KIMBERLY, Wis. (WBAY) - “It would mean the world to me just to get that Gold Ball,” said Kimberly senior right side hitter Taylor Surprise.
The Kimberly Papermakers are back to state for the first time since 2014 and looking for their first Division 1 title. Surprise was a freshman in the program during their last run to the Resch, and learned a lot from being around the team and seeing her big sister compete at the Resch.
“I think it helps because I see how intense it is and how loud it is, especially with two courts going at once,” Surprise said.
“They made this a goal early in the summer,” coach Jeff Nieuwenhuis said. “They said 'we want to be playing at the end of the year at the Resch Center.' They've always had that in the back of their heads, and they really came together as a team during the summer.”
It will be a tough task for the Makers to bring home a D1 championship. They must win three games in three days against elite competition. But their motto, 'never satisfied', will serve them well as they are not simply happy to be on the State Tournament stage.
“Never satisfied has been our motto this entire year,” Surprise said. “Every time we play, if we win a set, then first thing we say when we get in the huddle is 'we're not satisfied.'”
“Even if we are up by a lot, teams can always come back,” sophomore outside hitter Courtney Pearson said. “We just like to play our best, no matter who we are against or what the score is.”
No matter what adversity Kimberly faces, they know there are plenty of faces to pick up the slack in any match.
“We have some big hitters and we have a lot of them,” Nieuwenhuis said. “If one of them has a bad game, the others do a great job of stepping up.”