Spartans’ Willis selected to all-state second team
Nine area preps earn all-state, all-district honors
AMES — After a bit of a dream postseason, a pair of Grundy Center volleyball players were listed to all-state teams in Wednesday’s release.
Kylie Willis was named to the Iowa Girls’ Coaches Associations’ all-state second team after the Spartans defeated two ranked teams to advance to the state tournament before falling to No. 1 Western Christian in the state quarterfinals.
The sophomore hitter led the Grundy Center volleyball team to a 25-17 record, with the help of a young but talented supporting cast, and led the NICL West Division in kills with 354. Her kill tally ranked 20th among all Class 2A hitters.
Willis also sported a serve efficiency rating of 95.5 percent and averaged a conference-best 3.37 kills per set. Willis was also named to the 2A Northeast District team, just one of three underclassmen to receive the honor.
A teammate of Willis’, sophomore Sydney Mathews received an all-state honorable mention.
The sophomore setter also led all of Class 2A with her 957 assists, 18 more than Jenna Brandt of Sumner-Fredericksburg.
The sophomore setter also led the conference in assists, nearly 350 more assists than second-place Cate Nason of BCLUW.
Mathews and Willis follow former Spartans Katie Lindeman (third-team) and Alyssa Mathews (honorable mention) as all-state nominees. Both Alyssa and Lindeman graduated in the spring.
Despite not reaching the state tournament, Marshalltown’s Regan Mazour also received an honorable mention at the all-state level.
Also a Class 5A West District nominee, Mazour led the CIML Iowa Division with 338 kills. The junior attacker had a second-place kill efficiency rating of .293 and a league-leading 3.93 kills per set.
Mazour was an all-state honorable mention as sophomore as well, and was selected to the first-team all-CIML Iowa Division squad as well as the all-CIML elite team.
In the Class 2A Central District, senior Samantha Ubben garnered the all-district award for BCLUW.
Ubben ranked third in the conference with 2.52 kills per set with 214 kills (sixth overall) and managed a serve efficiency rating of 92 percent. She also led her team in digs with 260, which was good enough for ninth in the NICL West.
At the Class 1A level, both North Tama players Marika and Katie Kopriva were listed as Northeast District all-area athletes.
Katie, a freshman on this year’s Redhawk team, led the Iowa Star South in kills with 219, and was seventh overall in kill efficiency (.188). Her serve success rating of 97.1 percent efficiency was third-best behind a pair of Don Bosco players (Brianna Zoll and Maddey Siems).
Katie also managed 147 digs, which ranked eighth in the conference. She was the only freshmen on the all-district team.
Marika was third in the conference in assists with 240 sets. She ranked just behind Siems and GMG’s Katie Airey. Marik’s mark of 3.12 assists per set was good enough for third in the state as well.
The senior setter tallied 162 digs as well, the fifth most in the conference and most by any setter. She also had 11 total blocks (seven solo), which also was the best among all setters.
Blaire Sonderleiter also received an all-district bid for GMG. The senior hitter tallied 140 kills and had a kill efficiency rating of .280, which was the best among all hitters in the Iowa Star South.
Sonderleiter was third among Iowa Star South players in total blocks (39) and blocks per set (0.53). She also garnered 123 digs, the second-best among all GMG players (McKensie Vaske, 126).
South Tama County was represented academically by Sabrina Holtz and McKenna Knock. The two Trojan volleyball players were nominated to the volleyball academic all-state selection list.
All seniors who meet the criteria of at least a 27 on their ACT or a 1200 on their SAT, and a 3.75 GPA are eligible for the academic all-state selection.