Somerset places four, New Richmond two on All-MBC volleyball teamThe Middle Border Conference champion Somerset volleyball team had four girls play their way onto the 2011 All-MBC volleyball team.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Middle Border Conference champion Somerset volleyball team had four girls play their way onto the 2011 All-MBC volleyball team.
New Richmond had two girls who earned all-conference honors this season.
Somerset’s four honorees are all seniors. Ellie Vanasse and Bridget Kieckhoefer were selected for the All-MBC first team and Anna Marson and Laura Wells were placed on the All-MBC second team.
Vanasse was also given a special honor. She and Baldwin-Woodville senior Cabrina Grunseth were named as Co-Most Valuable Players for the conference for the 2011 season.
New Richmond’s two all-conference players are senior Brooke Ver Bunker and sophomore Emily Kukacka. They were both honorable mention selections.
Instead of discussing each of the all-conference players, Somerset coach Sarah Praschak wanted to talk about her seniors as a group. That included the fifth senior, Lauren Rathai. She wasn’t an all-conference selection, but was given a team award as the Most Spirited Player.
Praschak spoke about the excellent, team-first leadership the seniors provided this season. She said the team reflected the personalities of the seniors.
“They’re probably the most unselfish group of seniors I’ve had in a long time of coaching. I love the energy they brought. All of them contributed something unique,” Praschak said.
Vanasse and Kieckhoefer were the leaders of Somerset’s fierce net attack. There were matches this season where Vanasse dominated with her play as a middle hitter. Kieckhoefer was a crafty player with one of the best all-around games in the conference. Marson was the team’s lead setter, skillfully distributing the ball to all of the Spartans’ hitters. Wells was the leader of the back row for the Spartans, returning a large number of serves and hits through the season.
Two other awards were presented by the team this season. Junior Markell Penman was voted as the team’s Most Improved Player. Sophomore Sami Martell received the Spartan Award.
There were growing pains expected with the Tigers being such a young team this season. Coach Bob Fisher said the team showed excellent growth this year. That growth was reflected in the all-conference honors.
Fisher said Kukacka’s honors were based on her blocking ability. She led the team in blocking this season.
“She was probably the best blocker in the conference,” Fisher stated. “She started out pretty green, playing at the C level last year, but she’s a fast learner.”
Ver Bunker was one of the few returning players on the Tiger varsity team. Fisher said Ver Bunker was a natural blocker from her right-side position.
“She became a team leader. She wasn’t concerned about how many kills she got,” Fisher said.
The Tiger team awards were announced at the team banquet on Nov. 1.
Senior Maggie Dalton was named the Most Valuable Player. Kukacka was selected as the Most Improved Player.
The Tiger Award didn’t go to a player. Instead, it was bestowed upon senior manager Taylor Rinda.
“In 20 years of coaching, I’ve never had anyone work so hard and be as committed as she was,” Fisher said.
Dalton and freshman Serena Shilts were the team’s leading passers this season. Junior Britney Ellspermann was the team’s leader in ace serves. She also led the team in hitting, followed by Vern Bunke