City of Burlington lands 10 players on team, Mukwonago, East Troy earn top spots
By Mike Ramczyk
With the Christmas season approaching, it’s time to fill your hearts and minds with a stocking stuffer – the third annual Southern Lakes Newspapers All-Area volleyball team.
The super team features athletes from all 15 of the schools in our coverage area, which includes 15 girls varsity and five boys varsity squads.
Along with staff writer Jason Arndt and correspondents Chris Bennett, Tim Wester, Daniel Schoettler, Dan Truttschel, Michael Hoey, Troy Sparks, Andrew Horschak and Kevin Cunninghman, we scoured the area for the absolute best of the best, trying to come up with a who’s who of area talent.
Tough decisions were made, as the area features three state champions – an area record – in Burlington, East Troy and Catholic Central girls.
Throw in strong boys and girls squads from Mukwonago and Westosha Central high schools, and it’s clear southeastern Wisconsin boasts the best volleyball talent in the state of Wisconsin.
Team success was highly considered when choosing the squad, along with the eye test, accolades and overall impact on his or her team.
Who had that “wow” factor when hitting the ball?
Who struck fear in opponents?
And who could save an explosive spike, no matter if it was mere inches from the ground?
Players who made the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association All-State teams – and the Southern Lakes area had a plethora – were given highest priority.
Please visit www.myracinecounty.com, www.mywalworthcounty.com and www.mykenoshacountry.com, along with @mikeramczyk17, @thejasonarndt on Twitter and the SLN Racine County, SLN Kenosha County and SLN Walworth County Facebook pages for online coverage of the squad.
Sit back, grab some egg nog and a candy cane or two, and enjoy the third annual SLN All-Area Volleyball team!
Player of the Year:
Malik Tiedt, senior, Burlington
See a feature on the boys standout online at www.myracinecounty.com
Coach of the Year:
Jeremy Weis, East Troy
When Weis and his staff first arrived in the 2000s, the team wasn’t exactly winning.
This was only the fourth state trip for East Troy, but three (also 2013, 2015) have come under Weis.
The 1987 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate has a 326-110 record at the school, and the Trojans regularly win the Rock Valley Conference.
His star players this season, Brianna Scuric and Matison Jakscht, were little rascals running around following their older sisters, who were on some of Weis’ first teams.
“Bina and Mati used to be the rat pack, back in the day, following their older sisters to the all the club tournaments,” Weis joked. “They were running around, getting in trouble, their parents yelling at them. Seeing those kids and what their sisters were doing, and just wanting to be a part of that.”
“To have them get their own gold ball themselves, that’s pretty rewarding.”
While several of the good players on the boys basketball team travel to East Troy High School on a daily basis from other districts to play for the Trojans, Weis has been fortunate that the girls volleyball talent pool has come mostly from East Troy.
Each girl lives in the district, and most have been with Weis their entire volleyball careers.
It’s that kind of culture and chemistry, introduced at the elementary level, cultivated each year and perfected on the varsity squad, which pits the Trojans as perhaps the area’s second-best team, behind Division 1 Burlington.
But chew on this, people.
The Burlington Demons, two-time defending state champs in Division 1, only beat East Troy, 2-1, and who knows, if it was a regular five-set match, anything could’ve happened.
It’s a storybook ending for a program rich with tradition.
Brianna Scuric, senior, East Troy
A first team All-State and All-State Tournament selection, the team leader helped lead the Trojans to a 3-0 sweep in the Division 2 state championship match in early November in Green Bay.
Scuric and Katie Winkler combined for 37 kills and a .260 hitting percentage in the state final, after trailing by 15 points in the first set.
The Division 1 Northern Illinois University commit was also named first team all-Rock Valley Conference.
“Brianna is a very complete six-rotation player,” Weis said.
Kaley Blake, junior, Burlington
The first pick from the back-to-back Division 1 state champions, Blake, an assassin of a setter with her pinpoint passes, earned first team All-State and All-State Tournament honors.
She was the talk of the Resch Center, as several media members fawned over her unique ability to take even the most errant pass and somehow set it into rhythm for her hitters, whether it was something quick in the middle or a deep ball on the outside.
