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Wagner's 'workhorse' Emma Yost honored as Class A volleyball all-state first team pick

Class A honor team selected by the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association

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Wagner's Emma Yost hits an attack during a Class A consolation bracket volleyball match against Dakota Valley on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022 at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic
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WAGNER, S.D. — Wagner High School senior standout Emma Yost has been selected to the Class A first-team all-state volleyball team by the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association.

Yost, a 5-foot-11 senior outside hitter, had 330 kills, 502 digs and 39 aces for the Red Raiders, who were the No. 1 seed in Class A and reached the state tournament for a second consecutive season thanks to Yost’s all-around play. She was a second-team all-state pick in 2021 for Wagner.

“Emma is a workhorse and she developed into a great volleyball player the past two years,” Wagner coach Stacey Knebel said. “Emma understands the sport of volleyball and loves to compete. She is as able to switch up her shots very well as she sees the court and makes big plays. Emma and the entire team became great team players and that’s what brought us such great success the past two years.”

The rest of the Class A all-state first team includes Sioux Falls Christian senior Ellie Lems, Elkton-Lake Benton junior Tevan Erickson, Miller senior Tyra Gates, Dakota Valley senior Logan Miller and Belle Fourche junior Mataya Ward.

Lems, a 6-foot middle hitter, was a top contributor to the Chargers’ sixth-straight Class A state championship. For the season, Lems posted 378 kills, 186 digs and 72 blocks to become a first-time all-state honoree.

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Erickson, a 5-foot-9 setter, made the jump from the 2021 all-state second team to the top honor team in 2022. The facilitator for the state runners-up, Erickson put up 941 assists, 318 digs, 56 kills, 63 blocks and 62 aces.

Gates, a 5-foot-5 setter, paced the three first-team setters in assists, earning her first all-state recognition. On the year, Gates notched 1,040 assists with 299 digs, 75 kills and 41 aces, as the Rustlers took a fourth-place state tournament finish.

Miller, a 5-foot-8 setter, returns as the only first-team selection from 2021 to repeat the honor this season. As Dakota Valley took the consolation title (fifth place), Miller capped her prep career with season marks of 863 assists, 192 digs, 75 kills and 44 aces.

Ward, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, led all first-team honorees in kills with 537 to go alongside 441 digs and 89 aces. An honorable mention player last season, Ward helped push the Broncs to a state tournament appearance with an eighth-place finish this season.

Ironically, Dakota Wesleyan basketball is the most prominent destination after high school for two of the first-team members, with both Gates and Yost set to play for the Tigers. Miller is also bound for the Great Plains Athletic Conference, with plans to play volleyball and softball at Northwestern College.

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Platte-Geddes' Karly VanDerWerff hits an attack in a Class A state volleyball quarterfinal match against the Miller Rustlers on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Second team selections in Class A are led by Platte-Geddes’ Karly VanDerWerff. The 5-foot-10 junior middle hitter had 428 kills, 52 aces, 56 blocks and 355 digs for the Black Panthers, who made the Class A state tournament this season. It was P-G's second consecutive state tournament appearance, with this one following a 2021 trip in Class B. VanDerWerff was a Class B first-team all-state selection in 2021.

“Karly VanDerWerff is an amazing middle hitter,” Platte-Geddes coach Melissa Johnson said. “She is such a huge threat in the front row running many different sets, including her best hit which is a slide. She is also an offensive threat with her back row hitting as well. She is a great backrow player, being one of our best diggers and serve-receivers on our team.”

Also selected to the Class A second team is Elk Point-Jefferson senior libero Alyssa Chytka, Garretson senior middle hitter Logan Bly, Hamlin senior middle hitter Ally Abraham, Rapid City Christian senior outside hitter Olivia Kieffer, Sioux Falls Christian senior outside hitter Peyton Poppema and Madison junior middle hitter Audrey Nelson. Nelson, of note, is committed to play college volleyball at the University of South Dakota, while Kieffer is a USD basketball signee.

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Kimball/White Lake's Dani Deffenbaugh celebrates a Wildkats' point against Burke in a volleyball match on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, at White Lake.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Class A’s honorable mention selections included Kimball/White Lake outside hitter Dani Deffenbaugh. A 5-foot-9 senior, Deffenbaugh had 477 kills, 416 digs and 64 aces for a Wildkat team that went 20-10. It is her second consecutive honorable mention recognition after earning a Class B honor in 2021 when KWL played in that class.

Other honorable mention selections included Sioux Falls Christian sophomore setter Addisen Barber, Elkton-Lake Benton senior outside hitter Rachael Krog, Dakota Valley junior outside hitter/libero Sophie Tuttle, Canton senior outside hitter Carlee Laubach and Baltic senior middle and outside hitter Emma Van Regenmorter.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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