Xceptional Athlete: Kaukauna MB Xavier Stueber looks to finish dream season

High School Sports

KAUKAUNA (WFRV) – In a small but ultra-competitive boys volleyball circuit, it’s often one point, step, or swing that can make all the difference in a tight match.

But even in a grinder conference like the Fox Valley Association, the cream rises to the top – for teams and players.

Last week, senior middle blocker Xavier Stueber earned FVA Player of the Year honors after a dominant season. On defense, he was a wall in the middle. On offense, the numbers were staggering – a hitting percentage over .600 for the Ghosts.

“I’d say it’s always kind of a part of my game, but it’s also because I have such great teammates out there, so teams can’t just game plan for one guy and then it just opens up everything for all of us,” Stueber said of his high efficiency marks. “Everything’s just clicking and I knew I would have to lead my team, so that’s what I’ve been doing all year and so have the other guys.”

That leadership comes from an unlikely position at middle blocker. Volleyball captains often come from positions like setter, or other players on the court for all six rotations.

Stueber is on the court for just half of that, yet still makes a point to be a voice for his teammates.

“I think he takes it as a sense of pride,” head coach Mitch Bolwerk said. “Even when he’s on the bench, he’s loud, he’s cheering, he’s encouraging the other guys, and when he does get his time on the floor he makes it worth it.”

“I’d say it does take a little extra just because I’m not on the court the whole time,” Stueber said. “So I have to make sure when I’m on the bench or during a timeout, I’m still letting my team know we’re doing a good job and building everybody up.”

Stueber was a freshman in 2018 when the Ghosts lost in a sectional final, but he’s seen the chemistry grow with this senior group all the way through WIAA and club seasons alike.

Kaukauna finished the regular season with a 40-1 record, but the state title is the true goal at the end of the line.

“It’d be everything we’ve wanted since we were freshmen here,” Stueber said. “We watched our group of seniors go out in the sectional final. We know they had the high hopes so we just want to do what we didn’t get to see them do.

“It would be the best way to go out.”

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