The MVP of the state tournament was named first team All-Southern Lakes Conference and All-Racine County.
She will play Division 1 college volleyball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2020.
Blake dished 660 assists, dug 154 balls and fired 47 aces.
Alayna Jansky, senior, Mukwonago
The Classic 8 Conference Player of the Year helped lead the Indians to a conference championship – not an easy task when you consider conference rivals Arrowhead, Waukesha West and Oconomowoc all made it to state.
She earned first team All-State honors.
“She’s an all-around great kid and a force on the court,” said head coach Alison Robins.
The 6-foot outside hitter is the only player to letter all four years at Mukwonago, and was the first to pass 1,000 kills in her career. Jansky earned All-State accolades in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and was named to the UnderArmour All-American watch list.
Jansky and the Indians won regional championships the past three seasons.
She will play Division 1 college volleyball at Eastern Michigan University.
Sam Naber, sophomore, Burlington
Perhaps the best libero in the state, the Marquette University commit was named the Player of the Year in the SLC.
She controlled the back row during the Demons’ unprecedented back-to-back titles and was named to the All-State first team.
She was the Libero of the Year in Racine County.
Naber totaled a whopping 275 digs in 2018.
Katie Winkler, sophomore, East Troy
A true masher when it comes to hitting, the left-handed powerhouse sports potentially the best spike in the area.
Her superior leaping ability and strength generate an immense amount of force on the volleyball, and she saved her best performance for the state tournament, when she tallied a.500 hitting percentage in the state final.
The right side hitter was first team All-State and landed a spot on the All-State Tournament team.
Also, she was named first team All-Rock Valley.
“Katie is a very powerful, explosive hitter,” Weis said.
Winkler has not yet made a decision on her college plans.
Sammie Seib, sophomore, Catholic Central
The Elkhorn resident makes the drive every day to Catholic Central High School in Burlington, and head coach Wayne Schultz and his squad couldn’t be more thankful.
Seib is a gifted hitter, and she helped the Toppers return to state prominence with a Division 4 championship.
An All-State and All-State Tournament first teamer, Seib also was named first team All-Racine County and All-Metro Classic Conference.
She slammed home 573 kills and added 101 aces.
Emily Alan, junior, Burlington
It was a one-woman block party at times during the state tournament courtesy of Alan, an athletic leaper who set the tone for the impenetrable Demon block.
Especially in the state final match against Oconomowoc, Alan combined with Grace Peyron and Cam Lukenbill to form a stout wall of defense at the net.
She was named honorable mention All-State but earned the All-State Tournament first team thanks to her domination at the net.
Also an All-County and All-Conference performer, Alan totaled 219 kills and 50 block kills.
Don’t be surprised if Alan, who enjoyed a state coming-out party in Green Bay, challenges for Player of the Year in 2019.
Maddie Berezowitz, senior, Burlington
A Division 1 University of Kentucky commit, Berezowitz was a member of four state tournament teams, including back-to-back championships in 2017 and ’18.
A first team All-SLC libero as a junior, Berezowitz was asked to play outside hitter as a senior and continued to be the team’s vocal leader and perhaps most versatile player.
The 2018 All-Racine County player of the year, Berezowitz was second team All-State and second team All-Conference.
The all-around athlete, who also starred in softball, finished with 206 digs, 76 kills and 16 aces.
Merit Monogue, senior, Mukwonago
Along with Player of the Year Tiedt, Monogue earned All-State high honorable mention, the two highest honors for boys volleyball on our list.
The 6-foot-6 outside hitter was first team All-Classic 8 Conference for a 23-11 Indians team.
“Merit is one of those special young men that can make things happen no matter where he is on the court,” said head coach Tim Kujawa. “He can hit all-around and has really improved his passing game. He pushes those around him to improve and has matured into a player that holds himself accountable. We were fortunate to have him with us for two seasons.”
Monogue led the conference with 268 kills.
Laura Shoopman, senior, Westosha Central
One of the best hitters in the area, Shoopman enjoyed a long varsity career.
She demonstrated her versatility in 2018, moving from outside hitter to right side.
Shoopman didn’t skip a beat, recording 503 kills thanks to a .294 hitting percentage, 225 digs, 51 blocks and 49 aces.
