Monday, January 24, 2011

End of the Year Banquet

Last Thursday, we had an opportunity to get together to celebrate our season accomplishments one more time. It was a time to reflect on our accomplishments as a team and on the individual contributions made by each player. We had several parents and grandparents join us, and, in the future, we plan to have the banquet on a weekend so even more of our families might be able to join us.

Here are a few of the highlights...

Every player on our team played a critical role in our success this year. Some of those roles were more visible to the casual observer, but every role was important. Here are some of the highlights of each player's role this year.

Bethany Willis, freshman Middle Blocker/Rightside – set the work ethic standard for our team, was driven to improve, consistently put time in on her own and it showed, we expected her to do well blocking and hitting but what was a pleasant surprise was how good her back row defense was, if she continues to improve at the same rate that she did all year, she will do great things in the future

Megan Woodall, freshman Setter/DS – was willing to take on multiple roles, spent a good part of the season focusing on setting and slowly transitioned into more of a defensive role, asked her to make some major technical changes in all of her skills and she worked really hard to make that happen, played in 86 of 122 sets and finished with 1.19 digs per set.

Sarah Steffan, freshman Outside Hitter – knew when we recruited her that she would make a big impact, but did not realize how quickly she would make that impact! Led the team in total kills and kills per set with 350 kills and 2.94 kills/set and added a great dimension to our serving game with her jump topspin serve. And, she did it all with that consistent smile!

Stephanie Quinn, freshman Setter – With 1151 assists, she already sits second on the Berry’s single season record list for assists and that record holder played when the games were played to 30 points. That is a big accomplishment considering that she spent her entire last year of high school/club playing outside hitter and defensive specialist! In addition, with her team best 0.332 hitting percentage and team best 67 aces, she is already in the Berry’s single season top ten in those two categories. And the best part is that she will tell you she still has a lot to learn!

Jennifer Tinnell, sophomore Rightside Hitter – I think it goes without saying that we really missed Jenn’s skill and energy on the court this fall. As a coach, seeing players go down with serious injuries is one of the worst parts of the job, because it is when you feel the most helpless. However, Jenn consistently inspired and encouraged her teammates this fall and still managed to be a big part of our success.

Kristin Hargrove, sophomore Libero – Playing in all 122 sets this year, Kristin did an incredible job in that other color jersey. She finished the season with 4.1 digs/set and as only a sophomore is already in Berry’s top 10 for single season digs, single season digs per set, career digs, and 2nd in career digs per set. What those categories don’t show is how well she anchored our serve receive with a 2.31 passing rating for the season.

Claressa Brekke, sophomore Middle Blocker – Put in a ton of work in the off season to get faster, jump higher, and have a better armswing. It all paid off as she ranked third on our team in hitting percentage with a 0.262 hitting percentage (more than doubling her hitting percentage and tripling her number of kills from her freshman year), also contributed 41 aces and 47 blocks for the year.

Kiersten Hammock, junior Middle Blocker – With a 0.281 hitting percentage, she was second on her team in hitting efficiency putting her in the top ten for single season attack percentage. More than doubled her efficiency from the previous year and had five times the number of blocks with a team leading 61.

Claire Scott, junior Outside Hitter – one of our team captains, took the most swings on our team while also being one of our primary passers, finished with 319 kills (almost double her kill total last year), 43 aces, and 3.12 digs/set (an impressive number considering she only plays in the back row for three rotations).

Erin Godwin, senior Rightside Hitter – our other team captain, the epitome of versatility, Erin played every position except libero during her career and played RS, MB, and OH in matches this year, finished in Berry’s career top 10 in 9 of 12 categories, consistently our go to player in clutch situations.

We also gave out a couple of special awards. Bethany Willis received the Viking Award for exhibiting the work ethic, encouraging attitude, and determination that we value so much as a program. Kiersten Hammock received the Most Improved Award for the improvements she made over the last year. Finally, Erin Godwin received the Most Valuable Player award for the impact she had throughout the season.