Awards presented for ALHS volleyball

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

Head coach Gina Eppen has announced the award winners for the 2003 Albert Lea High School volleyball team.

The Most Valuable Player Award went to senior co-captain Emily Bartusek. For the season, Bartusek had 92 kills, 238 digs, 26 service aces and 15 blocks.

&uot;As a coaching staff, choosing the MVP was easy,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;We looked for a player who definitely complimented players around her, had the best interest of the team at heart, a strong work ethic, and a positive attitude.&uot;

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Senior Danielle Rankin, another co-captain, was the Offensive Award recipient. Rankin led the 2003 Tigers with 169 kills, a kill percentage of 34.5 and perfect passes off serve receive. She had 24 aces, 216 digs and 24 blocks.

&uot;In game situations, when we needed a ball hit, we were confident in sending the ball to Danielle,&uot; said Eppen.

The Defensive Award went to senior Jenna Brackey, who led the Tigers with 264 digs and serve receive at 89.9 percent. She had 28 blocks.

&uot;Jenna is a defensive player who anticipates well and reads on defense,&uot; said Eppen.

Senior Laura Jackson was the Most Improved Player.

&uot;Laura quietly accepted her role on this team very well,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;She consistently asked me what she needed to do to get more playing time and listened to my suggestions. Coming off a JV season where she maybe didn’t see as much court time as she would have hoped, she took initiative and attended summer practices regularly and went to camp. She plays volleyball for all the right reasons and enjoys her time with her teammates.&uot;

The Tiger Award went to Heather Stegenga, who totaled 50 kills, 159 digs, 15 aces and 64 blocks.

&uot;Heather always came to practice with a smile that was contagious, said Eppen. &uot;She stayed positive while on the court and on the bench this year. I sometimes have to talk to players about their body language when getting subbed off the court. Heather was always supportive and positive.&uot;

The Pat Nelson Memorial Award, given to the player who possesses solid athletic ability, a positive attitude, and a dedication to the volleyball program, went to Katie Brackey. She had 25 kills, 206 assists, 183 digs, 22 aces and 22 blocks.

&uot;Always looking to the coaches for direction, Katie helped lead our team both offensively and defensively,&uot; said Eppen. &uot;She learned a new rotation quickly and ran with it. Always cheering and keeping her teammates up on game nights and working hard in practice, she displayed maturity and selflessness throughout the season.&uot;

Captains Awards were given to Brittany Buckmaster, Rankin and Bartusek.

Amber Edwards was named to the All-Big Nine Conference team while Jenna and Katie Brackey received honorable mention.

Earning varsity letters were Ali Blenka, Bartusek, Buckmaster, Jenna Brackey, Katie Brackey, Jackson, Edwards, Stegenga, Rankin and Ashley Olson.

Junior varsity award winners: Defensive Award, Brooke Woitas; Offensive Award, Stacy Schlobohm; Most Improved, Katherine Ladwig; Tiger Award, Elise Austad.

B-squad award winners: Defensive Award, Alli Arnold; Offensive Award, Ellie Holmen; Most Improved, Melissa Sather; Tiger Award, Seri Johnson.

Ninth-grade award winners: Defensive Award, Chandra Hundley; Offensive Award, Tatum Roberts; Most Improved, Ahna Plantage; Tiger Award, Mariah Howe.