She was named second team All-State, first team All-SLC, first team All-Kenosha County and honorable mention Under Armour All-American.
“Laura really helped amp up our offense from the front and back row,” said Central head coach Megan Awe.
“She was a player that teams had to watch out for. Laura has grown as a teammate on the court, showing more enthusiasm and joy for each players’ successes, which helped add to our success.”
Shoopman, whom teammate Kennedy Muff nicknamed the Falcons’ hammer, continuously showed a fighting spirit until the end of her career at Westosha Central.
Despite losing in three sets to Burlington in the sectional final, she still persevered, accumulating a game-high 14 kills.
The 6-foot-2 Shoopman, who signed a national letter of intent to play at Division 1 Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, showed a strong hitting game even as a freshman.
Kampbell Hehr, senior, Walworth Big Foot
A decorated four-time All-Rock Valley pick, Hehr earned her second honorable mention All-State nod in 2018.
A Janesville Gazette All-Area selection, Hehr is a three-year MVP and team captain.
“The combination of Kampbell’s work ethic, skill, and knowledge make her an exceptional, standout athlete,” said Big Foot coach Caitlin Dowden. “She was our assist leader (running a 6-2), as well as our kill leader (hitting on the outside and right side). She was a force to
be reckoned with in the front row, both hitting and blocking. She also is an extremely talented setter, who is going on to set at the collegiate level. She runs a consistent, quick-tempo offense, and can see the court extremely well.”
Hehr will take her talents to Division 1 Georgia State University.
Kennedy Muff, senior, Westosha Central
Through her four years, she always placed team above personal achievements, often crediting her teammates even when she captured the all-time assists record at Westosha Central.
Muff said earlier this season the assists record would not have been possible without the support of her teammates, past and present, including Shoopman.
An AVCA/MaxPreps and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Player of the Week during the 2018 season, the tall, multi-faceted setter not only could make any pass on the court, her hitting was underrated and her trick shots were deadly.
Muff was named honorable mention All-State, first team All-Kenosha County and first team All-SLC.
She broke the school assist record with 2,690 assists, adding 174 kills 973 assists, 63 aces and 243 digs as a senior.
“Kennedy is a true leader on and off the court,” Awe said. “She makes it a point to connect with every player in this program and make sure they all know they can rely on her.”
“She brings so much energy and enthusiasm for her teammates and is a player that never quits. She accepted every challenge that came her way, and as a result became a dynamic force on this team. If you have ever watched a match, you cannot help but notice how Kennedy plays the game – pure joy out on the court.”
Muff will play at Flagler College in Florida.
Erin Powers, junior, Mukwonago
A solid six-rotation player, according to Robins, Powers helped the Indians capture the conference crown in a stacked Classic 8.
Powers, an outside hitter, was named second team All-State and first team All-Conference.
Karina Leber, junior, Wilmot
When Leber was a freshman, she already had an intimidating presence, evidenced by her 6-foot-2 stature and state publications took notice.
From the start of her career, prepdig.com rated her as one of the best middle hitters in the state.
Leber verbally committed to play for Division 1 Colorado State University after her sophomore season.
Last season, the now 6-3 Leber, played with intensity, including a 20-kill performance against Elkhorn during regular season play.
A stat stuffer with 282 kills, 26 block kills and 195 digs, Leber led the Panthers in just about every statistical category.
A tri-captain, the future Ram earned second team All-Conference and honorable mention All-State.
“She was our leader on and off the court and any time we needed a big play, she was the one who stepped up and tried to make it,” said Wilmot coach Josh Price.
“Karina worked really hard to be a six-rotation player, and her efforts paid off by improving all aspects of her game.”
