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Edgewood-Colesburg’s Kelsey Hansel attacks for the Vikings.

In an unusual year of high school volleyball, Coach Eileen Bergan’s Edgewood-Colesburg Vikings were grateful to have the opportunity to play a season.

“We were just glad to be able to play volleyball and finish the season,” said Bergan. “We had a couple of COVID hiccups, but escaped.”

Coming off a 26-10 campaign in 2019, expectations were high entering the season. The Vikings got off to a strong start, winning seven-of-10 to open the season, before one of those hiccups saw Ed-Co drop four-of-five to fall to 8-7.

The Vikings played .500 ball the rest of the way, bowing out of the Tri-Rivers tournament during pool play, before rebounding with a solid sweep of East Buchanan in the Region 6 opener at Edgewood.

Ed-Co then faced a strong Dunkerton team, at Dunkerton, in the regional quarterfinal, and dropped a 3-0 verdict to the Raiders to finish 15-14.

It was a youthful Viking team on the floor. Bergan had only one senior on the squad, but that senior, Olivia Welsh, played a big role in the program.

“Olivia is a great leader in so many ways. She is the first to set the net up, get balls out, and carry things to and from the bus,” said Bergan. “She is the hardest worker on the team and a gal that doesn’t do drama or tolerate it. She is a teammate that makes every underclassman feel comfortable and included. Her presence will be missed.”

Junior Ella Aulwes quarterbacked the team, and led the Vikings with 588 assists on the season, earning TRC honorable mention honors.

“With a new setter, the offense was starting to make some really good strides and connections the last two weeks of the season,” said Bergan.

Juniors Kelsey Hansel, Annie Hoffman and Hailey Rausch were Aulwes’ favorite targets throughout the season, and Marin Gaul had an impressive freshman campaign.

Hansel led the team with 282 kills and also set the tone defensively with 253 digs while earning first-team Tri-Rivers Conference honors. Hoffman was second on the team in kills (177) and digs (230), and earned second-team TRC recognition.

Rausch was a steady presence with 132 kills and 190 digs, while Gaul had 86 kills.

With nearly the entire cast returning, there could be good things in the works for the Vikings next year.

“With the loss of one senior, we will have all of our major contributors back next year,” said Bergan. “We ended this season with nine juniors that will be challenged to set some goals throughout the next year to help them find their individual skill and leadership roles. I look forward to postseason meetings to begin the process.”

Ed-Co season statistics: assists — Aulwes 588, Reagan Stelken 84, Hoffman seven, Hansel six, Rausch four, Ellie Bockenstedt two, Campbell Kirby and Welsh one; kills — Hansel 282, Hoffman 177, Rausch 132, Gaul 84, Aulwes 50, Bockenstedt 35, Welsh 22, Stelken 10, Mikayla Thein three, Cerria Drips one; digs — Hansel 253, Hoffman 230, Rausch 190, Aulwes 120, Abbie Sullivan 119, Gaul 99, Kirby 64, Welsh 38, Thein 27, Stelken 24, Bockenstedt 22, Kenzie Barnhart five, Alexa Steger two, Drips one; blocks — Hoffman 35, Hansel 17, Rausch and Welsh 12, Gaul 10, Aulwes seven, Bockenstedt and Stelken three; serves — Hansel 204-of-211, Kirby 108-of-117, Aulwes 199-of-216, Thein 103-of-112, Sullivan 10-of-11, Stelken 91-of-100, Rausch 180-of-199, Welsh 182-of-202, Gaul 117-of-132, Hoffman 193-of-227, Alexa Steger 9-of-11, Kenzie Barnhart 1-of-2; ace serves — Hoffman 27, Thein 18, Hansel 15, Gaul and Welsh 13, Kirby 12, Rausch 11, Stelken 10, Aulwes nine, Steger three, Sullivan two; team serving — 1397-of-1540 (90.7%); team hitting efficiency — 778 kills in 2290 attacks with 419 errors (.157).