Weather Forecast


All-Area Volleyball: Schmidgall makes area history

By Tom Larson

The Hancock Owls volleyball team ended their season with a 27-2-1 record and in 22 of those matches they played the minimum number of games.

That's good for the Owls, who won 21 of those straight-set matches, but bad for star player Kendra Schmidgall.

Schmidgall, a repeat selection on this year's Tribune All-Area Volleyball Team, finished the season with 539 kills, just six short of breaking the Tribune area's single-season record of 544, set by Leah Ashburn of Buffalo Lake-Hector in 2005.

Record or not, Schmidgall completes her senior season as one of the area's all-time best.

She had 522 kills as a junior, and she owns two of the top six best single-season kill performances in area history. Schmidgall and Ashburn are the only two area players to surpass 500 kills twice, and only two other players -- Jenny Ackerson of New London-Spicer (535 kills in 1998) and Maggie Gruber of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (523 in 2010) -- have had 500-plus kills in a season.

Despite her epic season, Schmidgall's performance doesn't dwarf those of her fellow first-teamers.

Abbey Thissen of MACCRAY is a repeat first-teamer and combined with another MACCRAY first-team selection, Teagan Molden, to help lead the Wolverines to a 21-8 record and a top-10 ranking during the regular season.

Tyann Caspers teamed with second-team selection Nikki Neisen to lead BOLD to a 21-10 record, a Section 2A championship and a spot in the Minnesota state tournament. Willmar's Emily Minnick is one of the best athletes on any team in the area, setter Heather Blom was a key to Central Minnesota Christian's 22-7-2 season, and Litchfield's Bailey Koch was -- and will be again next season -- a powerful force at the net for the Dragons.

Tribune All-Area Volleyball Team capsules

First Team

Kendra Schmidgall

Hancock Owls

6-1 senior hitter

Once again, the finest player in the area, repeating on the All-Area team with 539 kills, 43 solo blocks, 267 digs and 32 service aces. Ends her career which began in the 8th grade - with 1,710 kills and 1,030 digs. A four-time all-conference selection, conference MVP twice and an All-State academic pick and an All-State Class A choice.

Abbey Thissen

MACCRAY Wolverines

6-1 senior hitter

Another repeat All-Area selection. Finished the season with 465 kills, 46 ace blocks, 206 digs and 78 service aces. Surpassed 1,000 kills for her career.

Emily Minnick

Willmar Cardinals

6-0 senior middle hitter

One of the most athletic middle hitters in the area, with quickness that allows her to hit around blocks and deploy as one of the top blockers. Had 314 kills and a superb .423 hitting percentage. Also had 93 blocks and 48 service aces.

Teagan Molden

MACCRAY Wolverines

6-2 senior hitter

A top player for a state-ranked MACCRAY team this season. Finished with 334 kills, 29 ace blocks, 53 digs and 11 ace serves.

Tyann Caspers

BOLD Warriors

6-0 senior hitter

Caspers helped lead the Warriors to their first state tournament berth. Named the West Central South's MVP and was an all-conference selection as a junior in 2010. Ended season with 311 kills, 69 ace blocks and 316 digs.

Bailey Koch

Litchfield Dragons

6-1 junior hitter

Her 358 kills places her second among Dragons all-time for kills in a season. Also had 249 digs, 10 ace blocks and 34 service aces.

Heather Blom

CMCS Bluejays

5-10 senior setter

Statistically, the superior setter in the area this season, with 869 set assists. Also had 250 digs and 39 service aces this season. An All-Camden North Conference pick and an academic All-State honoree.

Second Team

Brittany Roelike

BBE Jaguars

5-8 junior hitter

Led the Jaguars to the brink of the state tournament. An all-state honorable mention choice in her third year as a starter. Had 339 kills, 29 ace blocks, 318 digs and 38 ace serves. Poised to reach 1,000 career kills, ending the 2011 season with 701.

Kari Blom

CMCS Bluejays

5-11 junior hitter

Registered 315 kills, 235 digs, 13 ace blocks and an impressive 50 service aces. Joined four other Bluejays in Camden North All-Conference team

Taylor Braegelman

BBE Jaguars

5-9 junior hitter

Joined teammate Brittany Roelike on the All-Central Minnesota Conference team. Finished her second year as a starter with 308 kills, 332 digs and 36 service aces.

Nikki Neisen

BOLD Warriors

6-0 senior hitter

A repeat all-area team selection. Swapped the All-West Central South MVP trophy with teammate Tyann Caspers this year. Also was team MVP last season. This year, finished state-tournament season with 269 kills, 59 ace blocks and 298 digs.

Remi Werner

BLHS Mustangs

5-8 senior hitter

A solid season for the Mustangs with 323 kills, 40 ace blocks, 35 service aces and 62 digs. Plans to play in college after registering 666 kills and 132 ace blocks in career.

Emily Baker

Yellow Medicine East Sting

6-0 senior hitter

Her 226 kills and 58 ace blocks earned her recognition as the West Central South Conference's Most Valuable Hitter. Also had 33 ace serves this season.

Courtney Hinz

Yellow Medicine East Sting

5-10 senior setter

One of the area's top setters for a second straight season. Named the West Central South's co-Most Valuable Setter for a second time and an All-Conference selection in her third year as a starter. Finished with 609 set assists (an average of 22.6 per match) and 143 digs. Added 53 kills to Sting's attack.

Third Team

Kaylee Jacobs

Minnewaska Lakers

5-10 senior hitter

Piled up 234 kills and 31 ace blocks for Lakers while being named to All-West Central South Conference team. Also had 150 digs and 34 service aces.

Hailey Johnson

Renville County West Jaguars

5-8 senior hitter

Played a solid game for the Jaguars, with 235 kills. Also contributed 49 ace blocks and had 88 digs.

Ashley Kiecker

Buffalo Lake-Hector/Stewart

5-9 senior setter/hitter

Perhaps the best hybrid player in the area. Led the Mustangs with 433 set assists but also brought 228 kills to the team's attack. Served 28 aces during the season.

Emma Peterson


5-9 junior hitter

Like Kieckker, Peterson was a complete player, with 199 kills and was a defensive star with 284 digs. Showcased her athleticism with 74 ace serves.

Terianne Itzen


5-9 sophomore hitter

Another player will a sound all-around game. Itzen had 209 kills, along with 175 set assists, and also contributed 203 digs and 26 services aces.

Katie Knisley

ACGC Falcons

5-9 senior hitter

An efficient hitter for the Falcons who ended the season with 249 kills. Also contributed 125 digs and 11 service aces and earned All-West Central South honors.

Sadie Treml

Renville Couty West Jaguars

5-8 sophomore setter

Took over the Jaguars' attack at a young age, finishing the season with 542 set assists. She also played solid defense with 175 digs and scored with 31 services aces.