Here’s a closer look at the 2012 Enquirer All-Area Volleyball Team, as selected by area coaches and the Enquirer sports staff:
Davenport was the centerpiece of a talented Athens team that won 33 matches this season.
The senior middle hitter and four-year varsity member tallied 478 kills, 71 aces, 464 digs and 104 blocks on her way to earning second team All-State honors in Class D. She will continue her career next fall at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.
“Chantel was definitely a key player to our success,” said coach Jacy Nay. “She is one of the best hitters and blockers I have had the privilege of coaching. Chantel stepped up her level of play this year as a senior and it definitely paid off.
Mayes excelled in her role as a middle hitter, providing stellar defense while adding some offensive firepower to a Bronson team that won 35 matches and a district title.
The senior middle hitter tallied a team-best 126 blocks to go along with 286 kills on her way to earning All-State honorable mention in Class C.
“Emily is a very good middle hitter and blocker,” said coach Jean LaClair. “She runs four first-tempo attacks, and is especially effective when hitting behind the setter.”
Bronson has produced a long line of some of the most productive setters in state history, and Ratkowski appears to be the next player in that class.
Only a freshman, the setter recorded 1,251 assists (top 30 for single-season state history) and added 114 kills, 91 aces, 265 digs and 60 blocks. She was named All-State honorable mention in Class C.
“Alexa did a great job coming in as a freshman and running our offense,” said LaClair. “She was a true quarterback of the team, telling hitters what, where and when to hit.”
Ratkowski will go down as one of the best volleyball players in Bronson history, and that is saying quite a bit.
The senior outside hitter was the catalyst for the Vikings, registering 429 kills, 122 aces, 541 digs and 23 blocks. Her 388 career aces rank first in school history and seventh in state history. She was named third team All-State in Class C.
“Kylei is a very good all-around player,” LaClair said. “Leading the team in nearly every statistic this year.”
Outside hitters generally provide most of the offense, but Froberg led Climax-Scotts to 26 wins from her middle hitter position.
The athletic senior led the Panthers with 220 kills to go with 66 aces, 25 digs and 88 blocks while competing against some stiff competition in the Southern Central Athletic Association.
“Fallon is a dominate middle hitter, she has an amazing ability to hang in the air and change up the direction for her hitting,” said coach Amanda Zima. “Having this amazing vertical has made her one of the best middles in our league.”
Outwater had a special knack for defending at the net, but the all-around hitter also contributed plenty of offense to a talented Coldwater squad.
The senior helped the Cardinals win 44 matches thanks to 130 blocks, 293 kills, 126 digs and 37 aces on the season.
“Lauren is one of the most talented all-around athletic players I have coached in 14 years of varsity coaching,” said coach Gene Pensari. “She was our best blocker by far and the best blocker I have seen on any other teams that we have played this year. She is an extremely hard hitter who can also place the ball to the open areas of the court. At times she was so dominant in her blocking that she took the opposing team’s best player right out of the game.”
Spangler already had the kind of prep career most players dream about before she tied the bow off with an outstanding senior campaign.
The middle hitter led Coldwater in both kills (419) and digs (539) while also recording 116 blocks and 34 aces. She was named second team All-State in Class B and will continue her volleyball career at Division I Indiana State University.
“BreeAnn has been one of the finest players Coldwater volleyball has ever produced,” Pensari said. “She not only set league records but also has passed some career records at Coldwater High School… Yes, she was dominant in most games, but her leadership and caring for her teammates made her well respected by all who know her.”
Parker was one of the main holdovers from Delton Kellogg’s 2011 KVA and regional championship team, and helped to keep the bar raised high for the Panthers.
The senior defensive specialist/setter and team co-captain did a little of everything in helping Delton Kellogg win 24 matches, finishing with a team-best 303 digs along with 15 aces, 65 kills and 89 assists. She was named All-State honorable mention in Class C.
“Rachel was the leader of this team on and off the court,” said assistant coach Alex Culbert. “She was always talking and trying to motivate the girls.”
VanderWoude had quite the career for Delton Kellogg, capping it off with a stellar senior season.
The 6-foot all-around hitter and team co-captain led the Panthers in most statistical categories with 326 kills, 64 blocks, 72 aces and 216 digs. She earned All-State honorable mention in Class C, and is committed to play at Division II Upper Iowa University.
“Ali was our go-to person,” said assistant coach Alex Culbert. “As a senior captain, she was a dominate force for this team.”
As the top offensive weapon on a Gull Lake team ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the season, opponents knew what Perri was bringing to the table — but had little or no chance of stopping her.
The senior middle blocker and Miss Volleyball Award finalist tallied 657 kills, 506 digs, 44 aces and 152 blocks on her way to earning All-State first team honors in Class A. She will continue her volleyball career at Clemson University.
“Leah was our go-to player all season,” said coach Karyn Furlong. “She is one of the best six rotation middles in the state. Her quickness at the net makes her virtually unstoppable by opponents. She has a phenomenal work ethic and demands the best from herself each and every day.”
Schau was hands down the top setter in Michigan, and will go down as one of the best in state history.
The senior Miss Volleyball Award finalist recorded a ridiculous 1,526 assists — good enough for second in state history — in leading the Blue Devils to 57 victories as well as SMAC East and district titles. She also had 50 aces, 186 kills, 126 blocks and 425 digs on her way to All-State first team honors in Class A. She will continue her career at the University of Minnesota.
“She is a great leader on and off the court and demands the best from herself and her teammates,” Furlong said. “She makes average hitters look great and great hitters look exceptional.”
Crawford had a breakout season of sorts, leading Marshall to 23 victories and its first district title since 2004.
The junior outside hitter was the Redhawks’ catalyst, tallying 355 kills, 239 digs and 34 blocks on the season.
“As good as Grace is, and every area coach knows her, it still baffles me how humble she is,” said coach John Miller. “Teams would key on shutting her down and she would still average four kills a game. Everyone in the gym knew where the ball was going and she still produced.”
Athens: Valerie Rubley, Teasha Swank, Ashley Smittendorf, Audrey Oswalt, Allison Fuller, Payton Norton and Tara Wygant; Bellevue: Britney Reid, Lexy Spaulding, Taylor Wagner and Dawn Zeeryp; Bronson: Skyler Sobeski; Calhoun Christian: A.J. Moody, Sarah Butts and Kelsey Snowball; Climax-Scotts: Destiny Froberg and Farrah Scears; Coldwater: Morgan Klein, Janie Marso and Paige Holicki; Galesburg-Augusta: Kati Thompson; Homer: Hannah Willson; Maple Valley: Loisa Larino, Timara Burd, Kandys Larsen and Olivia Ricketts; Marshall: Carmen O’Dell; Olivet: Aleena Janousek; Tekonsha: Katie Jenkins and Mackenzie Norman; Union City: Brooke Johnson, Marissa Mead and Jasmine McIntosh.