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2012 Tribune All-Area Volleyball Team

Tribune photo by Tom Larson Litchfield outside hitter Bailey Koch, right, fires a shot around the block attempt of New London-Spicer's Taylor Thunstedt (1) and Olivia Setterberg (4) during the first game of a Wright County Conference match on Tuesday in Litchfield.

Two tall, athletic and powerful front row players bound for college teams next fall are the anchors of this year's Tribune All-Area Volleyball Team.

Willmar senior Emily Minnick and Litchfield senior Bailey Koch are repeat first-teamers this year, and they are among seven area players who have again earned spots on the 21-player All-Area team. Minnick will play at North Dakota State next year and Augustana will be the lucky recipient of Koch's abundant talents.

BBE senior Brittany Roelike, a four-year starter, is the lone three-time All-Area player on this year's team. Roelike was a third-teamer in 2010 and she earned second-team selections in 2011 and this year.

Roelike is one of four Jaguars selected this season after BBE put together another sterling season, with 25-8 record and another trip to a Section 5A championship match. BBE teammate Taylor Braegelman is a first-team choice this season, which is her second year on the All-Area team. The Jaguars' junior Becca Gruber is a third-team selection this year and -- get used to seeing this name -- 8th-grade setter Hailey Braegelman earned her first spot on this year's All-Area second team.

Benson's all-everything senior hitter Emma Peterson ascended to the first team in 2012 after a third team selection last season, and Central Minnesota Christian senior Kari Blom moved up a notch to first team this year after earning second-team honors in 2011. Talented Renville County West junior setter Sadie Treml earned a second-team selection this year after making the third team last year.

First Team

Emily Minnick

Willmar Cardinals

6-1 senior hitter

Minnick was once again one of the area's top offensive threats, a powerful hitter who will play at North Dakota State next season. She led the Cards with 385 kills -- second all-time at WHS -- and 67 blocks, leading the Central Lakes Conference in all hitting categories. Totaled 851 career kills.

Bailey Koch

Litchfield Dragons

6-0 senior hitter

Joins Minnick as an All-Area first-teamer and led area nominees with 478 kills. Koch is a tall and athletic presence at the net, offensively and defensively, with 79 blocks and 231 digs. With a nasty jump serve, she also produced 68 aces. Her 1,059 career kills are second all-time at Litchfield.

Taylor Braegelman

BBE Jaguars

5-10 senior hitter

A solid all-around player, with 300 kills, 55 blocks, 384 digs and 37 service aces this season. Finished her prep career with 820 kills, 1,074 digs and 160 blocks. Braegelman has started since her 9th-grade year and was a three-time All-Central Minnesota Conference pick.

Riley Grussing

Willmar Cardinals

5-9 sophomore setter

A superb floor leader for the Cardinals, finishing the season with 719 assists. Her 9.1 assists per game ranks among the top 20 in Minnesota. Her assists are the fourth-best single season total in school history and her 1,367 career assists places her fifth all-time. Served 49 aces.

Emma Peterson

Benson Braves

5-9 senior hitter

Peterson covered just about everything that happened on the court. Of her 663 career kills, she had 344 this season, along with 443 digs and 59 service aces. She has 1,020 career digs and 145 ace serves. A three-time West Central Conference pick and twice named Most Valuable Defensive player in WCC.

Kari Blom

Central Minnesota

Christian Bluejays

6-0 senior hitter

Blom was a consistent force for the Bluejays, who were 22-9 this season. Blom led the team with 310 kills and also proved herself an able defensive player with 246 digs and 26 blocks. At the service line, she produced 44 aces. The Bluejays' captain earned All-Camden Conference honors the last two years.

Baylie Kubesh

BOLD Warriors

5-9 junior setter

Kubesh was a terror for opponents wherever she was on the court. At the net, the Warriors' junior recorded 289 kills and 48 blocks. If she wasn't the one on the receiving end of a set, Kubesh was dishing out 234 set assists. She also recorded 25 service aces and helped the defense with 268 digs.

Second Team

Sadie Treml

Renville County West Jaguars

5-9 junior setter

Not much she can't do on a volleyball court. Treml racked up 469 set assists -- sixth among area nominees -- but she also registered 74 kills, 57 blocks and 40 aces from the service line. She surpassed 1,000 set assists this season and was an All-Camden Conference pick.

