Note: The sports editors of swnews4u.com gathered two weeks ago in Lancaster to select our inaugural all-area teams for the 2011 prep fall sports season.
As a group we decided to pick our all-area teams a little different than other publications. Instead of simply naming worthy athletes to the team regardless of position with no limit on the number of athletes chosen, we elected to build our all-area teams like they were a fantasy team or an all-star team that would actually practice and play together in competition. Therefore, we limited roster sizes and picked the best possible combination of athletes from our six-conference, 27-school coverage area giving us, the so-called general managers, the best chance to win.
Here is our 2011 All-Area Volleyball Team.
OH – Charis Luedtke, Hillsboro, 6-1, jr. – The 6-foot-1 Luedtke proved to be just what Hillsboro needed to get over the hump. The uber-talented German exchange student forever changed the fortunes of the 2011 Tigers when she landed in America in late August. Luedtke, was by far the area’s most talented player racking up 439 kills (5.1 per game), 140 digs, and an area-best 103 service aces. She made 24 blocks and compiled an astounding .469 hitting percentage. Luedtke led the Tigers to a 29-2 overall record, an undisputed Scenic Bluffs Conference championship and a spot in the WIAA Division 4 state tournament. The Scenic Bluffs Player of the Year had 9 kills, 10 digs and 2 aces in Hillsboro’s state semifinal loss to eventual D4 champion Burlington Catholic Central.
MH – Katelyn Hoppman, Southwester, 6-0, sr. - Hoppman was the area’s other preeminent volleyball talent, earned first-team all-SWAL honors for a second straight year and capturing the league’s Player of the Year honor. The 6-foot middle hitter rarely left the court, piling up and area-high 553 kills (6.0 per game), 166 digs, 118 total blocks (1.3 per game) and 75 aces. She had a .378 hitting percentage and led the co-SWAL champion Wildcats (31-3, 11-1 SWAL) to the WIAA Division 3 state tournament. Hoppman had 23 kills and 2 blocks in Southwestern’s state semifinal loss to eventual champion Oostburg.
MH – Traci Kirschbaum, River Ridge, 5-11, sr. – Kirschbaum was named the Six Rivers West Player of the Year after leading the Timberwolves to a share of their first-ever conference title and a WIAA Division 4 regional title. Kirschbaum floored 304 kills (4.2 per game) and 101 blocks, and had 69 digs and 20 aces. She totaled a .435 hitting percentage for River Ridge, which finished the season 22-2 overall.
OH – Kelley Lynch, Richland Center, 5-7, sr. – Lynch was the heart-and-soul of this year’s Richland Center squad, which won a three-way share of the SWC title and advanced to the WIAA Division 2 sectional finals. Lynch slammed 449 kills, had 249 digs, 23 aces and 16 blocks, while hitting .337 for the Hornets (31-8-2, 8-2 SWC). She was also named the Southwest Wisconsin Conference Player of the Year.
MH/OH – Julia Lawinger, Platteville, 5-9, jr. – Lawinger was the main reason for Platteville’s success in 2011. The athletic, albeit undersized junior middle hitter made up for her lack of size with outstanding leaping ability and a ferocious hitting style. Lawinger accumulated 430 kills (4.1 per game), 97 digs, 58 blocks, 6 aces and a .304 hitting percentage for the Hillmen (31-10-2, 8-2 SWC). She was also named first-team for a second straight season.
S – Kate Noble, Lancaster, 5-7, sr. – Noble could hurt you in a myriad of ways, either with her pin-point passing to set up teammates, her leaping ability to slam errant passes or her deceptive ability to flick tip kills over the head of unsuspecting opponents. Noble was named the SWC’s first-team all-league setter for a second straight year, and is also our starter. In 10 conference matches Noble passed out 325 assists (8.6 per game), had 85 digs, 46 kills (1.3 per game), 7 aces and a hitting percentage of .422. Noble led the undersized Arrows to a 30-11-4 overall record and a share of the SWC title.
Libero – Breland Prochaska, Fennimore, 5-7, sr. – Prochaska was literally everywhere on the defensive side of the net for the co-SWAL champion Golden Eagles. The 5-foot-7 defensive specialist made an area-high 506 digs, and astounding 8.6 per game, and served up 17 aces for Fennimore, which finished 25-5, 11-1. The back-to-back first-team all-SWAL selection makes the perfect libero for our team.
OH – Alyssa Iserman, Southwestern, 5-6, sr. – Iserman formed the perfect 1-2 punch with SWAL MVP Katelyn Hoppman. Iserman slammed 314 kills in 34 matches and averaged 3.4 kills per game. She also accumulated 168 digs, 57 aces, 56 blocks and a .287 hitting percentage. Iserman, was a first-team all-SWAL pick this season, had 20 kills in the Wildcats state semifinal loss to Oostburg.
OH – Tess Stecklein, Platteville, 5-10, sr. – An all-around talent, the lanky Stecklein was a key player in Platteville’s run to a share of the SWC title. The senior outside hitter was equally talented at the net (255 kills, 23 blocks) as she was in the back row (304 digs). She also served up 52 aces and had a hitting percentage of .271 for the Hillmen (31-10, 8-2 SWC). She was a first-team all-SWC selection this year and a second-team pick in 2010.
OH – Ashley Flesch, Potosi , 5-8, sr. – The two-time first-team all-Six Rivers West selection was once again Potosi’s best all-around player in 2011, especially late in the season. Flesch totaled 178 kills, 248 digs, 31 aces, 18 blocks and a .243 hitting percentage for the co-conference champion Chieftains (18-12, 11-1 SRW).
S – Kailee Kamps, Belmont, 5-8, sr. – Kamps made our team not only for her setting ability, but also her all-around versatility. As a senior, first-team all-conference selection that split time between setter and outside hitter, Kamps makes a perfect backup for this squad that can fill in at multiple positions. She passed out a team-high 332 assists, made 230 digs, had 100 kills, 17 aces and a hitting percentage of .302. Kamps provides insurance and depth to the all-area team.
CO-HEAD COACHES (Co-Coaches of the Year)
Impossible to pick between the two, we decided to chose co-head coaches for this year’s all-area volleyball team as the coaching jobs both River Ridge’s Diane Langmeier and Southwestern’s Jane Wills were equally impressive.
Diane Langmeier, River Ridge – Langmeier led her Timberwolves to 22-2-1 overall record and a share of their first conference title in program history. River Ridge also won it’s own WIAA Division 4 regional by winning the rubber match with co-Six Rivers West champion Potosi, and came within a sectional final loss to Luedtke and her powerful Hillsboro squad from qualifying for the state tournament.
Jane Wills, Southwestern – Wills led her senior-dominated Wildcats to a 31-3 overall record and a share of the Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League title. After being moved up to Division 3 for this year’s playoffs Wills then lead her Southwestern team to D3 regional and sectional titles and a place in the state tournament. The Wildcats magnificent season ended in the D3 state semifinals with a 3-1 loss to eventually champion Oostburg.
TEAM CAPTAIN (Player of the Year)
Charis Luedtke, Hillsboro, jr. – The German exchange student led the Tigers in nearly every statistical category as a 6-foot-1 outside hitter and almost single-handedly carried Hillsboro to the state tournament.