The teams claiming the five of the top six spots in last month’s South Dakota State Class A Volleyball Tournament each placed one athlete on the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association all-state team.
Abby Glanzer of Sioux Falls Christian, Ally Beresford of Dakota Valley, Kadye Fernholz of Miller, Grace Nelson of Madison, Morgan Hammerbeck of Winner and Abby Brunsing of Wagner were honored with first-team selections.
Fernholz and Hammerbeck are repeat selections from last season, with Fernholz also earning first-team honors in 2017 and second-team honors in 2016.
While Fernholz again put up impressive numbers — 509 kills, .441 attack percentage, 32 ace serves, 70 blocks, 46 assists and 389 digs — the Kansas State recruit made her biggest impact for Miller with her leadership.
“It was her leadership, on and off the court,” said Linda DeBoer, head coach of the third place Miller Rustlers. “Her physical talent, her athletic ability has always been there. But she gave us the leadership we needed.”
One of the things that helped make the 6-1 senior middle hitter a leader for the Rustlers was her willingness to celebrate others’ successes more than her own.
“She’s a pretty humble kid about her own feats,” DeBoer said. “When someone else excels, she gets so happy for them.”
Leadership was also a big addition to the arsenal of Hammerbeck. The 6-0 senior outside hitter finished the season with 379 kills, 45 ace serves and 261 digs, but provided so much more for the Warriors.
“She really stepped up as a leader,” said Winner head coach Jaime Keiser, whose team placed sixth at state. “It made her a better all-around player, in part because she had to take that leadership role.”
Part of that leadership role for the Black Hills State basketball recruit has been the energy she brought to practice, Keiser said.
“She has the enthusiasm and the work ethic,” Keiser said. “She is a special all-around athlete.”
Sparking the offense from the setter position put Beresford on the first team. The University of Sioux Falls volleyball recruit finished the season with 148 kills, 737 assists, 61 ace serves, 126 digs and 32 blocks.
“She’s the best setter in the state. Her jump-sets are what sets her apart from the others,” said Dakota Valley head coach Mary Miller, whose team finished second at state. “She has a high volleyball IQ. She’s like a coach on the floor.”
Though she is only 5-7, Beresford proved herself as a threat in the front row.
“When she is setting in the front row, she becomes even more dynamic,” Miller said. “She had middle blockers stymied. If they didn’t block her, she’d send it over. If they did, she’d set it to the outside.”
Nelson proved herself a dangerous two-way threat for Madison. The 5-11 setter and middle hitter posted 335 kills, 54 ace serves, 915 assists, 67 blocks and 277 digs as the Bulldogs placed fifth at state. Nelson didn’t take up setting until before her junior year.
“She told me she was willing to fill any role she could to make our team successful, so she put in a ton of time that spring and summer to be ready to set while she was in the back row and hit in the front row playing middle,” said Madison head coach Jill Kratovil. “She was in a unique role because most middles are not your setters on the court, but she rose to the challenge and exceeded my expectations.”
Nelson is not afraid of a challenge off the court, either. While she is undecided on a college, her plan is to attend law school after graduating college.
“I am not only proud of her accomplishments throughout her high school volleyball career but everything she has accomplished off the court as well,” Kratovil said. “She will do great things in her future.”
Glanzer continued a tradition of strong hitters for perennial power Sioux Falls Christian, posting 301 kills, 37 ace serves, 32 blocks and 245 digs.
“She’s a great all-around player who makes an impact in front and back,” said Darci Wassenaar, head coach of the three-time defending champion Chargers. “She jumps so well that she’s able to attack over the top of the block.”
The 5-9 junior outside hitter will play a key role as the Chargers go for a fourth straight title next season. Sioux Falls Christian has won eight of the last 10 Class A crowns.
“She’s a great team player, and her focus in life is tremendous,” Wassenaar said. “I’m excited to have her back again.”
Though Wagner was denied a state tournament berth, Brunsing powered the Red Raiders to within a victory of a trip to state. The 5-10 junior outside hitter finished the season with 419 kills, 30 ace serves, 30 blocks and 354 digs.
“Abby has the energy to carry the team through any sort of momentum shift,” said Wagner head coach Amy Tyler. “She was our ‘terminator’ this year. It was hard to stop her.”
While the junior was an offensive force, she also put the work into becoming a six-rotation player.
“She works really hard every day on her defense and serve-receive,” Tyler said.
Second-team honors went to seniors Emily Bies of McCook Central-Montrose, Katelyn Chytka of Elk Point-Jefferson, Nicole Marzahn of Groton Area, Caitlyn Pruse of Sioux Falls Christian and VonnaGail Schlechter, as well as Winner sophomore Ellie Brozik. Schlechter repeated as a second-team selection. Pruis was an honorable mention pick a year ago.
Honorable Mention honors went to seniors Aleah Ries and Abigail Van Ruler, both of McCook Central-Montrose; juniors Abby Brooks of Madison, Riley Freeland of Rapid City Christian and Kelsi Heard of Sioux Falls Christian; and freshman Lizzie Tyler of Wagner.
CLASS A ALL-STATE TEAM
As selected by the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association
Ally Beresford, Sr., 5-7, S, Dakota Valley — 148 kills, 737 assists, 61 ace serves, 126 digs, 32 blocks
Abby Brunsing, Jr., 5-10, OH, Wagner — 419 kills, 30 ace serves, 30 blocks, 354 digs
Kadye Fernholz, Sr., 6-1, MH, Miller — 509 kills, .441 attack percentage, 32 ace serves. 70 blocks, 46 assists, 389 digs
Abby Glanzer, Jr., 5-9, OH, S.F. Christian — 301 kills, 37 ace serves, 32 blocks, 245 digs
Morgan Hammerbeck, Sr., 6-0, OH, Winner — 379 kills, 45 ace serves, 261 digs
Grace Nelson, Sr., 5-11, S/MH, Madison — 335 kills, 54 ace serves, 915 assists, 67 blocks, 277 digs
Emily Bies, Sr., 5-7, S, McCook Central-Montrose — 50 kills, 52 ace serves, 618 assists, 273 digs
Ellie Brozik, So., 5-8, OH, Winner — 329 kills, 49 ace serves, 29 blocks, 296 digs
Katelyn Chytka, Sr., 5-1, L, Elk Point-Jefferson — 15 ace serves, 869 digs
Nicole Marzahn, Sr., 5-9, OH, Groton Area — 428 kills, 42 ace serves, 328 digs
Caitlyn Pruis, Sr., 5-9, MH, S.F. Christian — 261 kills, 41 ace serves, 64 blocks, 158 digs
VonnaGail Schlecter, Sr., 5-7, OH, Miller — 275 kills, 23 ace serves, 42 blocks, 310 digs
Abby Brooks, Jr., 6-2, MH, Madison — 379 kills, 170 blocks, 74 digs
Riley Freeland, Jr., 6-0, S, R.C. Christian — 73 kills, 54 ace serves, 497 assists, 40 blocks, 181 digs
Kelsi Heard, Jr., 5-9, S, S.F. Christian — 51 kills, 26 ace serves, 831 assists, 27 blocks, 186 digs
Aleah Ries, Sr., 5-6, OH, McCook Central-Montrose — 203 kills, 41 ace serves, 284 digs
Lizzie Tyler, Fr., 5-5, OH, Wagner — 213 kills, 57 ace serves, 350 digs
Abigail Van Ruler, Sr., 6-2, MH, McCook Central-Montrose — 289 kills, 41 ace serves, 74 blocks, 64 digs