ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

2016 Tribune All-Area Volleyball Team

Strong programs breed strong players and that's the theme with this year's All-Area team. The eight players selected for this year's team come from five different teams, all of which saw considerable success. Two players will be competing for a s...

JAKE SCHULTZ | TRIBUNE
Esther Grussing

Strong programs breed strong players and that's the theme with this year's All-Area team.

The eight players selected for this year's team come from five different teams, all of which saw considerable success. Two players will be competing for a state title while two others fell just short of a trip to the Xcel Energy Center. The other four saw their seasons come to an end in subsection finals and semifinals.

The one common thread, though, is statistical greatness. These eight athletes were dominant and the numbers back that claim up.

Five members return from last year's All-Area team while another makes the step up from honorable mention.

Karly Fehr

ADVERTISEMENT

Morris/Chokio-Alberta

5-7, junior, setter

Fehr, a first-team All-State player, has 822 set assists to date and those numbers might not pop out in comparison to other members of the All-Area team but that's a cause of her team's dominance in 2016. She averaged 10 assists per set (83 sets) as she helped lead her team to a 25-3 record and it's second trip to the state tournament in as many years. She also knocked in 50 kills while serving at a 98.8 percent clip this season as well. "Karly has a great volleyball IQ and court awareness," said Morris/CA head coach Kristi Fehr. "She plays the game with a ton of passion and heart and is our court leader."

She broke the school's set assist record and currently sits at 2,391 in her career. She was also named to her third-straight all-West Central Conference team and was the team's captain for the second year in a row.

Brooke Gillespie

Morris/Chokio-Alberta

5-8, senior, outside hitter

Gillespie has been the go-to hitter for the Tigers this year but she's also been impressive defensively. She's one of the few area player to record 300 kills and digs. She finished her career with 1,025 digs and was just shy of the four-digit mark for kills. "She has worked hard on improving not only putting the ball down but mixing up her shots depending on our opponent," Fehr said. "She also plays an important role in the backrow and is one of our most consistent servers." Like Fehr, Gillespie also earned her third all-conference honor.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kalley Schwitters

Central Minnesota Christian

5-9, senior, outside hitter

Schwitters was an offensive juggernaut for the Bluejays this year, leading the Tribune area with 413 kills in her senior season. Her impressive season capped off a strong career in which she recorded more than 1,000 kills and digs. It's that ability to work offensively and defensively that proved to be vital for first-year head coach Jill Haan. "Kalley is a tremendous all-around volleyball player," Haan said. "She can do it all. She also works extremely hard to make her and her team better."

Sydney Schwitters

MACCRAY

5-8, junior, setter

Schwitters earned a spot on the All-Area team for the second year in a row by leading a strong Wolverine team that went 25-6, reaching a spot in the subsection final. As a junior, the MACCRAY captain took control of her young team with her hard work and impressive stat lines every day. She finished the year with 820 set assists, third-most in the Tribune Area, and also tacked on 281 digs and 36 service aces for a team that took pride in strong defense. "Sydney is a player that works hard day in and day out," said MACCRAY head coach Terese Bourne. "She runs the court well and is our floor leader."

ADVERTISEMENT

Ellie Thein

MACCRAY

5-8, junior, outside hitter

Thein is marked on the roster as an outside hitter and it's a position she excels at but her true strength comes in her defense on the backline. The MACCRAY junior led nominees with 419 digs and also tacked on 242 kills on a .339 hitting percentage. "Ellie is a ball handler that plays solid defense and serve receive," Bourne said. "She also has a powerful swing from the front row." It's that duality that was key to Wolverine success this season. She was the leader of a young and powerful front three that also consisted of Carly Orwick and Piper Asche.

Brooke Beuning

New London-Spicer

5-8, senior, setter

Beuning seized an opportunity after last year All-Area first-teamer Espi Austvold graduated and New London-Spicer once again had one of the top setters in the area. As a senior Beuning recorded 906 of her 1,005 career set assists and also led the Wildcats with 271 digs. She was dominant throughout her only year as a starter but never more so than on Sept. 23 when she set the Tribune Area record with 58 set assists in a match. The mark is the fifth most in Minnesota State High School League history. "Brooke has had a remarkable season for being a first-year starter," said Wildcat head coach Erin Schoumaker. "Her leadership on and off the court has been invaluable to our team."

Esther Grussing

Willmar

5-8, junior, setter

The Cardinals were in the section final for the first time since 2005 and Grussing was a big reason for that. Willmar's offense ran through the Ball State-bound junior and she racked up the statistics to prove it, leading the Tribune Area with 912 set assists, just shy of the school record 975 by Alyssa Dahl. "Esther is an incredible setter," said Willmar head coach Traci Grussing. "When our team passes well, Esther runs a fast offense that is almost unstoppable When our passing is bad Esther covers the whole court and puts up hittable sets." She now has 1,626 career set assists which puts her third in school history.

Cami Sletta

Willmar

5-10, senior, outside hitter

Sletta was the Cardinals go-to hitter but when she wasn't receiving passes from Esther Grussing she was setting her team up well from the service line. She led Willmar with 312 kills and 70 service aces. Those 312 kills were the second-most in the Tribune Area and her 70 service aces were also the most in the area. "Cami is a threat from both the front and the back row," said Willmar head coach Traci Grussing. "She has a strong arm and great topspin and is one of our top defenders."

JAKE SCHULTZ | TRIBUNE
Kalley Schwitters

What To Read Next