UPPER THUMB — It was a wild and wacky 2010 volleyball season in the Huron Daily Tribune coverage area.
Some teams started strong, but faded at the end.
Other teams struggled early, but came on and produced winning seasons.
Overall, the play wasn’t spectacular, but it was exciting.
Selecting the 2010 All-Huron Daily Tribune Volleyball Team was difficult this season. While there were no area superstars, there were plenty of solid players who deserved recognition.
This year’s first team consists of Bad Axe’s Taylor Breault and Taylor Braun, Caseville’s Rebecca Janke, Cass City’s McKensie Parrish, Deckerville’s Mandy Nichol, Ubly’s Jessica Gracey and Unionville-Sebewaing Area’s Samantha Eisengruber. Breault, Nichol and Parrish are the co-captains of the team.
Caseville’s David Watts was selected as Coach of the Year for the squad, which is voted on by selected area coaches and the Tribune’s sports staff.
Breault’s net play and Braun’s defensive work formed a nifty 1-2 punch for the Hatchets.
Breault, a four-year varsity player, had 318 kills, good for a 2.61 per game average. She also had 38 blocks and served at 86 percent with 28 aces.
“Taylor’s one of the most powerful hitters in our league,” said Bad Axe coach Mindy Breault. “She is difficult to defend because of her height and strength. Opponents always concentrate on stopping her when she is in the front row.
“She’s also a model of inspiration because, although she sat out her junior year with a torn ACL, she still came to practice every day last year and had to work very hard in rehab to come back and play the way she has played this year.”
Breault earned first-team All-Greater Thumb West honors, as well as All-Region and honorable mention All-State.
Braun has been Bad Axe’s libero the past few seasons, using her athletic ability to dig and frustrate many of the area’s top hitters.
“Taylor is a gutsy defender who reads the hitters very well,” Breault said. “She is definitely our vocal leader on the court. She is a very consistent serve receiver and led our team in serving percentage as well. Taylor always gives 110 percent all the time.”
Braun, a first-team All-GTW pick, had 722 digs, good for a 5.92 per game average. She also served at 96 percent with 55 aces and had a 91 percent serve reception. She finishes her career among the school’s all-time leaders in digs with 1,605.
“Both of the Taylors will be greatly missed next season not only because of their volleyball skills, but because of their leadership both on and off the court,” Breault said. “This excellent life skill will serve them well as they continue on to college.”
Caseville’s Janke was a four-year starter for the Eagles, racking up 135 kills, 226 digs, 112 aces and 43 assists this season.
“She was our team co-captain, our on-court team leader and an extremely versatile all-around player,” said Caseville coach David Watts.
Janke also was a first-team All-North Central Thumb League North Division selection.
Cass City’s Parrish is a repeat first-team All-Tribune selection.
The Red Hawk libero registered 468 digs, 48 assists, 41 kills and served at 90 percent with 59 aces.
“McKensie is a strong server, an excellent receiver and an awesome defensive specialist,” said Cass City coach Brenda Sherman. “She has an uncanny ability to read hitters and dig up what they send over. She has great court sense and is a very athletic and smart player.”
Parrish earned first-team All-GTW honors, as well as All-Region and third-team Class C All-State.
Deckerville’s Nichol is the other repeat first-team All-Tribune performer.
Nichol averaged 3.86 kills, 3.38 digs and 0.5 blocks per game for the Eagles. She also served at a 93 percent clip.
“She led our team in kills and blocks for three seasons,” said Deckerville coach Carl Krumenacker.
Nichol earned first-team All-NCTL South Division, All-Region and honorable mention Class D All-State.
In her four years with Deckerville, Nichol helped the Eagles capture four district championships and two regional titles.
Ubly’s Gracey was a bit of a surprise for the Bearcats and coach Andy Gusa this season.
The hard-hitting lefty had 313 kills, 350 digs, 98 blocks and served at a 90 percent clip.
“Jessica led our team in kills and blocks, and she was positive in every situation,” Gusa said. “Jessica really enjoyed playing the game. Her left-handed spike was very hard to read.”
Gracey also earned first-team All-GTE honors this season.
USA’s Eisengruber is the lone junior on the All-Tribune squad.
She racked up 301 kills, 56 blocks and served at a 96 percent clip with 40 aces.
“Sam is a great middle hitter,” said USA coach Teresa Rose. “She can see the court and knows where to put the ball. And for her first year of serving, she was very consistent when it came to our team needing points.
“Sam is a great leader and I am thankful to have her for another year.”
Eisengruber also earned first-team All-GTW honors.
There was no coach who did more with his team than Watts, who guided the Eagles to league and district championships. It was the first NCTL title for the Eagles in volleyball since 1983.
This year’s Caseville volleyball team became the school’s first girls sport to win both league and district championships in the same season. Also, it’s the first time the volleyball team has captured back-to-back district titles.
The All-Tribune second team consists of Bad Axe’s Rachel Breault, Caseville’s Heather Nowak and Maureen Fortsch, Cass City’s Stephanie Leeson and Logan Rowell, Deckerville’s Jackie Guza, Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port’s Ashlyn Albrecht and Erin Albrecht, North Huron’s Sara Clancy and Hanna Selaty, Owendale-Gagetown’s Christin Harris, Port Hope’s Kayla Gust, Ubly’s Nicole Kubacki and USA’s Miranda Fuerst.
Justine Morneau, Bad Axe
Veronica Sauer, Caseville
Taylor King, Caseville
Hayley Buckey, Caseville
Caitlin Reed, Cass City
Megan Parrish, Cass City
Carley Hendrick, Cass City
Shashauna Sampson, Deck.
Kori Nunn, Deckerville
Kaleigh Spaetzel, Deckerville
Brooklyn Foy, EPBP
Erika Matteson, EPBP
Sam Hessling, Harbor Beach
Megan Bischer, H. Beach
Michelle Talaski, H. Beach
Amanda Navock, N. Huron
Ashley Case, N. Huron
Karlie Goretski, N. Huron
Mandy Muntz, O-Gage
Kayla Montreuil, O-Gage
Lacie Prich, O-Gage
Brittany Schave, Port Hope
Kristen Kowaleski, P. Hope
Lauren Peplinski, Ubly
Alyssa Briolat, Ubly
Ashley Kubacki, Ubly
Brittany Forman, Ubly
Maddy Payton, USA
Calie Valentine, USA
Mackenzie Treiber, USA
Chelsey Ewald, USA