If champions truly are built in the offseason, Union County’s volleyball team is in a good place following last fall’s historic run to semistate.
Allison Kassens, the reigning Palladium-Item volleyball Player of the Year, became the second Patriot to earn national recognition from prepvolleyball.com this offseason.
Kassens was an honorable mention in prepvolleyball.com’s Top 79 sophomores list, joining teammate Ella Dils, who was a special mention on the top 59 freshman list.
“It is pretty cool. I played with a lot of the girls that were also on it from Kentucky and Indy,” Kassens said. “It was just neat to be part of.”
It’s the second straight year that Kassens earns the honor after being named to the freshman list in 2013.
The list honors the top starters in each grade class in the nation.
Kassens was an all-state first-team selection, led Union County with her 46.7 kill percentage, .337 hitting percentage, 89 aces, 282 digs and was second on the team with 375 kills.
“If anybody is deserving it’d be Allison,” Union County coach Chris Wiederhold said. “She never settles and she’s always working to better herself and her work ethic, her dedication — she’s a good leader, a good role model for the other girls. What can’t you say about her?”
Since Kassens’ freshman year, the Patriots are 14-0 in Tri-Eastern Conference play, winning two straight TEC titles.
They went 26-11 last fall, winning every TEC, sectional and regional match in just three games and advancing to semistate for the second time in three years.
The UC program has won 12 sectional titles, six regionals and 18th conference titles.
“It’s an honor to be a part of that and it helps because we’re such a good team,” Kassens said.
Kassens said she goes to Indianapolis at least twice a week for practice with her offseason club team, plus either tournaments or three-hour practices on the weekends.
“I’ve told the girls and I say it a lot that the offseason is where the true growth happens,” Wiederhold said. “…The girls are just so deserving and I’m very proud of both Alli and Ella.”