Volleyball: Longmont looking to navigate twists and turns to 2021 season

Trojans will have new faces, new league under interim head coach Aaron Herbert

Longmont volleyball interim head coach Aaron ...
Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Longmont volleyball interim head coach Aaron Herbert runs the team through various assignments during a team practice on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Longmont, Colo.

LONGMONT — This was always going to be a volleyball season filled with unknowns and new challenges, but the Longmont Trojans have perhaps more adjustments to make than other teams.

One of the most consistently competitive programs in Colorado, this year’s Trojans will have just five returning varsity players and will be playing in a new league under an interim head coach. After a 15-10 campaign in 2019, the Trojans have a lot to figure out in a short amount of time during an abbreviated Season C schedule.

But even with so many proverbial balls in the air, junior Bridget Kusbel believes the Trojans are in a good place and are ready to attack this unusual season head-on.

“I can definitely see a lot of growth and we have a lot of potential to be very good,” Kusbel said. “Ever since open gyms this summer, we’ve had a lot of growth and I’m excited to see how far we can go. We have a lot of new players, so we’re working hard to get comfortable with each other. Once that starts happening, we should be a good team.”

Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Longmont’s Payton Jonason spikes the ball during a team practice on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Longmont, Colo.

Heading into the fall, regular head coach Holli Stetson informed the team that she would be stepping back in order to safely care for her 84-year-old mother. Assistant coach Aaron Herbert will be the interim head coach in Season C.

Set to play In the newly-formed NCAC, the Trojans will enter the season ranked No. 12 by the preseason coaches poll. In league play, they will face a tough schedule that includes No. 5 Mead, No. 9 Erie, No. 10 Windsor and No. 13 Holy Family. But no matter what level of competition the Trojans are forced to overcome, they’re just happy to have a season at all.

“Just being able to play in the middle of a pandemic is great for the seniors,” Kusbel said. “Even if it’s a little shorter and not quite the same feel with not having big crowds, we still get to play and that’s special.”

Kusbel finished last season with 170 kills, which was second on the team to Payton Jonason’s 244. She also led the team in total blocks last season, and will be leaned on heavily to pace the offense. The Trojans also have junior Madison Jonason and her team-leading 424 assists back in the fold.

With limited time to prepare in the preseason, the Trojans are doing their best to get up to speed in order to maintain their status among Colorado’s best teams.

“I really feel like our team is going to be super special because we’re all friends and we’re really close outside of practice,” Payton Jonason said. “Preseason was a little bit rough because we didn’t have much practice but we have great chemistry and I think that’s going to translate on the court.”

Cream of the crop: 2019 All-region team
First Team (Name, 2019-20 class, school )
Quincey Coyle, So., Mead; Vicki Fankell, Sr., Broomfield; Kea Veenendaal, Sr., Fairview; Hope Hanak-Harper, Sr., Broomfield; Caitlin Volkmann, Sr., Silver Creek; Peyton Frank, Sr., Holy Family; Jessica Amend, Sr., Erie.
Honorable mention
Grace Andrews, Sr., Fairview; Sam Anthony, Sr., Fairview; Sophie Bushman, So., Broomfield; Cailea Caiozzi, Fr., Legacy; Kristina Consbruck, Sr., Broomfield; Bianca Eldridge, Sr., Holy Family; Zoe Gibbs, So., Niwot; Anna Hodell, Sr., Holy Family; Payton Jonason, Jr., Longmont; Avery Joy, Jr., Lyons; Emma Kennedy, Jr., Monarch; Bridget Kusbel, So., Longmont; Sierra Leopold, Jr., Prospect Ridge; Kinley Lindhardt, So., Frederick; Logan Mahnke, Sr., Jefferson Academy; Hailee Martinez, Jr., Mead; Morgan Munro, So., Mead; Maggie Olson, So., Erie; Taylor Overy, Sr., Boulder; Angelina Sala, Jr., Dawson School; Kate Sebesta, Sr., Erie; Megan Sotiroff, So., Silver Creek; Nicole Scribner, Jr., Dawson School; Olivia Nelson, Jr., Silver Creek; Megan Schultz, Sr., Centaurus; Abigail Stoops, Sr., Skyline; Natasha Terekhova, Jr., Niwot; Carly Trostel, Sr., Holy Family; Jordan Warner, So., Boulder.