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Veteran, versatile athletes mark 2006 Pilot team

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

The 2006 Pilot Tribune's All-Area volleyball team is a veteran group, with a number of players who have been three or four-year starters.

On the first team, there are six senior who are four year letterwinners not only in volleyball, but in basketball and track and field as well.

In October or early November, Storm Lake St. Mary's' Abby Richardson, Alta's Dee Hinkeldey and Jahde Hammer, Sioux Central's Briana Scharn, Aurelia's Kristen Munden and Newell-Fonda's Sarah Culp played their last prep volleyball games.

All six will compete in basketball this winter and track and field in the spring of 2007.

This year's Pilot Tribune's all area team is headed, meanwhile, by Sioux Central's outside hitter Beth Ehlers. A senior, she led the area in kills and was close to the top in blocks.

Alta, Sioux Central and St. Mary's each placed two players on the first team. Alta placed three players on the second team, with Sioux Central and Newell-Fonda adding two each.

Here's a look at the 2006 Pilot Tribune's All-Area Volleyball team.

Beth Ehlers, Sioux Central - A senior first-team All-Northwest Conference pick, Ehlers' hard work in the offseason paid off, as she led the area in kills with 265.

She also finished with 189 digs and 60 blocks at her outside hitting position. Ehlers helped lead the Class 2A Rebels to a 5-2 conference record and a second-place finish. Sioux Central finished 16-17 this season and after beating Emmetsburg in the opening playoff round, lost to Cherokee in the district finals.

Ehlers' 265 kills broke Stef Madsen's single season kill record of 254.

"Beth came a long way with her hitting this season," Sioux Central coach Sue Mattson said. "She worked hard at getting better and improved the most from her junior to her senior season."

Janie Imming, senior, Storm Lake-St. Mary's - A first-team All-Northwest Conference selection, Imming became a dominant middle hitter-blocker for the Panthers this season.

"When we really needed a point, Janie was the person we we went to," Panther coach Heather Beal. Late in the season, Imming had three consecutive games where she finished with 25-28 kills per game.

At 5-foot-10 with a long arm span, Imming led the Panthers in kills with 118 kills on 264 of 316 hitting. She finished with 18 blocks and made good on 168 of 186 serves for 90 percent.

Dee Hinkeldey, senior, Alta - Hinkeldey was the Cyclones' middle hitter this season, and the team's most intimidating force at the net.

She led the offense with 138 kills and added a team-high 44 blocks, averaging 2.5 kills per game.

"Dee was a real force for us in the middle," said Alta coach Jeannie Henningsen. "As a senior, she really grew into a leadership role and helped our younger players develop."

Hinkeldey helped lead the Cyclones to an undefeated regular season at 16-0. Alta also won the Northwest Conference title outright with a 7-0 league record.

Briana Scharn, senior, Sioux Central - An outstanding all-around athlete, Scharn played a dual role for the Rebels this season, playing setter and outside hitter.

Coach Mattson would have preferred to use Scharn as a full-time outside hitter, but needed her at setter.

"Briana was our most consistent player night in and night out," Mattson said. "She was also a team leader; we're really going to miss her, Beth and the rest of our seniors next season."

Scharn finished with 128 kills and 325 set assists. Briana also led the Rebels in digs with 222. She averaged nearly 1.5 kills per game and 2.8 digs per game.

Abby Richardson, senior, Storm Lake-St. Mary's - Richardson might have been one of the conferences's top outside hitters if she didn't play setter for the Panthers.

In her dual role of setter-outside hitter, Richardson shined at both. She finished with 283 of 344 setting with 48 kills on 163 of 189 hitting.

She was 200 of 210 in serving for 95 percent. Richardson added ten blocks.

"Abby did so many things well, and she could make things happen on the court," St. Mary's coach Heather Beal said. "She was another steady player who was also a team captain and leader."

Jahde Hammer, senior, Alta - Though just 5 foot-5 in height, Hammer was a strong offensive force for the Cyclones this season. She finished with 124 kills, an average of 2.2 kills per game. She also led the Cyclones in kill percentage with 33.2 percent.

Hammer, a standout in basketball, track and softball for Alta, added 81 digs this season and served a team-high 21 aces.

"Jahde was easily our most consistent player," Henningsen said. "She led us in serve percentage and attack percentage and was also an outstanding back row player."

Sarah Culp, senior, Newell-Fonda - The Mustangs were young at the start of the season, but Culp, a senior setter, helped guide the team to its first district title in a number of years.

