Five volleyballers recognized
After a successful season that included claiming the conference title in the East Division of the Big South Conference, the Blue Earth Area Buccaneer volleyball team now learned they had four players named to the All-BSC list, plus one more named to the Honorable Mention list.
Buc seniors Sofie Blair, Alissa Norman, Lindsey Norman and Madison (Maddi) Oelke were given All-conference honors, while senior Samantha Naumann was honorable mention. Here is a rundown of all five BEA players.
The Bucs’ setter had 618 set assists this season and finishes her high school career with 2,121. She also added 130 digs this season, had 26 blocks, 24 ace serves and 44 kills.
“Alissa has been a great setter and leader to have on our court,” Buc volleyball coach Donna Nawrocki says. “Her quickness, ability and knowledge of the game have allowed her to help her teams have success over the years.” Nawrocki says it was not just Norman’s skill as a setter. “Not only could she distribute a nice set,” the coach explains. “But her ability to defend at the net and back court were an asset as well.” Norman’s outstanding efforts helped the Bucs to a 4-1 conference record in 2017. The maroon and gold also enjoyed team success in the postseason as Norman spearheaded the efforts to an appearance in the overall conference championship match against the eventual West Division winner Marshall.
A middle hitter for the Bucs, Norman had an astounding 217 kills this year. Add in her 226 digs, 94 blocks and 42 ace serves, and she was a versatile player for BEA.
“Lindsey has been a dependable six rotation player,” Nawrocki agreed. “Her competitive nature and athletic ability combined has been a benefit to our team.”
The coach adds she was a power on both offense and defense. “As a middle hitter, her strength has been her ability to read the opposing defense and to run a number of hitting routes along the net,” the Buc mentor explains. “Defensively she has continually gotten stronger as a blocker and as a digger in the back row, keeping many plays alive.”
The Buc outside hitter has continued to get stronger every year at the outside position, in both the front and back row, coach Nawrocki says. Blair’s stats back that up. She had 227 digs this season with 22 blocks at the net, 159 kills and 40 ace serves. “On the net, Sofie has a quick and powerful arm swing, as well as the ability to score points off the opponent’s block,” the coach explains. “Defensively, in the back row, she improved her ability to read the opposing hitter which helped her to defend the court so we could keep the rally going.”
Another middle hitter, Oelke pounded out 157 kills for the Bucs, to go along with 167 digs, 66 blocks and 21 ace serves. “Maddi has been a consistent player for her team out in the middle,” Nawrocki says. “Her game has continued to develop over the course of the last two years, where she has been relied upon to put up a big block, and swing from all positions.” She helped the team in other ways as well. “Maddi is a great passer, and took the majority of our serve receive this year,” coach Nawrocki adds. “She helped set our offense in motion.”
The Bucs’ Libero brought a lot of energy and consistency to the team’s backcourt and service line, the Buc coach says. That shows with her 170 digs and 19 ace serves during the season. “Her serve receive and defensive skill set helped keep our team running smoothly,” Nawrocki says. “Her personality helped to keep our team relaxed and having fun, yet playing hard.” The Buccaneer volleyball mentor says overall this is a very deserving group of All-conference athletes. “It has been a privilege to coach them and their teammates, as well as watch them mature into the players they are,” she says. “A fun group of girls who not only excel on the volleyball court but in academics as well. It’s been a fun season.”