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Coach’s bump puts Clippers volleyball under new leadership for 2014 season

TIFFIN– It may be rough sailing for the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers as the varsity volleyball season gets underway without Brian Bronzynski at the helm.
Bronzynski was relieved of his coaching duties earlier this year after his teaching position was cut, and he was told the CCA district would not offer him the coaching contract without a teaching position. This was in the wake of his wife Karla being diagnosed with cancer, and Bronzynski taking time away from school to be with her during treatment.
Bronzynski said a pea-sized melanoma in his wife’s right tibia had spread to her brain, liver, kidneys and bones. Additionally two quarter-sized tumors were found in her brain along with several others in her liver and kidneys. “In March she did two rounds of five days of whole-brain radiation,” he said, which resulted in swelling of the brain and a weeklong stay in the hospital. “I couldn’t afford to take a leave of absence and cut my paycheck, so I was calling in and taking accumulated sick leave.”
Not long after, he was informed of the scale back of the special education staff.
“I didn’t have a choice. I had to be with Karla,” he said of his decision to take time off. He also questioned the circumstances of his termination.
“When I told the high school principal (Mark Moody) of my wife’s condition in January, he said to me, ‘Brian, you do what you need to do to support your wife. You just know that we’re behind you 100 percent.’ This is being supportive of someone?”
On a positive note, Bronzynski said his wife’s last CT scan in late July showed the many little tumors have been eradicated. “The larger ones are very hard to find,” he said, “She feels great, has no pain and no side effects from the chemo other than being tired.” Karla is the head volleyball coach at South Hardin in Eldora as well as a first grade teacher.
In the meantime Bronzynski’s assistant, Jackie Clubb, has been appointed as the head coach. Clubb inherits a program that went 23-10 last season, made it to the regional final (falling to Solon) and returns nine starters.
Seniors Natalie Brimeyer, Hanna Stokes, Dacia Lipkea, McKenzie Fuller and Lauren Stopko are back to lead the Clippers on the floor. Brimeyer put up 111 blocks and is a middle, Stokes made 193 kills and is an outside hitter while Lipkea, a right side hitter, made 42 blocks. Fuller is a setter who had 427 assists last year, and Stopko is a defensive specialist with 526 digs last year to her credit.
Juniors Alyssa Weldon (outside hitter), Ashley Prusha (middle), Megan Beckler (setter) and Corrine Schwarting (right side hitter) round out the returning starters. Weldon made 57 ace serves last year, Prusha notched 121 kills, Beckler made 331 assists and Schwarting put up 74 kills.
“We return all of our starters, including All-Conference selections Brimeyer, Stokes, Stopko and Weldon from a team that reached the regional final a year ago,” Clubb said. “A balanced attack coupled with very strong blocking and defense will be the foundation for this year’s team.”
Clubb will also be looking to returning letter-winner Mallory Allen, a sophomore right-side hitter/outside hitter who had 11 kills last season. Newcomers to the squad include sophomores McKenna McCreedy and Sheyanne Koethe. McCreedy is a defensive specialist while Koethe is a defensive specialist and setter.
“This year’s seniors have been a part of the tremendous turnaround in the CCA volleyball program that began when they were in junior high,” Clubb said. “The key challenge for them is to not be satisfied, and be the group that takes this program to the next level.”
Clubb sees the WaMaC conference as one of the strongest in the state with CCA, Marion, Independence and Center Point-Urbana all battling for the conference title in the West Division. Don Jackson, Natalie Fry, Meredith Whitmer, Jen Schlieman and CCA alum Michelle Lutz will assist Clubb.
The season opens with a visit from Solon on Thursday, Aug. 28.

2014 CCA Volleyball Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 28: HOME vs. Solon , 5 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 30: at Grinnell Tournament, 9 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 4: HOME vs. Benton Comm., 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 9: at Independence , 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 11: at Mount Vernon , 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 16: HOME vs. CPU , 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 23: HOME vs. Marion, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27: at Dunkerton Tournament, 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 30: HOME vs. Williamsburg , 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 4: at CR Prairie Tournament, 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 7: at Vinton-Shellsburg, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 14: at South Tama , 5 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 16: WaMaC Tournament, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 18: at Davenport Central, 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 21: WaMaC Tourn.(Mt. Vernon), 4 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 27: Regional quarterfinal, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 30: Regional semifinal, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 4: Regional final, 7 p.m.