2011 All-Area Volleyball First Team2011 All-Area Volleyball First Team
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Becca Vandenheuvel, sophomore, Cannon Falls
Cannon Falls sophomore Becca Vandenheuvel continued her stellar play in her third years as a starter for the Bombers. She led the team with 409 digs from her libero position and 17 ace serves.
“Becca is a work horse,” Cannon Falls head coach Melissa Huseth said. “She gives 100 percent all the time.”
Vandenheuvel received Hiawatha Valley League All-Conference honors for the second-straight season and was also voted Bombers’ Co-MVP.
“She has been playing varsity since she was in 8th grade and has become someone her teammates can count on,” Huseth said. “She plays with intensity and shows a true love of the game.”
Abbey Ristow, senior, Ellsworth
Senior Abbey Ristow piled up the kills for the Panthers en route to first team all-conference honors in the Middle Border Conference. Ristow led the team with 301 kills and 51 blocks.
“She is the first one to and the last one to leave practice,” Ellsworth head coach Tanya Powers said. “She is a true leader in every sense of the word. This was her year to shine and she did not disappoint.”
Ristow was also named team Most Valuable Player and contributed 34 ace serves.
“She came in this year determined to be the ‘go to girl,’” Powers said. “She was my most consistent player. You could always count on her to have her game face on and when the whistle blew she was good to go. She will be truly missed next year.”
Erica Tipcke, senior, Goodhue
Tipcke continued to improve over her three years playing varsity for the Wildcats and her final season was the climax to a great career. Tipcke led Goodhue with 230 kills and 50 blocks from her middle position.
“Erica is a player who was always up to the challenge,” Goodhue head coach Andy Kimball said. “Over the years, she has been asked to play several different positions on the team. She was able to better her statistics each year in a way that was not selfish and with the team in mind.”
Tipcke also contributed 27 ace serves and was named an all-conference player for the second consecutive season in the Hiawatha Valley League.
“She played at her best when the really needed it most, and doing so without trying to do too much,” Kimball said.
Few middles were better than Tipcke was this year.
Katie Stegora, senior, Red Wing
Recovering from a serious knee injury is never easy but Stegora made it look that way in her senior season for the Wingers. As the team’s setter and co-captain, Stegora led Red Wing with 376 set assists and was second on the team with 26 ace serves.
“After what she went through, no one deserves awards more than Katie,” Wingers head coach Neal Newman said.
Stegora also made an impact with her ability to tip the ball and contributed 72 kills. Newman described her as “steady.”
“Katie is very athletic,” Newman said. “She’s extremely unselfish. She always tries to make her teammates better.”
Stegora’s performance this season garnered her all-conference honors in the Missota Conference.
Ashley Hinsch, senior Zumbrota-Mazeppa
Despite missing time after reinjuring her shoulder against Goodhue on Oct. 4, Hinsch still put together a great statistical season. She was an all-around player for the Cougars, piling up 242 set assists, 132 kills, 181 digs, 12 ace serves and 21 ace blocks.
“She is a girl that is never satisfied with her abilities,” Zumbrota-Mazeppa head coach Stacy Liebenow said. “She will stay after practice to work on things and she is the type of girl any coach would love to work with.”
Hinsch was named Republican Eagle Player of the Year in 2009 and shoulder surgery derailed her 2010 season. She received Hiawatha Valley League All-Conference honors in 2011.
“She is smart, reads the court well and excels in all areas of volleyball,” Liebenow said. “She not only works hard but has a great attitude and brings quirkiness to the team.”
Hinsch signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth next year.