Volleyball is underway and we're going to track the high school season by posting weekly power rankings. Here is a look at the preseason rankings.
South Dakota Class AA
Last season Harrisburg fell short of their goals in the state tournament. This year despite a young squad the Tigers bring back as much talent as anyone headlined by seniors Sami Slaughter and McKenna Mathiesen. Not many teams can compete with their attack at the net. As the team improves on their serve return they could be unstoppable. Head Coach Ronette Costain isn't concerned about rankings early on and just wants her team to show imporvement and contend for a state title in November.
2. Brandon Valley
The Lynx finished off a 20-5 season last year and bring back most of their attack. Their top two attackers Hanna Jellema (3.1 k/s) and Elsie Zajicek (2.4 k/s) make them an early season favorite.
3. Aberdeen Central
The best player in the state might not be back for the defending champs but the Eagles have a great attack under Head Coach Dennis Northrup, "We have a few returning players from last year's state champion team. We will have to fill some hole left through graduation. Our success will depend upon development of younger players."
Paiton Burckhard (.367 Hit%), Allisen Neilsen, Karli Gardner (13.1 ace%) and Haylee Mork all return to try to defend their championship.
4. SF O'Gorman
The Knights are always among the favorites in the class, this year is no different. Head Coach Julie Kolbeck knows they'll have to mix up the roster to find the right fit. "I see my team competing at a high level. I predict we will have some young players added to the mix by the end of the season. We are going to struggle at the beginning until we find a line-up the works best for us."
Grace Ortmann (1.4 b/s) and Riley Smith (2.5 k/s) make up a formidable front line for O'Gorman.
5. SF Roosevelt
Holly Lynch brings back some great setters from her 18-15 team a year ago. Look for them to use a senior laden team to compete each and every night.
North Dakota Class A
1. Bismarck Century
Co-Head Coaches Jamie Zastoupil and Sara Bohrer bring back a lot but in another sense have a lot to replace after last season's state title. "We only lost 3 seniors from our 2015 squad to 2016 squad. However, the 3 players we lost were very influential players for us. We do have some players who will be moving positions this year. We are looking forward to a fun/successful year. This group of seniors is a very tight group and have been playing together since they were 10 years old. They have a lot of respect for each other on and off the court. Although they are a very skilled group, it will be their comradery that will be the most fun to watch."
Despite the holes the Patriots are in the drivers seat to contend at the top of Class A. Regan Dennis, Maddie Klein and Cameron Clark attack on the front line while Hannah Schwartz and Kylee Clarke will be back to set.
2. Fargo Shanley
Coming off of a 20-3 season the Deacons are primed for another great season. Emily Dietz and Kylie Kanwischer return to lead this team as the favorite in the east.
3. Bismarck Legacy
Legacy is up and coming and could arrive this season. Last year they finished sixth at state and are totally loaded ready for this season. Sydney Murphy and Sam Anklam are just two of the power players looking to lead Legacy.
4. Fargo Davies
Davies fell just short of the championship game last year and have the pieces to make another title run. McKenna Mikkelson and Kylee Bergantine lead a talented group as they try to command the EDC again.
The Demons finished 24-17 last season and will look to Cara Haussler to lead a young group to contend in the WDA.