ALL-USA Volleyball Coach of the Year: Zach Young, Lafayette (Wildwood, Mo.)

ALL-USA Volleyball Coach of the Year: Zach Young, Lafayette (Wildwood, Mo.)

ALL-USA

ALL-USA Volleyball Coach of the Year: Zach Young, Lafayette (Wildwood, Mo.)

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The 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Volleyball team was selected based on in-season performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.  The ALL-USA Coach of the Year is Zach Young from Lafayette High School (Wildwood, Mo.).

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PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lexi Sun, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach, Calif.)

LOOKBACK: ALL-USA Preseason Volleyball Team

Zach Young (Photo: Wildwood Middle School)

Zach Young (Photo: Wildwood Middle School)

Without one big-time player to rely on this season, Lafayette (Wildwood, Mo.) used its family atmosphere to power through to a Missouri record sixth consecutive state championship, breaking a record the Lancers shared with Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis), which won five state titles in a row from 1983-87.

And leading that Lafayette family is head coach Zach Young, who won his fifth state title in his five years coaching the Lancers.

Lafayette (33-6-1) lost only once in its final 24 matches, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Francis Howell (St. Charles, Mo.) on Oct. 13. Just 16 days later, the Lancers got another shot at Howell in the Class 4 state final. Lafayette dropped the first set of the best-of-three match and trailed 23-20 in the second set before rallying for a scintillating 20-25, 27-25, 25-21 victory.

“Lafayette didn’t win six titles in a row without having composure,” Howell coach Stacey Smith told stltoday.com. “Zach is an amazing coach and he made amazing alterations throughout the game.”

Staciana Stock, a sophomore, led the Lancers with 16 kills in the match. Senior captains Merry Gebel (13 kills), Hannah Flowers (11 kills) and Emilie Orlando (39 assists) also did their part to ensure their final prep match ended in victory.

“We didn’t have that big-name superstar that some other teams did,” said Young, 37, who was an All-American setter at Lindenwood (Mo.) University where he played for, and coached with, his father, Ron. “But we had a lot of great players with a ton of heart, unity, perseverance and trust.”

Those players were challenged the entire year. Before the season even started, junior setter Ala Blaszczyk was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma — now in remission — ending her year before it even began. And on Sept. 5, Young made room for some additions to his other family as his wife, Jill, gave birth to triplets Daniel, Matthew and Hope who joined older sister, Leah, 3.

Young stepped away from the team for a few weeks, leaving the Lancers in the hands of assistant coaches Kim Aschoff, Steve Burkhard and Sue Tillery — Burkhard was the head coach in 2011 when Lafayette started its record run of state titles. Once Young returned to the sideline, the Lancers really took off, culminating in title No. 6.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by phenomenal players, great parents in the program, the best assistant coaches you would ever want to work with and amazing family support,” Young said. “This season was special.”

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