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Volleyball: Wolfpack have new look this season

Sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie Husaby is one of the few volleyball veterans back for the Wolfpack this fall. Photo by John Molene

There's a new head coach in Damon Liberatore, new assistants and almost an entirely new varsity team.

Ten of the 11 players on the varsity roster were seniors last season including standouts Victoria Bade, Jordan Lamberty, Tori Novotny and Hanna Mortenson.

The only veteran returning for the Wolfpack is sophomore outside hitter Mackenzie Husaby, who played varsity as a ninth-grader last fall.

Liberatore brings a wealth of coaching experience to his new position. He's coached volleyball teams from middle school to high school to college and college clubs since 2003. He's also been a high school and collegiate volleyball referee. He'll continue to ref college games as he coaches the Wolfpack.

"We're young," Liberatore said. "I'm very hopeful. They've already taken in a lot of what I had to give them. They're smart. We're a little bit more of a smaller team, but I think that skill-wise we're up there. We've got some younger players who have really shown a high level of skill.

"There's a lot of competition, which breeds success," Liberatore added. "We've got a lot of competitive spots on the team that we're still looking to fill a position here and a position there. I think that competition is going to help us get better and really push each player to be their best."

Park finished, 10-14-1 overall last season, including 2-6 in the Suburban East Conference. The Wolfpack lost in the section quarterfinals to eventual state champion Eagan.

Chloe Cordell, who played on the freshman team last fall, has impressed as a hitter this season and should be a key player offensively.

"Another key will be senior setter Allie Pnewski," Liberatore said. "Our strengths are that they really are very receptive and willing to learn. I think a weakness is just the fact that this program has been through a lot of change, and sometimes that adversity is helpful and makes a team strong, and sometimes it can really stymie the ability to improve or have a successful program. I think that trust is going to take a little bit of a while for the girls."

Team speed and superior ball control should help make up for a lack of size for the Wolfpack.

"We'll be able to work around some defenses with that," he said.

Park opens the season Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Simley.