Culp helped the Mustangs to tourney wins over St. Mary's and Rockwell City-Lytton before a region semifinal loss to Des Moines Christian.

The 5-6 senior led the area in set assists with 368, but was also an outstanding all-around player. She finished with 35 kills, a team-high 25 ace serves and 82 digs.

Katie Overturf, senior, Storm Lake High - Times were tough this season for the Tornado volleyball team, but outside hitter-setter Katie Overturf made the most of her senior season.

She led SLHS in digs with 208, and was second in kills with 88 and set assists with 147. Like Briana Scharn, Overturf was used at setter in some games, which took away from her hitting statistics. Overturf, a second team All-Lakes pick, led the Tornadoes in service aces with 16.

Overturf was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball, according to coach Kim Johnson.

"She was one of our most consistent players," the coach said. "She has a strong vertical leap and can put the ball down, but Katie was our top passer and back row player, too."

Kacie Woodley, senior, Laurens-Marathon - Woodley, a senior outside hitter, helped lead the Chargers to the region finals this season and a 27-9 match record.

Laurens-Marathon swept to wins over Graettinger-Terril, Sentral, West Hancock and Algona Garrigan before losing in the region championship game to North Kossuth.

Woodley finished with 274 kills this season and added 167 digs and a team-high 75 blocks. She was a first-team All-Twin Lakes Conference pick.

Jill Wedeking, senior, Schaller-Crestland - Wedeking a senior three-year starter, led the Wildcats in the middle this season, finishing with 225 kills, an average of 2.25 per game.

She finished with an attack ratio of 80 percent, adding 25 blocks, and 248 digs.

"Jill was a solid player for us all season," Schaller-Crestland coach Marilyn Murra said. "We could always count on Jill to step up during a crucial part of the match."

Murra added that Wedeking was a strong leader during the season as well.

Kristine Munden, senior, Aurelia - In his 19 years of coaching volleyball, Aurelia coach Tim Ireland says he's never coached a better all-around player than Munden.

She led the Bulldogs with 114 kills and 35 blocks. She was one of the most accurate servers in the Northwest Conference, making good on 151 of 166 serves for 97 percent. Munden also finished with 64 digs.

"She was a player who did so many things well," Aurelia coach Ireland said.

"She was tough in the front and back row and was very durable. I can't remember coming out of game very often."


Kelsey Meyer, senior, Laurens-Marathon - Meyer, an outside hitter, was either first or second in most of the Chargers' statistical categories, according to coach Kerry Feekes.

This season, Meyer was second to Kacie Woodley in kills with 228. She added a team-high 57 ace serves and led the Chargers in digs with 271. Meyer also served 95 percent and added a serve receive ratio of 75 percent.

Bryn Johnson, senior, Laurens-Marathon - Johnson, a first-team All-Twin Lakes pick, was tough in the middle for L-M this season.

The three-time All-State softball pitcher finished with 165 kills this season, adding 55 ace serves, 94 percent serving accuracy and a team-high 67 digs. Johnson also had 54 digs in the back row.

Megan Suhr, senior, Alta - Suhr took over at setter this season from Emily Cameron, who helped the Cyclones to a district title last season.

According to coach Jeannie Hennigsen, Suhr did an outstanding job at setter. She finished with 261 set assists.

"Megan was also an all-around player," Henningsen added. "She could hit and block well and was also scrappy in the back row."

Suhr recorded 35 kills, 26 blocks and 110 digs.

Kelsie Peterson, sophomore, Alta - Peterson made a big jump this season after seeing significant time last season as a freshmen.

In 2006, Peterson regstered 127 kills, 12 blocks and 65 digs. She also led the Cyclones in ace serves with 40.

"Kelsie was a real spark for us this season," Henningsen said. "She hit the ball so hard at times it was hard to beleive she was just a sophomore. Kelsie also did a great job blocking and intimidating other teams' hitters."

Tenaea Jeppeson, senior, Newell-Fonda - Jeppeson was one of the few seniors in this year's Mustang team, as well as one of its top hiters and blockers.

A 5-foot-10 middle hitter-blocker, she was N-F's most experienced hitter. In 2006, Jeppeson finished with 156 kills and added 24 blocks, 84 digs and and 17 ace serves.

Lindsey Siepker, senior, Laurens-Marathon - Siepker had an outstanding year at setter for the Chargers, according to coach Kerry Feekes.

The 5-6 senior improved from her junior year, when she started for the first time.

This fall, Siepker finished with 693 set assists, averaging 7.1 per game. She added 52 blocks, 113 digs and served 94 percent with 32 ace serves.

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