2009 All-Area Volleyball Team
New London-Spicer, the only area volleyball team to play in the state tournament this season, has four players selected to the All-Area team.
Justine Dammermann, a senior setter, and Taylor Thompsen, a senior middle hitter, were each named to the All-Area first team from the Wildcats. And teammates Cassie Ziemer, a senior middle hitter, and Karli Wendlandt, a senior outside hitter, were selected to the second team. It was the third time Ziemer has been chosen to the All-Area team. Dammermann was honored for the second time.
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, the only area team to beat New London-Spicer this season, had three players named.
Willmar also had three players chosen. Montevideo and Benson had two players each named.
Joining Dammermann and Thompsen on the first team is Hannah Smith, a senior outside hitter from Willmar; Kayla Hampton, a senior middle hitter from Benson; Beka Schwendemann, a senior outside hitter from Montevideo; Maggie Gruber, a junior outside/middle hitter from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa; and Abby Kreitlow, a senior libero from Minnewaska.
Each of the three teams has at least one setter and one libero selected. The team is selected by the sports editor after consulting with area coaches, who were asked to nominate their top player(s) and also to name their top opposing players at each position. Some coaches out of the area that faced one or more of the teams in our coverage area were also consulted, as were several area players.
Named to the second team with Ziemer and Wendlandt is Julie Hieserich, a junior setter from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa; Brooke Tastad, a senior outside hitter from Montevideo; Aimee Johnson, a senior outside hitter from Yellow Medicine East; Taylor Semler, a senior setter from Benson; and Jessica Fischer, a junior libero from Redwood Valley.
Third-team selections are Jennie Mattison, a senior setter/right-side hitter from Willmar; Rachel Anderson, a senior middle hitter from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa; Lacey Tebben, a junior middle hitter from Central Minnesota Christian; Jenna Tebben, a senior outside hitter MACCRAY; Kendra Schmidgall, a sophomore middle hitter from Hancock; Katlyn Kiehn, a senior setter from Litchfield; and Karlee Johnson, a senior libero from Willmar.
5-7 senior setter/hitter
Dammermann, the West Central North Conference Most Valuable Player. became only the 17th setter all-time in the area to record over 2,000 assists in her career. She finished with 2,488 assists, fifth all-time in the area. The agile setter helped the Wildcats to their first state tournament appearance in 11 years. This season, she recorded 910 assists, served 95 percent with 57 aces, had 106 kills in 401 attacks and chalked up 36 ace blocks. Defensively, Dammermann amassed 207 digs.
5-7 senior hitter
Arguably the most improved player in the area, making the leap to first team All-Area after not being to any of the team in 2008. The hard-hitting Thompsen led the Wildcats in kills this season with 371, including 33 in two matches at state. She finished her career with 984 kills, putting her fifth all-time in school history. Thompsen also registered 97 ace blocks, served 22 aces and had a team-high 279 digs.
5-7 senior hitter
Smith started her varsity career as a setter, but was moved to hitter to utilize her excellent leaping ability and stellar arm swing. Smith blasted a team-high 348 kills this season in 951 attacks. Also an outstanding defensive player, Smith shattered the school record for digs in a season with 491 and in a career with 1,076. She also delivered 37 ace serves this season and moved into second place in Willmar's career list with 180 (13th all-time in the area). Smith also had 20 ace blocks this season.
6-0 senior hitter
Schwendemann, a three-year starter, helped the Thunder Hawks pull off three straight upsets in the post-season before losing to eventual Class AA state champion Marshall in the section final where she recorded a team-high eight kills. Overall, she had 279 kills this season and a team-best .307 kill percentage, while also leading the team with 50 ace serves and a 95 percent serving slate. Defensively, Schwendemann was second on the team with 272 digs and also finished with 33 ace blocks.
5-11 senior hitter
Hampton was named the Most Valuable Hitter in the West Central South Conference as the Braves won the conference title for a second straight year (shared last year with Yellow Medicine East). She uncorked 344 kills in 781 attacks and recorded a impressive .390 kill percentage. She also had a team-high 73 ace blocks and was second on the team with 283 digs and 53 ace serves as the Braves finished the season with a school-record 26 wins. She finished her career with 614 kills.
6-1 junior hitter
After the Jaguars graduated two first team All-Area hitters in Heidi Lensing and Emily Roelike, Gruber stepped up to become the team's "go-to" player, responding with a team-best 386 kills in 943 attacks and finishing the season with a kill efficiency mark of .275. BBE was the only area team to defeat the area's lone state participant, New London-Spicer, this season and Gruber had 11 kills in that match. Gruber also was second on the team with 74 ace blocks to go along with 30 ace serves. BBE finished 27-6 this season.
