Women Vikings persist for excellence

As the clock started counting down into the last minute of the final game of the season against Crown College, tears of both sadness and joy could be seen coming from the Bethany Women’s Basketball team. Another season had come and gone for the women – a season that although they wished had turned out differently, they were still proud of.

Photo by Megan Grunke
Photo by Megan Grunke

Going 8-17 for the season overall and 6-8 in the conference, the Vikings just missed the playoffs, but with the loss of their two leading scorers from last year, they knew they had work ahead of them over the course of this season.

“From the beginning of this season, there were pretty big roles to fill and I was really impressed that by the time conference came around was when we started clicking. We were so close to making play-offs again. Last year, we got fourth and the tie-breaker went in our favor, and this year we got fifth. Some of those close games could have went either way, but it shows the strength of our conference,” said head coach Tiffany Young-Klockziem.

Looking at the game statistics, it is clear to see that the Vikings did play with all they had in every game. With double digits coming in just about every game from the new posts, Shelby Wiederhoeft and Kasslin Swenson, and contributions from the veterans along with the freshman, every game became close. While most of the wins came in dramatic fashion, sometimes the losses gave them just as much as the wins.

“Even with some of the games we didn’t win, we could walk away and say ‘that was 40 minutes of basketball’ or ‘we really accomplished a lot’. Thinking back to University of Wisconsin-Superior, Northwestern (when we played them to two), and our first Morris game when it was so close the whole game… Even walking away with those and not winning, I still felt we accomplished something and we grew as a team,” said sophomore Swenson.

“Sometimes those losses almost meant more than blowing a team out because we knew we played really well. When we blow a team out, it’s nice because everyone gets to play and we all get to participate, it’s not as fun in a way,” said Kelsie Ammann.

With the end of the season came goodbyes too as seniors Kelsie Ammann, Sarah Rosenau and Amanda Edmison played their last season in a Bethany jersey.

“It was hard coming into [this season] knowing it was going to be done. All the girls are amazing – I miss them already. Obviously we would have liked to go into playoffs, but we gave it the best we could, worked hard and accomplished a lot this season, and I am excited to see where next season is for them,” said senior Rosenau.

“I came into Bethany and only played volleyball and softball for my first two years. My junior year – mid-season – one of Bethany’s posts went down on her knee and TY [Young-Klockziem] was in my email, in my phone, in the classroom and she finally convinced me to play and I am so glad she did. Now I can’t imagine not playing. I am just so thankful for the opportunity,” said senior Edminson.

Although the women will have challenges again next year in filling holes, they are confident in what next season may bring.

“We just need to keep building on what we have already established. We just need to tweak little things now, and once we get new freshmen in, we have to help them figure out what their roles are on the team and get them used to our style of playing,” said Wiederhoeft.

“I think we can honestly get the top seed [next season] if we do what we are capable of doing. I think playing together in the off season and working on our own we can get there…show everyone what we can do,” said junior Jade Pelzl.

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