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USC girls receive conference honors

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Dec 13, 2020

Despite just having a six game season due to some COVID-19 quarantine guidelines causing some cancellations, the United South Central girls volleyball team had three players who received recognition from the Gopher Conference.

Josie Schumann, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter for the Rebels, was named to the All-Conference Second Team. Samantha Swanson, a 5-foot-7 setter was named to the All-Conference Honorable Mention list. And, Dani Kirkeide, a 5-foot-6 libero, was given the Gopher Conference Sportsmanship Award.

Schumann, a senior, had 70 kills for the shortened season, which was 11.6 per match and 3.18 per set.

She also had 46 digs (7.6 per match, 2.09 per set) and 32 blocks (5.3 per match and 2.09 per set). She also had five aces and two assists.

“Josie did it all for us,” says Rebel coach Joe Kuechenmeister. “She’s been a tremendous presence at the net for the past several seasons, but she took her game to the next level this fall as a six rotation player.”

The coach also noted Schumann’s aggressive arm swing and ability to run a quick tempo attack, which made her USC’s toughest offensive option, and her blocking vision and anticipation in the back row made her a stingy defender, as well.

“Most valuable to our team was her knowledge of the game and her ability to relay that info to her teammates in both practices and matches,” Kuechenmeister added. “She’ll be a tough kid to replace next fall.”

Swanson, a junior, had 17 kills (2.8 per match and .85 per set), 15 digs (2.5 per match and .75 per set), two blocks and four aces.

She also had 119 assists which was an average of 19.8 per match and 5.95 per set.

“Sam did a nice job transitioning from a hitting role last year to being the primary setter in our 5-1 offense this fall,” the coach says. “She has naturally soft hands and quick feet to the ball, making life much easier on both our passers and hitters. Sam did a nice job of mixing the ball around this season, earning her hitters 1 on 1 situations at the net, and keeping opposing defenses off balance. I expect her to have a solid senior campaign after another year of experience in the setting role.”

Kirkeide, a senior for the Rebels, had 47 digs (7.8 per match and 2.13 per set) and eight aces (1.3 per match and .36 per set).

“Dani was a huge presence for us this fall. Despite the fact that she only played 3 rotations in the back row because of how our lineup came together, she was integral in what we were doing whether she was on or off the floor,” coach Kuechenmeister says. “Her passing in both serve receive and defense allowed us to operate in-system consistently, and she was stellar from behind the service line, with a near perfect percentage and eight aces.

More impressive than her numbers, though, was how she handled herself day-in and day-out, the coach explains.

“Dani’s love and enthusiasm for the game, as well as her respect for her opponents, were a huge reason why she was selected as USC’s Gopher Conference Sportsmanship Award recipient,” the Rebels coach says. “She’ll leave big shoes to fill in the fall of 2021!”