Karlee Lois, junior, Union Grove
- Surpassed 1,000 career digs, HM All-State, first team All-County, first team All-SLC, team MVP, 803 assists, 343 digs, 156 kills, 37 aces; 8 serving errors in 384 attempts for a 97.9 serving percentage
Emme Bullis, sophomore, Whitewater
- First team All-Rock Valley, Janesville Gazette All-Area, Division 1 University of Minnesota commit; 134 kills, 243 digs, 91 assists, 30 blocks
Grace Spiegelhoff, senior, Catholic Central
- State All-Tournament team, second team All-MCC, second team All-Racine County, 406 kills, 341 digs, won D4 state championship
Coley Haggard, senior, Burlington
- D1 state champion, HM All-State, first team All-SLC, 231 kills
Grace Peyron, senior, Burlington
- All-State Tournament team, HM All-SLC, All-Racine County, 112 kills, 41 block kills
Abby Gardner, sophomore, Mukwonago
- HM All-State, Classic 8 Libero of the Year, led league in digs, “Constantly improved throughout the season,” Robins said
Olivia Dir, junior, Union Grove
- HM All-State, second team All-SLC, 384 kills, all-county
Sierra Lee, senior, Westosha Central
- HM All-State, All-Kenosha County, second team All-SLC, surpassed 1,000 dig milestone, 299 kills, 405 digs, 47 aces, 107 assists, can absolutely jump out of the gym
“Sierra is one of the most undersized outsides in this area (5-foot-6) and she always found ways to score,” Awe said. “She is a solid piece in our back row and became an instrumental piece of our offense.”
Hannah Powers, senior, Mukwonago
- HM All-State, second team All-Conference, “incredible leader on and off the court,” – Coach Robins
Nicole Pozorski, junior, Mukwonago
- HM All-State, second team all-conference; “Hustles and never lets a ball drop whether at practice or in a game,” Robins said
Matison Jakscht, senior, East Troy
- Second team All-State, first team All-Conference, D2 state champion, Division 1 college volleyball commit (UWM)
Emily Wendt, junior, East Troy
- HM All-State, first team All-Conference, D2 state champion
Jackson Carroll, senior, Mukwonago
- HM All-State, second team All-Classic 8, two-year starter; “His knowledge of the game is incredible,” Kujawa said. “He is mature, humble and has great character. He was the vocal leader of the team. …He has offers to play at the next level.”
Kevin Kessel, senior, Wilmot
- first team All-SLC, HM All-State
Trey Krause, senior, Burlington
- “Trey led the team with 286 digs and passed a 2.63 out of 3.0 in serve receive,” said Burlington coach Mike Jones. “Trey was the heart of the defense and someone I could rely on all the time to be where we needed him and to make the tough pass. He was always a level-headed player and someone I could look to, to keep the team calm in pressure situations. Trey is a two-time first team All-Conference libero, a first team All-County pick and was named to the honorable mention All-State team.”
David Paul, junior, Burlington
- HM All-State, first team All-SLC, first team All-County, 726 assists, 171 digs, 22 aces
“David was the man in charge out there on offense,” Jones said. “David’s knowledge of the game helped lead this team offensively, and David was a great asset to the defense when hit at as well. I look forward to watching David lead this team next year.”
Mariah Grunze, sophomore, Waterford
- HM All-State, first team All-County, first team All-SLC; 333 kills, .311 hitting percentage, 210 digs, 35 aces.
“Mariah was voted a captain by her teammates, which speaks volumes about her knowledge, skill and leadership on the court,” said coach Ashley Ingish. “She was the only player on our team to play all six rotations and was the glue that held us together. Mariah sets the standard in our gym with her work ethic and pushes her teammates to become better.”
Joey Michelau, senior, Westosha Central
- Helped lead the Falcons to sectional final; 248 kills, second team All-SLC
Grace Antlfinger, sophomore, Catholic Central
- D4 state champion, libero, first team All-MCC, second team All-County, 753 digs
Nate Koch, sr., UG; Sam Rampulla, sr., UG; Sam Lois, jr., BUR; Alex Salerno, sr., WC; Twila Dovas, sr., WC; Kayla Cowart, soph., Lake Geneva Badger; Caitlynn Kirsch, sr., Delavan-Darien; Morgan Hunter, jr., ELK; Elaina Pettit, soph., UG; Olivia Busch, jr., WAT; Catherine Yang, WW; Elizabeth Klein, sr., CC; Rachel Mason, sr., Palmyra-Eagle; Miriam Ward, sr. CC; Annika Pfeil, jr., Williams Bay; Kloe Kiekhafer, sr., WB; Ella Kaebisch, sr., WC; Andy Ellingham, sr., BUR; Sophia Foster, sr., BF.