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VB PREVIEW: Eagles volleyball fine-tuned after rebuilding years

2012-13 New York Mills volleyball team. First row: L-R: Lydia Irons, Lexie Rankka, Brooklyn Frost, Brooke Kupfer, Maria Novak, Tori Paavola. Second row: Assistant Coach Megan Myers, Jackie Imsande, Taylor Plautz, Ellie Rutten, Tori Kempenich, Amanda Roggenkamp, Savannah Leiran, Head Coach Angie Paavola. Photo by Robert Williams/FOCUS

Angie Paavola takes over the helm in New York Mills with a volleyball program on the rise.

Paavola has coached a year of junior high volleyball in NY Mills and was the assistant coach under Amy Koskela the past two seasons.

Prior to that, Paavola was the head coach at Eagle Valley for six years.

"I am very excited to be the head coach and these girls are challenging but there is talent, heart, and ability on our team and I am very excited for this year," Paavola said.

Megan Myers takes over as Paavola's assistant. Myers resumes a role she had eight years ago.

"It is very good to have her back on the coaching staff," said Paavola.

Another new face, Tammy Olson, joins the junior high coaching staff.

New York Mills returns a seasoned class, having lost only one senior: Outside hitter Taylor Geiser.

"We might be the most experienced team in the conference. We have been known for being young and inexperienced and just learning but that is no longer true."

The Eagles have five seniors who have been playing together since they were freshmen and sophomores.

"It is time for us to do well... We have five juniors and one returning varsity sophomore.

"Our strengths this year will be experience and playing together. We have nine returning letter winners and this group has worked hard this spring with JO's and this summer in camps and the Bertha-Hewitt League. They will be learning and trying new defenses and new positions and we will be putting our very best people out on the floor and executing our individual talents to make the very best of this season that we can."

A look at this year's squad:


Lexie Rankka - Setter: runs our offense very well and is demanding of her team. She has contributed to our team since 10th grade and is very important to our team chemistry.

Brooke Kupfer - Libero and our back row specialist and the girl we want to handle every ball. She is learning new positions so our team can use her every strength.

Jackie Imsande - Middle hitter and has worked hard all summer in work out programs to get bigger, stronger, and faster. She will be an asset to our offense.

Brooklyn Frost - great server and played back row mostly last year but so far this season has improved her hitting a great deal. She will be a benefit to our team as we have some injured juniors who play the front row mostly. Brooklyn has stepped up for her team and she has worked hard, She is a surprise bonus.

Tori Paavola - back row player who will learn at least two new positions this year and will be very valuable to our lineup in the back row. She is a great team player and teammate and very important to our team.


Tori Kempenich - returning letter winner outside hitter. She improves every day and loves the game so much she gives it her all every minute in practice and to her team. She is getting stronger and more powerful and will be another big part of our attack.

Taylor Plautz - returning outside opposite Kempenich. Both have improved and Taylor will be learning all three front row positions so she will be a constant weapon

Savannah Leiran - returning varsity player recovering from a foot injury and will fit into our offense well. She is a backside hitter who will demonstrate good improvement this season.

Leshay Metcalf-played JV last season and is recovering from a foot injury, as well. She is a powerful hitter and will see some important floor time to help her team attack the ball and help our offense.

Sophomore Ellie Rutten will make big plays for us and is a big part of our offense. She is improving everyday and maturing and working hard at every practice.

"We are excited to start this season. For the first time in many years Mills will be fine-tuning their team not rebuilding. We are looking for Henning to be tough this season, Sebeka always plays well together, and Bertha is always constant and strong," Paavola said.

New York Mills opens their season hosting Frazee, Tuesday, August 28.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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