The Hawley Nuggets are coming off the best season in Hawley volleyball history. The 2021 team was the first ever Hawley team to go to the state tournament, posting a record of 29-6 overall and 5-2 mark in the Heart O’ Lakes Conference. Not only did they get a ticket to state, they knocked off the number two seed in the first round and took third place overall. Six graduating seniors left big holes to fill for the 2022 team.
“We lost our setter, Alex Eilertson, outside hitters Grace Fleming and Faith Rustad, Ashley Fletcher, Makena Iverson and Madi Walker,” said third year head coach Kat Rustad. “Alex will be attending MSU-Moorhead, Grace is playing volleyball at Concordia College in Moorhead and Faith will running for the University of Sioux Falls. Fletcher, Iverson and Walker may have been new to our varsity lineup last year, but they filled the holes well from our previous graduates. This year we have two returning middle hitters/blockers and our libero will fill a vacancy on the outside.”
Returning starters are senior Anna Steer (Middle Hitter), junior Alexa Reep (Libero in 2021; Outside Hitter in 2022) and sophomore Izzy Steer (Middle Hitter). The Nuggets will be looking to seniors Marissa Ahles (Outside Hitter/Right Side Hitter), Jada Jegtvig (Outside Hitter), Amanda Nelson (Defensive Specialist) and Destiny Salinas (Defensive Specialist), junior Leah Tibbetts (Right Side Hitter) and sophomore Ingrid Rustad (Setter) to step into varsity roles.
“We had a lot of strong seniors last year, so we don’t have the experience that we did in 2021, but have players that have been dressing varsity for some time and are ready to step up,” noted Coach Rustad.
Rounding out the coaching staff are Nicole Martin (JV), Paige Thompson (B), Shannon Olson (C), Katelyn Meyer (8th) and Allie Reno (7th).
Coach Rustad sees Perham as a favorite in the HOL and Section 6A. “Perham is looking good. Like many teams in our conference, we will be rebuilding with a young team.”