A state championship celebration hasn’t ended for two members of the Rapid City Stevens volleyball team.
After leading the Raiders to a Class AA state title win over Sioux Falls Washington, senior outside hitter Elizabeth Schaefer and senior middle hitter Phebie Rossi were selected to Class AA all-state teams Thursday. The selections were made by the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association.
Schaefer was picked for the first team and Rossi was selected to the second team.
Washington also had two members picked to the teams. Senior outside hitter Lily Bartling made the first team and junior middle hitter Phekran Kong made the second team.
No team had multiple first-team selections, a tribute to the overall strength of the competition in AA volleyball.
The rest of the first team consisted of junior outside hitter Emma Ronsiek of Sioux Falls O’Gorman, senior setter Michaela Jewett of Brookings, junior middle hitter Sophie Tietz of Watertown, senior outside hitter Chelsea Brewster of Mitchell and junior libero Havyn Heinz of Huron.
The remaining second team members were seniors Hollee Niehus of Huron, hitter; Cassiy Gough of Aberdeen Central, outside hitter; Brooklyn Bollweg of Harrisburg, libero and Lead Koltz of Sioux Falls Roosevelt, middle hitter.
The only remaining junior on the second team was libero Tatum Kooima of Roosevelt. The only sophomore to make either team was setter Raegen Reilly of O’Gorman.
Here is a closer look at the first team selections:
Havyn Heinz, libero, junior, Huron (Jr. Libero)
Heinz led the state tournament in digs with 79 digs, and finished the season with 685. She also finished the season with 41 service aces.
During the course of the season Heinz, who has started for the Tigers since she was an eighth-grader, surpassed the 2,000 dig and will enter her senior season with a total of 2,341 digs. She owns the career and season dig marks for Huron.
“Havyn Heinz is a not only a student of the game, but also a fierce competitor. She played behind the shortest front line in AA, thus contended with many different disadvantages than other defenders,” Huron coach Shelly Buddenhagen said. “Her ability to read her own blockers and the opponents’ hitters sets her apart from many other good liberos in the state. She has the inherent ability to make game-changing digs and plays. In addition, she is highly efficient passer which makes a dangerous offensive catalyst.”
Elizabeth Schaefer, Rapid City Stevens (Sr., OH)
Schaefer was one of many options for the Raiders’ state championship team on offense, but also had 27 blocks and 220 digs on defense. Offensively, she finished with 47 service aces and 242 kills.
“Elizabeth has done a great job this season leading this team with her competitive fun nature. She played a solid season as a six rotation player, and her presence was known no matter where she was on the court,” Stevens coach Kylie Voorhees said. “Her opponents found her and always targeted her to try to take her out of her game, but she never faltered. Liz has had a great four years here in the Raider program as a starter. She is an amazing athlete and competitor.”
Lily Bartling, Sioux Falls Washington (Sr., OH)
Bartling was a big part of the Warrior offense that went to the state title game. She finished the season with 420 kills, 31 service aces and contributed on defense with 388 digs.
“Lily had a really strong season for us. She was our go-to player every match and took on that role with confidence,” Washington coach Kelly Schroeder said. “She always stayed level- headed and took big swings when we needed her to. This season she attained both kills in a season and kills in a career for Washington.
“The first one is a huge accomplishment as we had a lot of weapons this year on our team, so for her to break that record shows how important and good she was on the team.”
Emma Ronsiek, Sioux Falls O’Gorman (Jr., OH)
Ronsiek turned into O’Gorman’s big hitting option. She dominated the kills scene and finished with 494, along with 61 service aces and 290 digs.
“Emma is a very gifted athlete who has been blessed with a lot of natural athleticism, but what impresses me about her every day is the way she comes into the gym and continues to set her expectations for herself even higher,” O’Gorman coach Emily McCourt said. “She’s never fully satisfied with where she’s at and is always pushing to find that next level for herself, and for the team. She’s a great offensive weapon for us, and I think surprises teams with the high level of defense she plays as well.
“Emma has an extremely high ceiling as an athlete and works hard every day to push herself to be the best she can be.”
Michaela Jewett, Brookings (Sr., Setter)
The Bobcats found themselves in the state tournament in large part because of Jewett’s contributions. She finished the season with a staggering 914 assists, 393 digs, 51 service assists and 173 kills.
“Michaela’s competitive spirit and on-court leadership played a huge role in our team’s success this season. She is an excellent setter, but what really makes her stand out is her offensive mindset,” Brookings coach Jodi Melius said. “Besides putting up great sets, she is also looking constantly to attack from every rotation. She forces defenses to recognize her as an offensive threat, and that gives our hitters advantages when it comes to blocking matchups.
“Above all, Michaela plays for her teammates. She doesn’t care who earns the point, but she wants to contribute to the best of her ability on every play, and with her athleticism that often means making herself an attacker.”
Sophie Tietz, Watertown (Jr. MH)
Tietz’s defense was part of what led the Arrows to a third-place finish in the state tournament. She had 146 blocks and contributed 247 kills on offense.
“Sophie is a phenomenal athlete and a very coachable athlete. She just wants to better herself and the team — goal oriented,” Watertown coach Rosemary Hirtz said. “Sophie has an amazing ability to block the opponent’s attack. This year she beat the Watertown season record — she finished the season with 146 blocks. Sophie is on her way to break the Watertown career blocking record of 292. Sophie currently has 241 blocks with her senior season yet to play.”
Chelsea Brewster, Mitchell (Sr. OH)
Brewster was the all-around leader for the Kernals, who made an appearance in the state tournament. She had 40 aces, 327 kills, 35 total blocks and 309 digs.
“Chelsea dedicated herself to becoming a better volleyball player this season,” Mitchell coach Deb Thill said. “She stepped up into the go to player role for us in a big way. She is so athletic she could play any position on the floor.”
Huron senior Hollee Niehus earned second-team recognition. She was the ‘go-to’ player in the Tiger attack, averaging double-digit kills in her high school career, with eight games where she amassed more than 20 kills. She ended with 843 career kills.
Class AA All-State
Hollee Niehus, Huron, Sr., H
Phebie Rossi, Rapid City Stevens, Sr., MH
Phekran Kong, Sioux Falls Washington, Jr., MH
Raegen Reilly, Sioux Falls O’Gorman, Soph. Setter
Cassidy Gough, Aberdeen Central, Sr., OH
Brooklyn Bollweg, Harrisburg, Sr. Libero
Leah Koltz, Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Sr. MH
Tatum Kooima, Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Jr., Libero