5-6 senior libero
Kreitlow received several accolades from area coaches because of her outstanding defensive prowess. She had 42 digs in one match this season and in several other matches she amassed over 30. For the season, Kreitlow was credited with 504 digs and also was outstanding in serve receive. Several coaches revealed that they tried to keep the ball away from her in the second half of the season. Kreitlow also had 15 ace serves.
Yellow Medicine East
5-8 senior hitter
Johnson, one of the more versatile players in the area, was instrumental in helping the Sting to their third straight 14-plus win season. Solid at the net, on defense or behind the service stripe, she led the team in kills with 203, digs with 263 and ace serves with 48. She also added 51 set assists and 13 ace blocks.
5-9 senior hitter
Ziemer, a five-year starter for the Wildcats, finished her career with 732 kills and helped the team win the West Central North Conference and Section 6AA titles this fall. She had 249 kills this season while compiling a .259 kill percentage and also amassed 20 ace serves, 87 ace blocks and 251 digs.
5-9 senior hitter
Wendlandt has been a mainstay in the Wildcats' lineup for four years and helped the team go from seven wins as a freshman to 32 wins this season. This season, Wendlandt had 309 kills and finished with 672 for her career. She also was credited with 33 ace serves, 78 ace blocks and 274 digs.
5-11 senior hitter
Tastad, a hard-hitting three-year starter, led the Thunder Hawks this season with 302 kills and with 707 attacks as they went 17-10 and finished second in Section 3AA after posting three straight upsets. Tastad also contributed 105 digs and was third on the team wit 42 ace blocks this season. She finished her career with 560 kills and 129 ace blocks.
5-8 senior setter
Semler, the West Central South Conference Setter of the Year, turned in a stellar season running the offense for the Braves. She chalked up 722 assists while making only 26 errors in 2,040 sets. Semler, a two-year starter, also contributed behind the service line with 64 aces while serving 87 percent. She was third on the team with 255 digs, notched 115 kills and also had 37 ace blocks.
5-5 junior setter
The Jaguars have turned out three first team All-Area hitters in the last two years and much of that credit goes to Hieserich, a two-year starter who had 754 assists and had only 38 errors in 2,300 set attempts this season as the team posted a 27-6 record. She also served 92 percent with 19 aces and finished with 145 digs.
5-3 junior libero
A stellar player on defense, Fischer rarely let a ball get past her en route to a team-high 438 digs this season for the Cardinals. She also topped the team with 344 serve receives. Fischer also was one of the team's most consistent server at 96 percent and chipped in 20 ace serves. In her two years starting, Fischer has notched 745 digs.
6-0 sophomore hitter
Schmidgall turned in an area-best 409 kills this season in 1,066 attacks as the Owls posted a 21-7 record. She also served 90 percent with 23 aces, helping Hancock capture the Pheasant Conference crown. Schmidgall also contributed 28 ace blocks and 102 digs and was second on the team with 122 serve receives.
Central Minnesota Christian
5-10 junior hitter
Tebben was a consistent and valuable attacker all season for the Bluejays. She led the team with 273 kills this season while finishing with a .264 kill percentage. She served a team-high 98 percent this season with just six errors in 272 attempts and also was second on the team in ace serves with 43 aces. Tebben also led CMCS with 34 ace blocks and chipped in 54 digs.
5-11 senior hitter
Tebben, an all-around player for the Wolverines, was second on the team with 191 kills, second on the team in digs with 285 and second on the team in ace serves with 35. She also contributed 13 ace blocks and was excellent in serve receive for the Wolverines, who finished the season 15-11.
6-1 senior hitter
Anderson was a force at the net with a team-high 86 ace blocks while also registering 244 kills in 654 attacks and finished with a .268 kill percentage, helping the Jaguars win the Central Minnesota Conference title and reach the Section 5A championship. Anderson also chipped in 15 ace serves and 26 digs.
5-7 senior setter
Mattison, playing in a 6-2 offense employed by the Cardinals, recorded 420 sets and had only 15 setting errors in 1,422 attempts this season. She also provided 39 kills in 127 attacks, was third on the team with 267 digs, and served 93 percent with 27 aces as the Cardinals finished second in the Central Lakes Conference.
5-7 senior hitter/setter
Kiehn has been a fixture in the Litchfield lineup for four years and compiled 1,561 set assists, 547 digs and 77 ace serves in her career. The Dragons struggled through a rare down year this season, but Kiehn still posted impressive numbers with 312 assists, 103 kills, 221 digs, 31 ace serves and 21 ace blocks.
5-5 senior libero
Playing in a strong Central Lakes Conference, Willmar finished second to state-bound Alexandria and often prevailed with a strong defense led by Smith and Johnson. In her first season as the team's libero, Johnson was outstanding at keeping plays alive and stifling enemy hitters. She had 353 digs and five ace serves as Willmar finished 18-11.