By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

For just the second time in program history, the Union Grove boys volleyball team has a new coach.

Jamie Anderson takes over for Dan Dresen, who helped build the now four-year old varsity program.

Anderson brings an extensive volleyball coaching resume that includes assistant coaching stops at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside. Last year, Anderson was a club volleyball coach for the boys 16U nationals.

“When I heard the coaching position was open, I immediately applied,” Anderson said. “All of my kids have gone to Union Grove, so I have been affiliated with the school for awhile, and I also used to coach the JV girls team for time, so I’m quite familiar with the school.”

Aside from familiarity, Anderson should also benefit from an experienced corps of returning seniors that helped lead the team to its first WIAA sectional semifinal appearance in program history last year.

Daxton Cramer, who was a leader on last year’s team, will again be a key leader this season. In fact, Anderson is extending the senior’s role from setter to outside end setter. This will give Cramer an opportunity to be a hitter and a setter.

Fellow senior Eli Sheckel will also be an outside end setter and have similar leadership duties.

“We are challenging Dax and Eli to learn positions and take on different roles then they have had in the past, and they have some a willingness to do more,” Anderson said. “Daxton ran a 5-1 as a setter and Eli was just an outside hitter last year, but now they both hit and set. They both came to me because this was the way to go.”

Another returning starter expected to make a significant impact is Tyler Gamble.

“All of our senior players were starters last year for the program,” Anderson said. “They are really helping us and guiding us where we need to be. Eli and Dax are the only club players on the team, so we don’t have the game experience that other teams possess, but we have plenty of athleticism to help make up for it.”

The senior corps must pick up the slack for the loss of last season’s Southern Lakes Conference Player of the Year, Robert Walusay.

“To make up for the loss of Robert, we’re asking players to extend their roles as Dax and Eli have done,” Anderson said.

On the defensive side, junior Tyler Gamble will lead the way as the Broncos’ libero. Nate Koch will start as a middle and provide offense, along with being an execution blocker.

Sophomore Sam Rampulla, who had a strong freshman campaign, will rely on his lengthy 6-4 frame to be the primary blocker on the right side.

“Sam is our second-tallest kid on the team that did some good things last year,” Anderson said. “He still has some things to work on, but we’ll have him on the right side as a primary blocker as most team’s strength is on the left side.”

Anderson will also mix in some younger talent to help carry the load this season against an improving Southern Lakes Conference.

“I wasn’t around to see them last season, but it sounds like Westosha and Burlington will be the top contenders in the conference,” Anderson said. “We hope to compete with them.”