Another season has come and gone on the volleyball courts, and although the Golden Triangle area didn’t get any teams to the state tournament in Cedar Rapids, Southeast Iowa had plenty of talented squads. Today we focus on those who played for the area’s small schools.
The SEISC South Division was particularly good this year, and a couple of GTNS area teams, Van Buren and New London, were a big part of that. There was plenty of talent in the north as well, which earned an All-GTNS spot for players from Winfield-Mt. Union, Iowa Mennonite and Pekin.
The 2018 small school team is made up of some of the best volleyball players to see the court this fall.
Coach: Matt Zietler, Van Buren: The always vocal Warrior leader has guided Van Buren to a 50-15 record in the last two seasons with the help of his super-athletic junior class. Zietler is also the girls’ basketball coach and has helped that team win 33 games with the same junior class leading the way.
Captain: Selena Sayre, Van Buren: Sayre’s second selection to the all-GTNS small volleyball team sees her anchoring the squad thanks to 376 kills with a .372 kill efficiency, both of which place her in the top-8 in Class 2A and helped her earn all-SEISC honors. Sayre also had an .899 serve efficiency with 61 aces, 124 digs and 42 blocks. Sayre will look to continue her dominance in the Warrior gymnasium and around the SEISC as a key player on the Van Buren girl’s basketball team.
Hitter: Addie Pry, junior, New London: The New London volleyball team needed a boost this season after losing a handful of All-Conference players last season, and Addie Pry rose to be a star on the 2018 squad.
Pry finished the year with 344 kills, which led the team. She was also one of the top servers on the squad, finishing the year with a .959 service percentage and 46 aces.
Hitter: Mia Graber, junior, Iowa Mennonite: Graber helped IMS into a tie for second place in the Southeast Iowa super Conference North Division with a 6-2 record and 19-15 overall. Graber recovered from a knee injury last season to lead IMS in sets played, kills (245), kill efficiency (.226) and kills per set (2.75) with the help of her teammate Suzanna Yoder, who led the North in digs per set at 5.11. Graber was third in the North in kills and kill efficiency, second in attacks and first in serve efficiency of those with more than 130 serves. Graber led IMS in serve efficiency (259 of 270) at .959 and aces with 42. Her ace total was tied for ninth in the North. She also had 207 digs, seven block assists and six solo blocks.
Hitter: Jenna Buffington, sophomore, Winfield-Mt. Union: Sophomore hitter Jenna Buffington did everything for Winfield-Mt. Union in 2018.
Buffington was the top hitter on the team with 261 kills. She was second on the team with 308 digs, 47 aces and 27 blocks.
Buffington is just one of a big group of sophomores who are leading W-MU into a bright future in girls’ sports.
Libero: Isabell Manning, sophomore, Van Buren: Manning had 553 digs during her sophomore campaign, her first volleyball season that resulted in an all-GTNS selection although she was chosen to the small-school basketball squad as a freshman. The Warrior also had 16 assists and was successful on 350 serve attempts, good for .972 efficiency with 42 aces.
Setter: Kristen Rohdy, senior, New London: Kristen Rohdy stepped in nicely in the setter spot for New London this year. She had a ridiculous 823 assists this season and 339 digs, finishing first and second on the team respectively in those categories.
Rohdy also had a nice year serving the ball, finishing the year with a .956 serve efficiency and 42 aces.
Utility: Haley Gabell, senior, Pekin: This is the third all-GTNS selection for Gambell who was chosen to the small-school volleyball and basketball teams as a junior. Gambell had 219 kills, 195 assists, 257 digs and nine blocks to go with an .871 serve efficiency and 71 aces.
The 2018 All-GTNS small school volleyball team was selected by Doug Brenneman of the Washington Evening Journal, Justin Webster of the Fairfield Ledger and Andy Krutsinger of the Mt. Pleasant News.