FAIRMONT - The Fairmont Cardinal volleyball team is setting up for success during its 2012 season.
Despite losing some height and a three-year starter at the setting position, the Cardinals return six seniors and look to make a bid for a top spot in the South Central Conference.
Seniors Paige Bearson, Taylor Schultze, Nicole Fedder and Tori Edgington are all looking for swings from the outside from senior setter Elizabeth Kim.
SPIKERS SET — Members of the Fairmont Cardinal volleyball lineup opening the season by facing Martin County West at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Trimont include, front row (l-r): Elizabeth Kim, Brooke Wubbena, Alaris McCord and Courtney Whitmore. Middle row: Emily Kim, Paige Bearson, Kersten Shantz, Kristen Campe, Taylor Schultze and Sam Henrickson. Back row: Alison Subbert, Tori Edgington, Nicole Fedder, Kayla Lardy, Laura Tow, Madison Geerdes and Mikayla Krzywicki. Photo by Leanna Becker
Brooke Wubbena will be looked to as a defensive specialist for the Cardinals.
Fairmont junior Kayla Lardy will be an added force on the net. The 6-foot-1 right side hitter played a major factor in the Cardinals' defense and will be the key to the team's blocking effort.
"We lost a couple of our tall girls from last year's team. I think blocking will be something that is important because we aren't as tall as last year, and Lardy will help set up that wall for us at the net," said Fairmont head coach Brad Haugen.
While blocks will be important, the Cardinals also will be looking to Wubbena and rest of the defense to keep the ball in play.
"I think this year our versatility is really going to help us this season. We have a lot of girls that can play a lot of positions. As a coach, to have a lot of options, is really great," said Haugen.
Elizabeth Kim will look to fill the shoes of three-year playmaker Mariah Schultz at the setting postion and running the Cardinal offense.
"The offense runs through our setter. And after having someone there for three years - it's a bit of an adjustment. She (Elizabeth Kim) has been doing well and making good decisions for our offense and distributing the ball so far," said Haugen.
While Fairmont has gotten a taste of competition with a scrimmage last Thursday, this season looks to be challenge for the Cardinals.
"We played so great in the first scrimmage against New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva. I got goosebumps," said Haugen. "We played good in the second scrimmage against Blue Earth (Area) and then did not do well against Tri-City United (Montgomery-Lonsdale combined with Le Center)."
Fairmont's first challenge will come Thursday in its first match against Martin County West in Trimont.
Following that match-up, the Cardinals will host defending Class AA state champion Marshall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.
"We are looking for some revenge from Martin County West in our first match. Marshall will be a good measuring stick for us to see where we are," said Haugen. "We've seen early what we look like when we play well, so we set the bar high and that's great."