Elite trio highlights spike squad in 2017

KPC NEWS SERVICE

Two NCAA Division I-bound girls and a coach who happens to be Olympic gold medalist are at the head table for the 32nd annual KPC Media Group All-Area Volleyball Team.

It might sound cliche, but it really can’t get much better than that in northeast Indiana. It will be hard to match this elite trio of top honorees.

Lakewood Park Christian senior Lilly Kruse and West Noble junior Madison Schermerhorn were picked Co-Preps of the Year, and Angola’s Lloy Ball was chosen Coach of the Year for the first time.

Kruse and Schermerhorn are both all-around talents nearing 6 feet tall. Kruse is heading to Liberty (Va.) University after leading the Panthers to their first volleyball sectional championship in school history. Schermerhorn committed to Purdue after staying at a pretty high level in leading the Chargers to a 25-9 record and the Northeast Corner Conference Tournament title.

Kruse led the state overall in aces at 147 and in kills per set average at six this past season for the 18-13 Panthers. She led Class 1A spikers in kills with 546 and was picked First Team All-State in Class 1A by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association.

Kruse finished her high school career with 1,998 kills, 987 digs and 421 aces.

Schermerhorn led the Northeast Corner Conference in kills with 442, hitting percentage at .387 and total blocks with 85. The daughter of West Noble athletic director Tom Schermerhorn made the ICGSA’s Class 3A All-State First Team and received All-NECC honors.

Madison Schermerhorn was coming off a summer where she earned All-American honors in the Amateur Athletic Union Girls’ Junior National Championships. She captained the Impact Volleyball Club’s U-16 team that tied for fifth place in the event held in Orlando, Florida.

Ball is raising the bar for Hornet volleyball. The program has gone from average to a regular in the Class 3A state rankings in a couple of seasons. And it has been done largely with underclassmen.

Ball led the Hornets to a 30-6 record, an NECC regular season championship, and to their second straight sectional final appearance in Class 3A. The losses were against very strong teams in Bishop Dwenger, Carroll, Bellmont, Rochester, Leo and West Noble, and the setter of the gold medal-winning U.S. men’s volleyball team at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics did not allow those powers to be excuses if his Hornets did not play up to his standards.

Ball is 53-19 in two seasons leading the Angola spikers. He is a four-time Olympian and the son of former longtime IPFW men’s volleyball coach Arnie Ball.

Here is the rest of the 2017 KPC Media Group All-Area Volleyball Team.

ANGOLA

Gabriela McHugh, Jr.

McHugh was a First Team All-State selection in Class 3A by the ICGSA after compiling 811 assists, 208 digs, 75 kills, 53 blocks (including 46 solos) and 52 aces.

Cait Snyder, So.

Snyder made the ICGSA’s Class 3A All-State First Team after leading the Hornets in kills with 323. The outside hitter also had 188 digs, 54 aces and 27 blocks (including 25 solos).

Ali Cranston, Sr.

Cranston, a middle blocker, played her role well, collecting 100 kills with a .299 hitting percentage. Twenty-seven of her 30 blocks were solos, and she also had 39 aces.

Ally Lorntz, So.

Lorntz led the Hornets in digs with 353 and in passing percentage. The libero had 295 serve receive attempts with only 20 errors, and also had 48 aces.

Sami Lee, So.

Lee is a big part of the Hornets’ solid young foundation. She was second on the team in kills in 167. She also had 70 digs, 17 blocks (all solos) and 14 aces.

WEST NOBLE

Nina Teel, So.

Teel was third in the NECC in assists with 758 and earned all-conference honors. She has compiled 1,743 assists in just two seasons as a high school volleyball setter.

Tori Miller, Jr.

Miller also made the All-NECC squad after being a key contributor to the Chargers. She was fifth in the conference in aces, and also put down 253 kills.

Lauren Burns, Jr.

Burns was fifth in the Northeast Corner Conference in kills with 255 and was an honorable mention to the All-NECC teams. She has 566 digs in her prep career.

PRAIRIE HEIGHTS

Jamie DeTro, Sr.

This Defiance (Ohio) College commit finished her Panther career with 2,454 assists and 1,075 digs. She had 718 assists, 258 digs and was fourth in the NECC in aces with 73.

Sydney Rathburn, Sr.

This libero led the NECC in digs with 512 in helping the Panthers to a Class 2A sectional championship. Rathburn also put 96 percent of her serves in play (408-425) in her fourth and final varsity season. She ended up with 1,572 digs in her high school career.

Sierra Riehl, Jr.

Riehl was one of the top front row players in the NECC, ranking third in the league in total blocks (74) and fourth in kills (342). She also had 53 aces and was picked to the All-NECC team in her third varsity season.

Grace Levitz, So.

Levitz provided the 25-11 Panthers with needed additional offensive punch. She led the team in aces with 78 and was second on the team in kills with 168.

WESTVIEW

Reghan Heffner, Sr.

This setter was selected to the ICGSA’s Class 2A All-State Second Team after compiling 792 assists and 218 digs for the Warriors this past fall. Heffner was fourth in the NECC in assists per set with a 7.7 average. She finished her Westview volleyball career with 1,153 assists.

Payton May, So.

This outside hitter led the NECC in aces with 87 and was second in the conference in kills with 382. May also had 251 digs and an 87.4 serve percentage.

CENTRAL NOBLE

Meleah Leatherman, Jr.

This 6-foot-1 middle hitter still had a very good season despite missing a quarter of it due to an ankle injury. Leatherman had 299 kills to raise her career total to 974, and had a .310 hitting percentage this fall for the 20-10 Cougars. She also collected 155 digs, 43 blocks, 23 aces, and was outstanding in serve receive, said coach Laura Scott.

Chloe Behm, Sr.

The 5-foot-11 Behm was efficient and dominant at the net. She was a top 10 player in the NECC in both kills (292) and hitting percentage (.242), and also pitched in 53 total blocks.

LAKELAND

Bailey Hartsough, Fr.

Hartsough is a young athlete to watch and was picked to two KPC Media Group All-Area teams in her first season of high school sports. She was a leading player on the Lakers’ first girls golf team and was also selected all-area in that sport.

On the volleyball court in the gym, Hartsough was sixth in the NECC in total blocks with 65. She also had 259 kills, 133 digs, 91 assists and 35 aces.

GARRETT

Logan Smith, Fr.

This well-rounded player made a major immediate impact just like her older sister Taylor did before she carried on her volleyball career in the Big Ten at the Maryland. Logan had 333 kills, 318 digs, 269 assists and 80 aces to help the Railroaders make big improvements in 2017.

EAST NOBLE

Morgan Dwyer, Sr.

Dwyer led the 13-16 Knights in both kills (288) and digs (278). She also had 24 aces and 24 total blocks, and was solid in serve reception with only 48 errors in 322 attempts.

CHURUBUSCO

Rachel Jacquay, Jr.

This setter earned All-NECC honors and played in junior all-star match held by the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association in Indianapolis in mid-November.

DEKALB

Sidney Gerig, Jr.

This middle blocker made the All-Northeast 8 Conference First Team. She had 138 kills with a .205 hitting percentage, 53 blocks and 23 aces in helping the Barons win five more matches than they did in 2016.

Honorable mentions to the All-Area volleyball team were Prairie Heights’ Shelby Fish and Lydia Johnston, East Noble’s Grace Erwin and Payton Butler, Westview’s Gloria Miller, Central Noble’s Kayla Kunkel, Lakewood Park’s Alli Knox, Garrett’s Camden Bodey and DeKalb’s Morgan Spade.

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