a lot of ball at the end of July and teams we played were much stronger servers than we were. This is an area the team knows we need to get better at and will be spending a lot of time on."

HEAD COACH: Hayley Fruin
ASSISTANT COACHES: Dana Peterson, Emily Citterman
LAST YEAR: 34-3 overall; Camden Conference champions, Section 3A champions, Class A state champions.
CAPTAINS: Lyzah Sussner, Emma Bottelberghe, Ella Johnson.

RETURNING LETTERWINNERS (Names, grades, position(s):
Kenadi Arndt, senior, middle blocker
Emma Bottelberghe, senior, right-side hitter
Elivia Faris, junior, right-side hitter
Sarah Gruenes, sophomore, middle blocker
Dakoda Hennen, senior, defensive specialist
Grace Hennen, senior, defensive specialist
Nevaeh Hennen, junior setter
Ella Johnson, senior, outside hitter
Faith Myhre, senior, setter
Abby Rolbiecki, sophomore, defensive specialist
Lyzah Sussner, senior libero

VARSITY NEWCOMERS (Names, grades, position(s):
Brooke Desmet, senior, right-side hitter
Kiersyn Hulzebos, junior, defensive specialist
Claire Rost, junior, defensive specialist
Eden Meagher, 8th grade, outside hitter

Sept. 5 at Wabasso, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Redwood Valley, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 8 SMSU Invite, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 SMSU Invite, 9 a.m.
Sept. 12 vs. KMS, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Lac qui Parle Valley, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 19 vs. MACCRAY, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Renville County West, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 22 Burnsville Invite, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 Burnsville Invite, 9 a.m.
Sept. 26 Central Minn. Christian, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Canby, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Lakeview, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 5 vs. Yellow Medicine East, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 6 Burnsville Invite, TBD
Oct. 7 Burnsville Invite, TBD
Oct. 10 vs. Ortonville, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Dawson-Boyd, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 19 vs. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, 7:15 p.m.

Contact Us

The Minneota Mascot
Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492