TOMAHAWK - Battles with cancer make competition on the volleyball court seem trivial.
That became clear early last week when the Northwoods volleyball community learned that former
Tomahawk volleyball coach Jen Pfannerstill passed away on July 2nd after a long battle with cancer.
The news was tough to take for many.
But Pfannerstill left behind quite the legacy.
Tomahawk became a Division II powerhouse volleyball program under Pfannerstill.
But according to her former players, she was much more than just a coach.
"She was just one of a kind," former Tomahawk volleyball player Amanda Schneider said.
Jen Pfannerstill was a volleyball coach, teacher and mother of three.
"She definitely instilled in all of us how important each other is and kind of that family basis," Schneider said.
And she was a second mother to many.
From home, to the classroom, to the volleyball court - her former players said she was dedicated to making a positive difference.
"She wasn't just building the athlete; she was building the person," said2014 Tomahawk Volleyball graduate
Alex DuPlaye. "She will definitely leave a big whole in a lot of lives, but definitely in our volleyball program."
Pfannerstill led the Tomahawk volleyball team to four state appearances and won more than 400 games.
Former opponents argue that Tomahawk had one of the best volleyball programs in the state under her.
"Tomahawk volleyball was the most ferocious volleyball programs around; I mean they beat everybody," former Medford head volleyball coach Dave Vaara said.
The players who played during the successful run said it was the best part of their high school career.
"It's crazy to think that in the little town of Tomahawk, we could do something like that. To be a part of that is pretty special," said 2011 Tomahawk volleyball graduate Kaylyn Schoone.
Pfannerstills time at Tomahawk ended in 2012 after she stepped down for personal reasons.
But players said the lessons learned from Coach Phannerstill will stay with them forever.
"When defining moments come around you have two choices, to let the moment define you or you can define that moment," DuPlaye said. "She never let herself be a cancer patient, she was just always defining the moment and making the best out of everything."
"She will definitely be missed, I'll tell you that," Vaara said. "She was a good coach"
A GoFundMe memorial page was created for her family.
It has raised almost $34,000.
You can find the link below.