New look for Raiders volleyball

With six regulars returning, it would seem that the Roseville Area High School volleyball team wouldn't look all that different from its 2014 incarnation. One of the players no longer with the team was a two-time all-state selection so that can change a team's look dramatically.

Roseville reached the last three state tournaments thanks in large part to the ability of middle hitter Monica Burich. She was a senior last year and has moved on to college, leaving Roseville with a gaping hole to fill.

"We have a lot to prove," said Roseville head coach Greg Ueland. "We lost probably the most significant player in our program's history in Monica Burich and another important player in Nina Carmichael-Tanaka. They are very hard players to replace."

Ueland, entering his eighth season as head coach, said he expected the offense to look different in that the outside hitters would probably be counted on to carry more of the attacking. Defensively, the Raiders need to improve on their blocking.

Despite that, Ueland says getting back to the state tournament is still on the radar as far as expectations.

"I think state is a goal for us," said Ueland. "I wouldn’t necessarily classify us as the favorite. We are the favorite along with other teams."

Roseville is the three-time defending Section 4AAA champion and has beaten North St. Paul in the finals all three times. The Polars also suffered graduation losses but Ueland expects them to reload and be up there again. New to the section this year is Totino-Grace, another team Ueland said could contend.

While Burich has been the face of the team over the past three seasons, Roseville has plenty of talent returning this fall. Leading the way is senior libero Haley Kauth, an all-state honorable mention selection in 2014. This is her sixth season of varsity volleyball and she enters the season as the state's all-time leader in digs.

"She is just amazing," Ueland said. "At the libero position, you never get enough credit. For her to get that honor at libero says a lot about her. She has been a tremendous leader for us."

Junior setter Bre Maloney is also back for her fourth year as a starter. She is the school's all-time leader in assists.

Also returning are senior middle Sara Hain, junior outside hitters Alivia Garbe and Ginger Perra and senior defensive specialist Kasey Allen.

Hain played in Burich’s shadow but had what Ueland said was a breakout match in the state quarterfinals last year. She and Burich combined for 48 kills in the middle.

"That was a prime match where she showed her worth and how awesome she is," said Ueland. "She is not going to kill you with power but she has improved. It's more about placement, athleticism and smarts. She has become an elite middle."

Garbe is more about power but can also do plenty more.

"She is one of the most powerful hitters I've ever coached," said Ueland said. "She had added a lot to her game. She is the complete six-rotation outside hitter."

Perra is also a well-rounded player who has improved her hitting and Allen contributes with her serving and passing ability.

Other players expected to contribute this fall include senior Kat Becker, juniors Addie Jones and Kailey Beer and freshman Erin Beer.

Roseville enters the season ranked seventh in the Class AAA preseason poll from the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association. Fellow Suburban East Conference member Cretin-Derham Hall begins the season ranked third in the state.

Fourth-ranked Hopkins is also on Roseville's schedule this year and the Raiders are almost sure to see some ranked foes in some of the tournaments they'll play in this season.

Roseville opens the season on Saturday against Minnetonka in the Side Out Classic at Hopkins High School. The Raiders travel to North St. Paul on Sept. 3.

—Brian Meyers

2015 Roseville Area High School volleyball schedule

Aug. 29 vs. Minnetonka (at Hopkins) 7 p.m.
Sept. 3 at North St. Paul 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. Hopkins 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 vs. Rosemount 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Waconia 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 vs. Forest Lake 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at East Ridge 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 vs. Minneapolis Southwest 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Apple Valley tournament 5 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Apple Valley tournament 8 a.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Cretin-Derham Hall 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Park-Cottage Grove 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Blaine tournament 9 a.m.
Oct. 6 at Woodbury 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Mounds View 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Moorhead tournament 2 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Moorhead tournament 9:30 a.m.
Oct. 20 vs. Stillwater 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 vs. White Bear Lake 7 p.m.

Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Class AAA preseason poll

1—Prior Lake
3—Cretin-Derham Hall
4—Lakeville South
8—Champlin Park
Also receiving votes: Eden Prairie, Cambridge-Isanti.

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