The success the Brookfield East girls volleyball team enjoyed this year surprised even coach Chris Polowy.
The Spartans finished with an overall record of 33-12 with a Greater Metro Conference record of 5-2. East was third in conference play and fourth in the league tournament. The 33 victories was a school record and it was the fourth straight season East had 20-plus wins.
"What a great season for East volleyball," Polowy said. "I have to be honest, when we began our season we were not expecting all of this considering the age of our team. To finish 5-2 in the GMC, to win two competitive tournaments and to be ranked in the state for seven consecutive weeks was not really in our minds when setting long-term goals.
"However, we knew we had a solid core of talent that could really surprise some people. We were just unsure of how it would all come together."
A season full of highlights
There were plenty of highlights this season besides those already mentioned.
The Spartans were regional champs, ranked honorable mention in the state for all seven weeks of the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association poll, the first time in school history East was in the state rankings.
They won the 24-team UW-Whitewater Warhawk Open, as Olivia Lyster was named to the nine-player All-Tourney Team and Morgan Parker was named MVP of the tournament.
They won the eight-team Homestead Highlander Invite and were Silver champs at the Muskego Invite. They were also 9-0 in matches that came down to a deciding set.
Three named to conference
The Spartans had three All-Conference selections who were also among the league leaders statistically.
Lyster made first team and was among the leaders in the GMC in kills with 97 in conference play and also added 120 digs.
Parker was second team and Morgan Parker was among the league leaders in blocks with 28.5 in conference play and also added 70 kills.
An honorable mention selection, Taylor Wilkerson was among the leaders in the GMC in blocks (38) and also added 69 kills.
Here is a closer look at the team stats.
Kill leaders were Lyster (271), Wilkerson (198), Parker (182) and Haley Massa (170). Assists leaders were Jessa Hansen (294), Petra Bryda (277) and Morgan Pink (221). Ace leaders were Bryda (55), Massa (55) and Erika Hansen (51).
Digs leaders were Erika Hansen (352) and Lyster (322). Total blocks leaders were Wilkerson (83) and Parker (81).
Team names MVP, others
The Spartans also announced their team awards.
Lyster was MVP and earned a Scholar-Athlete Award and Pink was the Most Improved Player. Erika Hansen earned the Hustle Award and Parker received the Spartan Leadership Award.
The Spartan Spirit Award went to Wilkerson and Becca Fronberry.
Central will lose two seniors who are key players, Lyster and Parker.
"Our two seniors led the way as we anticipated they would," Polowy said. "Their leadership did not go unnoticed by any member of our team or program. Through the good times and bad, we counted on them to be the 'backbone' of our team while being great role models for our younger athletes.
"We're truly going to miss their dedication and desire, but we're confident that our returners can step up to the challenge. As the practices and matches went on, we saw the girls mold themselves into the perfect example of what a team should be. They quickly became confident in themselves and each other and knew they could compete with anyone.
"Besides creating friendships, all 12 girls had a common goal - to create an atmosphere that promoted success. To set a school record in wins is quite an accomplishment. We're so proud of what these 12 girls have done. Their dedication to the team and the program is contagious and they have really helped to set us up for future success."
Talent, bar set high
The future looks bright for the Spartans.
"Our athletes on the JV and freshman teams look up to these girls and all 12 have embraced that leadership role," Polowy said. "We have great talent coming back to us next year, so the bar will be set high once again."
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