By Jake Calhoun
Journal Sports Writer
WABASSO - Every opponent Wabasso faced in the Tomahawk Conference made sure to account for Chelsey Guetter and Morgan Frank.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Wabasso senior Chelsey Guetter (left) and sophomore Morgan Frank are two of the top hitters in the Tomahawk Conference this season.
The hard-hitting tandem has accounted for 60 percent of Wabasso's kills this season in leading it to a 15-3-3 record and a 7-1 conference mark, which has given it a share of the Tomahawk Conference title.
"They're two different players," said Wabasso coach Barb Johnson. "Chelsey is definitely an outside hitter, Morgan's a middle hitter. Their swings are different, their approaches are different - Chelsey's got a real long approach, real long arm swing while Morgan's is short and quick.
"They're two different positions, two different players, but a lot of similarities too. They both work extremely hard."
The Rabbits improved upon a 12-13 mark in 2011 by going 19-7 last season and 6-2 in the conference. One of the key differences for said improvement - especially from last year to this year - has been the intensity.
"Barb is pushing us more - she knows we have six seniors and they really want to get a chance to go to state and prove ourselves," Frank said.
The addition of Frank last season had also helped contribute to that intensity, giving the Rabbits a much-needed offensive threat in the middle.
"She's added a lot," Guetter said of Frank. "She has so much athleticism and throughout the years, we've kind of struggled in the middle hitter department - we've had kind-of-tall people, but I've been the tallest and I've never really been a middle hitter.
"So for her to come in her freshman year and kick things into gear - she learns things very fast - was definitely important."
Guetter, a senior who was named to the All-Conference team the past two seasons, has already broken the school record for career kills with 667 and needs four to break the single-season record of 285.
However, Guetter did not step onto the court her freshman year as an ace hitter.
"Chelsey put in a lot of work," Johnson said. "She was the same height in ninth grade as she is now and she was a little uncoordinated, her mechanics needed a lot of work just because she was so lanky."
Offseason volleyball helped Guetter develop her mechanics, molding her into the all-around threat she is now. Defensively, Guetter has 642 career digs - 20 shy of the school record.
"As much as it's nice to play with your own team, it's good to play with other people too because they bring more advice to you," Guetter said. "Just getting the other coaches at the college level - they take stuff a lot more seriously and it's a lot more technique - really helped me a lot."
After she graduates high school next spring, Guetter will play basketball at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. She said the decision to walk away from volleyball after high school was a tough one to make.
"Playing it since seventh grade, it's always been a sport that I've loved," Guetter said. "Even now at practice, I kind of start to realize that we have one more home match, so I think going into that match it will be kind of bittersweet playing my last time here."
Even though Guetter did not become a full-time starter until her sophomore year, Frank found her way to the starting lineup last season as a freshman.
Her cousin, Kimberly Frank, who graduated from Wabasso in last spring, was one of the most-decorated athletes in school history. In her four years as a starter for volleyball at Wabasso, Kimberly accumulated 403 kills, 177 service aces and 1,226 set assists.
Frank said having her cousin play alongside her last season provided a support system that was much-needed as a freshman.
"She's taught me to always keep my head up," Frank said. "Like if I'm having a bad day, [she would tell me] to just take it out on the ball."
Both Frank and Guetter have taken it out on the ball a lot this season - so much that they would even hit opposing players in the face.
"It just kind of catches them off guard," Guetter said. "You want to scream because it's a really good hit, but yet you feel bad for the person."
Guetter said hitting opponents is never in the game plan - the ideal spot for the ball, rather, is the floor - but it just sometimes happens.
Frank, who Johnson said has more natural snap to her swing, said she has hit an opposing player almost every match this season. Some of these occurrences have been failed dig attempts in which Frank had hit the ball too hard to defend.
"It all depends on the set, to be honest," Frank said. "Since we have such good setters, it's so easy to hit the ball."
Guetter and Frank have one more regular-season match before sections start to smack the ball as hard as they can at 7 p.m. on Monday against Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.