By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
This year’s Lady Longhorn volleyball team has a lot of positives to carry over into next season.
One thing, said Coach Jodie Schuller, is the good teamwork and chemistry the 2013 squad developed, and their fight to win every match they played.
“It was a fun season. We did some good things,” she said.
Finishing with a 21-9 record, the best since 2006, Schuller said they had a lot of leadership from a strong senior class of five, all of whom were big contributors.
All of them were at or near the top of some of the season’s key statistics compiled and released this week by Coach Schuller.
Makala Bartels, Kaycee Bubak, Kristen Jussel and Bridget Langin were all four-year members of the Chase County volleyball team. Shelby Jaeger joined the team this year after moving to the community.
“We will have some big shoes to fill,” Schuller said of the seniors.
A look at the statistics showed Jaeger was the stats leader in total serves (348) and, as libero, also led in digs (427).
Bubak was the team leader in ace serves with 47, while Jaeger wasn’t far behind with 38.
Another senior, Langin, had the most assists (343), but fellow setter this season, Bubak, wasn’t far behind with 298.
Offensively, the team’s strength at the net was led by junior MaKenna Ketter, who led the team in kills (259), total attacks (645) and kills per game (3.5).
However, senior Jussel had the second best tallies in kills (169), total attacks (547) and kills per game (2.17).
Senior Bartels and junior Paige Spady proved to be key players on offense this season, too, holding the third and fourth place spots in Chase County’s offensive statistics.
From the serving line, players who bypassed the 100-point mark this season were Jaeger 187, Spady 182, Bubak 163, Langin 152 and Jussel 124.
While the team didn’t record any new records, they were very close to many of them, Schuller noted.
Next year bodes well for the team, Schuller said, with some good experience back in Ketter and Spady, who were starters this season.
She said they missed the contributions of junior Mindy Castle, who broke a finger early in the season, and looks forward to her return in 2014.
Junior Valeria Cervantes had a good year, playing mostly on JV but saw some limited varsity playing time. Schuller said she is very good at the net.
Two freshmen, Taylin McNair and Shaylee Heathers, saw some playing time this season “and stepped up,” she said.
And, it doesn’t hurt to have a JV team that went undefeated, 14-0, this year.
Schuller said season highlights included a good summer of volleyball play, the recognition given to former player Amanda Poppe Johnson, who passed away earlier this year, and late-season wins over Southwest and Sidney after losing to them earlier in the year.
A home finale win over Hershey Oct. 22 was also a late-season victory after losing to them in the SPVA tourney, where the Lady Longhorns finished third.
At subdistricts, Chase County had come-from-behind wins against all three Cozad games in first round play, then lost to Ogallala in the subdistrict semi-finals. Ogallala went on to take third in Class C1 at the state tournament.