Kelsey Fisher

Litchfield Dragons

5-10 senior setter

Fisher was a key player in the Dragons' scheme after switching from hitter to setter her junior year. She had 427 set assists this season while, paying heed to her roots, smacking down 71 kills. Fisher recorded 21 blocks, fired off 31 ace serves and dug up 184 balls. She finished her prep career with 1,073 assists.

Hailey Braegelman

BBE Jaguars

5-8 8th-grade setter

A mature player for her age, she was second in the area only to Willmar setter Riley Grussing with 659 set assists this season. Braegelman also was good on 91 percent of her serves and tallied 37 aces from the service line this season. Adjusted well when BBE changed its attack in season's last three weeks.

Alexis Scott

Central Minnesota

Christian Bluejays

5-11 sophomore hitter

While still a young player, Scott was a powerful presence at the net for the Bluejays. She had 239 kills and led the team with 75 blocks this season. She proved potent at the service line with 46 aces, and she kicked in with 76 digs while playing the back row only when she serves. All-Camden Conference.

Courtney Greiner

Hancock Owls

5-10 senior hitter

A solid, two-time All-Pheasant Conference pick who almost surpassed the 1,000 kills mark for her career (946). Greiner had 318 kills this season with 61 blocks and 27 service aces. She also played well defensively with 168 digs. She was part of four conference champions from 2008-2011.

Brittany Roelike

BBE Jaguars

5-9 senior hitter

Roelike has proved herself very deserving of three all-area selections and a 2011 all-state honorable mention. She had 306 kills with 31 service aces and 352 digs. Finished her four years as a starter with 964 kills and 1,053 digs. Plans to play at the College of St. Benedict next fall.

Aleah Schwitters

MACCRAY Wolverines

5-8 junior setter

Schwitters and fellow junior teammate Brooklyn Gould -- a third-teamer this season -- form a great core for the Wolverines next season. Schwitters had 570 set assists this season, third-best among All-Area nominees, and she served 45 aces. She also contributed 86 kills, 11 blocks and 186 digs.

Third Team

Becca Gruber

BBE Jaguars

6-1 junior hitter

A staple this year and next for the Jaguars. Gruber finished the season with 241 kills and 70 blocks. She also contributed 43 digs and 37 aces from the service line. The All-Central Minnesota Conference pick in 2012 has 419 kills and 152 blocks thus far in her prep career.

Sydney Stone


5-10 sophomore hitter

Stone played like a seasoned veteran at a relatively young age. She finished the season with 251 kills, 25 blocks and 199 digs. She comes with a dangerous serve, with a percentage topping 95 percent and she had 48 aces, an average of 1.71 aces per match.

Ashton Byrne

Minnewaska Lakers

5-9 senior setter

Byrne triggered a Lakers attack that helped them build a 16-9 overall record and a 9-4 mark in the West Central Conference this year. Byrne had 473 set assists and served 40 aces. She also contributed 52 kills and dug up 66 shots.

Brooklyn Gould

MACCRAY Wolverines

5-6 junior hitter

Despite her size, Gould was a powerful force at the net and in the back row. She led the Wolverines with 242 kills but also used her quickness to record 267 digs. Gould was an especially effective server, making good on 303 of 307 attempts and piling up 47 aces.

Sydney Larson

ACGC Falcons

5-10 senior hitter

Larson was a consistent threat for the Falcons in the front and back rows as the team MVP and all-conference performer. She had 275 kills and 28 blocks, and she also had 181 digs and served at a 92 percent rate with 19 aces. She had 674 kills, 112 blocks, 383 digs and 58 service aces in her career.

Jessica Johnson

NLS Wildcats

5-8 senior setter

Johnson, a team co-captain, is a three-year letterwinner, and 2012 All-Section 6AA pick and an All-Academic State award winner. She finished the season with 470 set assists, 20 kills, 181 digs and 37 ace serves, a product of her 93 percent serving percentage.

Kristin Slagter

CMCS Bluejays

5-9 senior hitter

A smart, all-around player who earned All-Camden Conference North honors this year and in 2012. Slagter helped the Bluejays compile a 22-9 record by leading the team with 51 service aces, and she also had 209 kills and 46 blocks. She had 76 digs as a part-time back row player this year.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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