Martin Blog: 2017 Missouri River Conference Volleyball Preview | Sports

(KMAland) — The Missouri River Conference – when it comes to volleyball – is a small but effective league. Over the last three years, three different schools have advanced to the state volleyball tournament. It’s somewhat probable they will send another representative in Cedar Rapids this year.

DISCLAIMER: Both the “Top Returnees” and “Key Losses” include those that played in at least half the sets (with a few exceptions) their respective teams competed in a season ago. The First Team, Second Team or Honorable Mention listed in parentheses are those from the Hawkeye Ten All-Conference teams in 2016. Also, feel free to send me any and all corrections. I can handle it!

Bishop Heelan Crusaders — Last Year: 35-9, 6-0 (State Semifinalist)

Coach: Mary Miller

Top Returnees — Seniors: Allison Bermel, Claire Brobst, Alex Hope (Second Team), Samantha McCabe (First Team); Juniors: Nicole Jacobson

Key Losses — Allie Cooke (First Team), Maddy Larson, Maddie Uhl (Honorable Mention), Mary Volz (First Team)

There are two completely different elements of this year’s Heelan team. At least when it comes to those that are returning. The Crusaders bring back nearly all of their top hitters and blockers, while they will be working to replace their setter and top passers.

Samantha McCabe enters her senior season after leading the team with 3.33 kills per set one year ago. She’s joined by seniors Alex Hope (1.51 kills per set) and Claire Brobst (1.25) and junior Nicole Jacobson (1.32) in what figures to be the most explosive offense in the league.

Just who will be sending out sets, though, is up for grabs. All-MRC setter Mary Volz has graduated, as have her two backups. I hate to take a guess at who will take over in her stead, but I’ll throw Allison Bermel out there as someone that could. The thing with Bermel, though, is that she averaged…

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