2010 All-Area Volleyball Team
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
At Northwood School, a group of senior girls led the Evergreens to their second straight sectional tournament in volleyball. In Superior and Maple, two young teams played through the ups and downs of a season, but both the Spartans and Tigers look forward to what should be a strong 2011 season.
Joining Ally May on this year’s Superior Telegram All-Area Volleyball team are four seniors, two juniors and one freshman. Team members are listed in alphabetical order.
Also nominated were Superior juniors Marisa Miner and Amanda Larson; Northwestern senior Liz Urbaniak, junior Sarah Miller and sophomore Aliex Friend; and Northwood seniors Ashley Block and Sara Radzak, junior Teagen Harings and sophomore Sarah Benson.
On the Northwood volleyball team, every player is expected to contribute on defense as well as offense.
Annie Block embraced that approach to the game, said Evergreens coach Tod Wise, and was one of the team’s most versatile players this season.
“It’s amazing, not only did she get the digs but they were so accurate by the end,” Wise said. “She was a good back row player.”
The senior led the team in back row digs, with 201 in East Lakeland Conference play, but also contributed at the net for the Evergreens. She ended the season with about 50 kills in conference matches.
Block was named to the East Lakeland Conference all-conference team.
Erica Goettl played a key role for Northwood this season as the Evergreens’ setter in their 6-2 offensive set.
In East Lakeland Conference play the senior had 116 set assists, but she didn’t hesitate to shift to the role of a hitter when needed, contributing 14 kills and four blocks.
Goettl also developed a reputation for delivering clutch serves for Northwood. In many matches, Goettl’s consistent serves gave the Evergreens the momentum needed to make a run.
“She was one of the leaders in serving aces,” Wise said. “She is a good all-around player.”
Goettl was selected as a member of this year’s East Lakeland Conference all-conference team.
As a captain for this year’s young Spartan squad, Ally Keute’s role as a leader was just as important as her role as the team’s libero.
“She is always positive on and off the court and works hard to encourage and push her teammates to succeed,” said Lori Keute, Superior High School coach. “She is a hard worker and always puts forth a solid effort on the court as a player and a leader. She helps to make players around her better.”
Ally Keute, a junior, finished the season with 626 successful serve receptions and 273 total digs — an average of 3.2 per game. She also contributed 45 ace serves and 35 kills on offense.
Keute was named to the Lake Superior Conference all-conference first team this season.
“With her passing skills and huge efforts to not let the ball hit the floor, she helps keep the momentum on our side of the court,” Lori Keute said.
Katy Konczak was one of the few seniors on the Northwestern Tigers team this season, but she certainly made her presence felt.
“Katy is an all-around athlete and was a very effective full rotation player for us,” said Northwestern coach Jamie Stendahl. “She was a team captain this year and the player with the most varsity experience.”
Konczak was named the Tigers most valuable player and was also selected to the Heart O’ North all-conference second team.
She had 133 kills, 10 solo blocks and seven block assists as a middle hitter. The senior also added 113 digs and had 35 ace serves with a 94.6 percent serve percentage.
“Katy is a player who is able to adjust to a variety of situations,” Stendahl said. “Her defense was really big for us in a number of matches to help us stay in the game. She also was an effective server for us, and we knew we’d be in this rotation for a while when she was back there.”
Konczak ends her Northwestern career with 250 kills and 259 digs.
“Katy is a great leader and will be missed next season,” Stendahl said.
Everything about the 2010 volleyball season was new to Jessica Lindstrom.
As a freshman, she had no varsity experience, but Lindstrom adapted quickly to playing at the high school level and averaged 2.3 kills per set as a middle hitter. For the season she had 172 kills with a .175 hitting percentage and 32 ace serves.
On defense the freshman added 43 total blocks and 61 digs.
“With less than one year of volleyball experience, her potential has a huge upside,” Lori Keute said. “Other coaches in the Big Rivers Conference are already impressed.
“She has an opportunity to really help make a difference for Spartan volleyball in the coming years.”
Lindstrom was named to the Lake Superior Conference all-conference second team this season.
With a younger team this season, the Superior Spartans needed time to reach their potential. Toward the end of the season the Spartans began to click, due in part to the efforts of players like Danielle Magdzas.
“She has put in a lot of time and effort to improve her game and it has shown on the court this season,” Keute said. “Her defensive skills have improved this year and that has had an impact on the last part of our season.”
Magdzas, a team captain this year, had 185 kills as a right hitter and setter. The junior also had 53 aces, 39 total blocks and 119 digs for the Spartans.
“She will be one of our go-to hitters for the next season,” Keute said.
At 6-foot-1, Deanna Scheller was the Evergreens’ main threat in the front row.
In conference matches, she amassed 88 kills to lead the team. The senior was also a key piece of Northwood’s defense at the net, joining with sophomore Sarah Benson on blocks to stifle opponents.
Away from the net, Scheller’s contributions were often overlooked, but Wise said the senior played as well in the back row as she did in the front.
“She was also a good back row player,” Wise said. “With her height she could do some very good two-handed passes.”
Wise called Scheller a team leader who, along with her senior classmates, will be missed next year.
Scheller was named to the East Lakeland Conference all-conference team this season.