Orono volleyball faces tough start

The 2017 season for the Orono Spartan volleyball team is well underway.

The Orono roster includes many new faces, including head coach Ryan Stuntz. He comes to Orono with an impressive volleyball background. Stuntz is currently the club owner/director of Vital Volleyball Club (VVC). As a collegiate player, he was named Libero of the Year and earned First and Second-Team All American honors in 2002 and 2003. Stuntz played professionally in Switzerland in the 2004-05 season and was invited to train with the USA Olympic National Team.

“I’m excited to be working with such great people here are Orono. Everyone at Orono is willing to learn and are accepting change, which is really hard to do,” Stuntz said. “I’m most excited to see what we can do at the end of the season and where this program can go in the next 4-5 years.”

Orono’s 2017 lineup will be led by senior captains Abby Fay and Kayla DeMartini. Also returning for the Spartans is senior Tricia Johnson and junior Gracie Parrott. Newcomers to the varsity roster include seniors Greta Paal, Emily Goman and Olivia Litecky, juniors Ella Weinbeck and Maddie Eppard, and sophomores Hadley Juran and Josie Peterson.

Again this season, the Spartans have a competitive schedule.

Orono traveled to Rogers on Aug. 24 for their first match. The Spartans lost the match in three sets (11-25, 21-25, 17-25).

Abby Fay recorded nine kills and three service aces in the match. Kayla DeMartini had four kills and eight digs.

On Aug. 26, Orono and over 30 other teams from across the state took part in the Breakdown Sports USA – Side Out Classic hosted at Hopkins High School.

The Spartans faced off against Chanhassen. Orono dropped the first set, 17-25. The second set proved to be much closer but the Spartans ultimately lost 24-26. The third set ended the same as the first, with a loss of 17-25.

Gracie Parrott led the team with nine total assists. Fay had seven digs and Maddie Eppard had five. DeMartini led the offense with six kills.

The team returned to Hopkins High School on Aug. 29 for a non-conference match versus the Hopkins Royals.

The Spartans were outmatched against the powerful Royals team, who handed Orono another three-set loss.

It was difficult for Orono to find their rhythm, losing the first set 12-25 and the second set 9-25. The Spartans found some life in the third set, even forcing a timeout from Hopkins, but lost with a score of 19-25.

Fay led the Spartans offensively totaling seven kills. Parrott and Hadley Juran shared the assists; Parrott with 10 and Juran with eight.

The Spartans were finally at home on Aug. 31, hosting the Pirates of Park Center.

Orono had their strongest showing of the season in a high-energy match filled with long rallies, strong offensive swings from the Spartans and impressive defense from the Pirates.

Orono had many powerful attacks during the match with 90 total attempts. Eleven of the team’s 25 kills came from DeMartini. She also racked up three service aces. Many Spartans contributed to the defensive efforts including Parrott with eight digs, Fay with seven, DeMartini with six and Maddie Eppard finished with a team high of nine. Juran and Parrot together totaled 24 assists.

The first set was the closest as the Spartans scored 20 points. The second and third set finished with scores of 18-25. The three-set loss brought the Spartan’s overall record to 0-4. Orono will be on the hunt for their first win on Thursday, Sept. 7 as they host Holy Family.