The Brookfield East boys volleyball team is loaded for bear this season, as everyone returns from last season's team that lost to eventual state champion Marquette in the state semifinals.
"It was only a couple years ago where at times we played six sophomores," coach Tim Owen recalled. "Last year we were the team without a senior on the roster. This year there isn't any shortage of experience. It should be a fun ride watching our team relentlessly pursue the goal of becoming the best they can be."
Owen has 10 returning letter winners, including seven seniors.
Leading the way are Mark Abuls, second-team all-conference; Matt Klassen, high honorable mention All-State/first-team all-conference; Graydon Schroeder, honorable mention All State/second-team all-conference; Adam Wessell, high honorable mention All-State/first-team all-conference; Luke Bartsch; Josh Schmirler; and Jared Wilgus.
Juniors include Matt Szews, honorable mention all-conference and WIAA state record single-game kill percentage of .762 (quarterfinal against Kaukauna), and Tyler Parker.
Nick Watry is the only returning sophomore.
Owens said newcomers who should contribute include sophomore Noah Wilgus, who moved up for the state tournament last year, and junior Cameron Allen-Aylsworth.
"Outside expectations are high as evident by the fact that we've had more media attention at this point of the season than we've ever had," Owen said. "Inwardly as a team, not much has changed.
"We've gotten a year older, more athletic and become better volleyball players, but ultimately the goal this year is the same as any other — maximize our potential, be playing our best volleyball at the end of the year.
"What exactly that looks like time will tell, but I would expect our collective focus to be on the process and things we have full control over."
Owen is thrilled with his squad's attitude.
"Our team is made up of a collection of guys who simply enjoy volleyball and being around each other too much to cheat the process," he said. "We have tremendous leadership throughout the roster, and it's more than just the three captains (Klassen, Schroeder, Wessell)."
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