Minnetonka Volleyball: A Phoenix Ready To Rise from the Ashes


Photo Courtesy of tonkavolleyball on Instagram

Braeden Pruitt, Staff Writer

It’s October 27th, 2022, and Minnetonka Volleyball is tied two sets to two against Eden Prairie with a Section Final appearance on the line. As the Skippers knock the ball over the net on the crucial game point, Eden Prairie returns the serve with a hope to keep their season alive. But to the horror of Eden Prairie fans everywhere, Minnetonka’s return spike ricochets off an Eagle out of bounds, sending the Skippers to the Section Finals.

Unfortunately, Minnetonka proceeded to lose to Chaska in the section finals, but they didn’t come home empty-handed, as they returned with the distinction of section runner-up, ready to rise like a phoenix from the ashes with the burning desire to win the section in 2023.

Truly, this was a good year for Minnetonka Girls Volleyball, as they defeated Eden Prairie in the section semi-final. The Eagles happened to be the bringer of Tonka’s downfall in last year’s section tournament, and the win “Broke the curse.” per volleyball player Emma Dils, 23’. 

Section finalist is never a bad accolade to bring home, but it does leave some unfinished business on the table for the volleyball team next season. According to Girls Volleyball Head Coach Karl Katzenberger, the team was disappointed finishing second but he believes it will be a “a good motivator for next year’s season.” 

This season, Minnetonka finished conference play as runners-up going six and one, an improvement from last season where they went 3-3, finishing 4th in conference play. 

Improvement and hard work are the keys to success in almost anything, as famous Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo once said, “Talent without working hard is nothing.” This year the Minnetonka Girls Volleyball team played a good amount of competitive matches which unfortunately didn’t fall their way, including games against Delano, Saint Micheal Albertsville and their main rival Wayzata. Next season they hope that “some of the highly competitive matches break a different way”, said Coach Katzenberger. All of the players play volleyball year round, working to achieve their personal and tea, goals, leaving the mistakes and hardships of this past season behind.

Sometimes a team’s downfall can be their own selves, and the mental battle is often the most important battle. Minnetonka is a very competitive team which helped them soar to victory this season but it also did hurt them in their performance this season. Dils hopes that next year the team improves by “not being so hard on [themselves].” 

In any High School Sport, one of the biggest issues teams encounter is how to replace the talent and leadership of upperclassmen year after year. For Tonka Volleyball, five underclassmen from the Varsity team will be returning and a bright young talented group of underclassman players are ready to fill the holes left by graduation next year. Next year’s outlook is very promising.

After a tough loss to finish the season, the Minnetonka Girls Volleyball Team is ready to return next year and win a section or conference tournament. Instead of throwing in the towel, the Skippers are returning to take care of unfinished business.