All-Area Volleyball: Seniors dominate All-Area lineup
Lydia Franken (Sr., Cannon Falls)
One of the setters controlling the Cannon Falls’ offense, senior Lydia Franken also was one of the most reliable passers in the area, as well as the Hiawatha Valley League.
A two-time All-HVL selection, Franken goes down in Bombers history as the school’s career record holder in set assists and ace serves. In 2013, Franken tallied 436 set assists, 62 ace serves with a 95.1 serving percentage and 193 kills in Cannon Falls’ 6-2 system. The Bombers finished the season with an 18-10 record, including 10-2 in the HVL.
“Lydia is a fantastic athlete,” said Bombers’ head coach Melissa Huseth. “What she lacks in size, she more than makes up for in her effort and defense. Lydia is quick and a hard worker on the court.”
Carley Henning (Sr., Z-M)
A newcomer to the All-Area volleyball team, Zumbrota-Mazeppa middle hitter Carley Henning helped the Cougars get into the second round of the section playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Z-M’s top hitter, Henning earned All-HVL honors after tallying 214 kills in 71 sets played. She also had 45 ace serves and 63 digs. The Cougars ended the year with a 6-6 mark in the HVL, 12-13 overall.
“Carley has the drive and intensity out there on the court, and that is contagious,” said Z-M head coach Stacy Liebenow. “After a great kill, she lights up the room. She is a smart player and hits the ball hard.”
Hailey Huseth (So., Cannon Falls)
Making her second appearance on the All-Area team, Cannon Falls sophomore Hailey Huseth provided both solid passing and attacking for the Bombers.
A setter/right-side hitter, Huseth finished the year with 344 set assists, 164 kills with a 29.4 attack percentage and 128 digs. She also added 14 ace blocks and 37 ace serves. A two-time All-HVL selection, Huseth’s teammates named her the team’s Co-communicator of the Year.
“Hailey has an excellent work ethic,” Melissa Huseth said. “She is competitive to the core and has great knowledge of the game of volleyball. Her drive and determination helps ignite the fire in her team. She likes competing with her team and will do whatever she can to help her team be successful.”
Mikayla Miller (Sr., Goodhue)
Not only did Goodhue senior outside hitter get recognition as one of the top hitters in the area, she also gained the state’s attention as one of Class 1A’s finest.
Finishing the year with 269 kills, 301 digs, 36 ace serves and 29 blocks, Miller was named a Class 1A All-State honorable mention as she helped the Wildcats to a nine-game improvement in 2013 with a 21-8 record with an 8-4 mark in the HVL.
Mikayla Tipcke (Sr., Goodhue. Player of the Year)
Capping off a four-year high school career at Goodhue, senior setter Mikayla Tipcke confirmed her place as one of the area’s best all-around players as she won the Republican Eagle’s All-Area Player of the Year for the second time in three years.
In her final go-around for the Wildcats, Tipcke finished with 809 set assists, 345 digs, 110 kills and 45 ace serves, getting named All-HVL for the fourth time. She was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player by her teammates and was tabbed on the All-State Academic team.
Tipcke said she hopes to continue her volleyball career at Division III Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Becca Vandenheuvel (Sr., Cannon Falls)
One of the area’s best back-row players, Cannon Falls senior libero Becca Vandenheuvel made it tough for opposing teams to rack up points against the Bombers.
Cannon Falls’ leader on defense, Vandenheuvel finished her senior season with 595 digs and 23 ace serves on 96.5 percent serving. A five-year starter for the Bombers, Vandenheuvel finished her career with 2,120 digs, 73 ace serves and 971 service points. She was picked for the All-HVL team for the fourth time.
Vandenheuvel will continue her playing career at Division II Minnesota-Crookston.
“Becca has been the staple of our defense,” Melissa Huseth said. “She works hard, is a great leader and is a determined athlete. Becca has been on the varsity since her eighth-grade year and every year she becomes a better player. Her senior year has been her best year yet and I cannot wait to see what she accomplishes at Crookston.”
Sydney Book (So., Red Wing)
Red Wing’s Sydney Book may have been listed as a middle blocker, but the Wingers sophomore filled all sorts of roles as the team adjusted to injuries.
Book led the team with 155 kills while also putting up 139 digs, 27 blocks and 18 ace serves. Book also saw some time as a setter after McKenzie Cota went down with an injury, finishing with 44 set assists. Red Wing finished the year 1-25 overall.
Madi Green (So., Lake City)
Giving Lake City a sizeable target up the middle, 6-foot-2 sophomore Madi Green gave the Tigers its most consistent offensive attack in 2013.
An All-HVL selection, Green finished the season with 164 kills and 34 solo blocks in her first year as a varsity player.
Lake City finished the year with a 2-22 record.
Olivia Helmer (Sr., Ellsworth)
A setter/right-side hitter in Ellsworth’s 6-2 system, senior Olivia Helmer helped guide the Panthers to a 12-16 year under a first-year head coach.
Helmer finished her senior campaign with 170 set assists and 44 ace serves, both team highs, to go along with 101 kills and eight blocks on the way to being named first team All-Middle Border Conference.
“Olivia works very hard in the off-season to improve her skills and that showed this year,” said Panthers head coach Nicole VandeBerg. “She has a great understanding of the game of volleyball and as a setter, used this to move the ball around and put our hitters in positions to make plays.”
Madasyn Hofstedt (Sr., Cannon Falls)
Not only did Cannon Falls middle hitter Madasyn Hofstedt put down a great deal of kills in 2013, she also proved to be one of the toughest blockers to hit around in the area.
The 5-9 middle was the Bombers’ most productive defender at the net, putting down 72 ace blocks on the way to an All-HVL nod. She also was fourth on the team with 132 kills, and her teammates voter her as having the greatest work ethic on the team. Hofstedt plans on continuing her volleyball career at Division III Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.
“Mada is a balanced young athlete,” Melissa Huseth said. “She works hard, is very coachable and willing to do whatever is asked of her. Mada is a teammate who always puts her teammates first. I love to watch her play and see the fire in her eyes when she gets a big kill or block.”
Molly Lawler (Sr., Z-M)
Solidifying the back row for Zumbrota-Mazeppa, senior libero Molly Lawler kept the Cougars in contention with her solid passing.
In 70 sets, Lawler accumulated 280 digs, a team high, and also had 27 ace serves and 14 kills from the back row.
“Molly was a fantastic libero. Her confidence has grown and she read the ball really well in the back row,” Liebenow said. “She was quick and led our offense by having such great passes up to our setter. She is a hard worker.”
Emilee Roschen (Sr., Goodhue)
Goodhue’s senior libero makes a return to the All-Area second team after another strong year in the Wildcats’ back row.
Roschen finished her final high school season with 458 digs, as well as 26 ace serves and seven kills on the way to an All-HVL selection.
Honorable mention: Carly Broze (Sr., Cannon Falls); Breanna Gates (Jr., Lake City); Katie Noble (So., Cannon Falls); Taylor Steger (So., Red Wing)
—Compiled by Joe Brown, sports editor