Janesville69.2°

Janesville Craig volleyball coach says Big Eight strong as ever

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Gazette staff
August 25, 2011
— As the dean of Big Eight volleyball coaches, Janesville Craig’s Blake Budrow has seen the conference talent level skyrocket.

Instead of one or two teams dominating, five or six teams contend for a conference title each year. The number of players earning Division I scholarships is also on the rise.


Heading into the 2011 season, Budrow doesn’t expect much to change.


“Our conference has gotten so good,” said Budrow, now in his 21st season. “I think we’re going to be playing really good volleyball, but I don’t know how that is going to translate in terms of wins. There are so many good teams in the Big Eight.


“I do like how we’re jelling as a team right now. The kids all get along and seem to understand what we’re trying to do on the court.”


Craig has four letter winners, led by Katie Villa. The junior setter was All-Big Eight second team last season, and according to Budrow, has picked up where she left off a year ago.


“Katie’s really looked good,” Budrow said. “She does such a great job of calling plays and making things happen.”


Other letter winners are senior hitter Kaylyn Funk, junior outside hitter Regan Sitorius and sophomore middle hitter Alli Calkins.


Budrow is looking for help defensively from juniors Maddie Philipps and Morgan Meinders, along sophomore Amanda Trapp and junior Meghan Hulen. Junior Kristi Crandall will be a rightside hitter and back-up setter. Freshmen Aly Raymond and McKenzie Bertagnoli are also expected to contribute, along with sophomore Nicole Kelly.


“We’ve got very good competition right now for playing time, and as a coach, that’s what you want to see,” Budrow said. “... I’m anxious to get started.”


Craig opens the season Friday by hosting a two-day invitational along with Edgerton.


Craig’s schedule:

AUGUST: 26—Craig/Edgerton Invitational, 9 a.m.; 27—Craig/Edgerton Invitational,


9 a.m.


SEPTEMBER: 1—Madison West, 6:30 p.m.; 8—At Verona, 6:30 p.m.; 10—At Elkhorn Invitational, 9 a.m.; 13—Sun Prairie, 6:30 p.m.; 15—Beloit Memorial, 6:30 p.m.; 17—At Edgerton Invitational, 8 a.m.; 20—At Madison La Follette, 6:30 p.m.; 22—Madison Memorial, 6:30 p.m.; 27—At Middleton, 6:30 p.m.; 29—Janesville Parker, 6:30 p.m.


OCTOBER: 1—Craig Invitational (Janesville Parker, Delavan-Darien, Oconomowoc, Orfordville Parkview, Westosha Central), 9 a.m.; 4—At Madison East, 6:30 p.m.; 13—At Delavan-Darien triangular, 5 p.m.; 15—Big Eight Conference Meet (Janesville Craig), TBA.




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