Welch repeats as KVL Player of the Year
Santa Fe Trail may have won a volleyball state championship this fall, but Lansing High had the Kaw Valley League's top player for the second year in a row.
"I think that makes a statement in itself about her as a player and the respect the league has for her," LHS coach Julie Slater said of her senior outside hitter. "We had a state championship team in our league, yet she was the top vote-getter. Certainly she's one of the best in the state."
Welch led Lansing in numerous statistical categories this season. Her serve receive percentage was 1.97 - a remarkably high number for a hitter. Her 45 aces were a team high. So were her 776 attacks, 375 kills and .385 hitting efficiency. She also was second on the team with 182 digs.
The all-league honor capped a four-year career in which Welch became one of the most decorated players in program history. She was all-KVL selection and an all-state and all-metro award winner in 2004. Her 375 kills this season were the fourth-most in school history and her 700 good spikes were second. Her 17 digs against Iola this year tied her own school record for digs in a match. Teammates Dayna Norwood and Riann Deere also tied that mark this year. She also is Lansing's career leader in digs (630) and points (703), and her 944 career kills ranks second behind Natalie Uhart (1185).
Welch also tied Uhart - the 2001 and 2002 Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year - for most wins in a career. Both players were 132-20 at LHS with a state championship.
"That's pretty good," Slater said with a chuckle. "That's awfully good company."
Senior libero Dayna Norwood also was named all-league. The 2005 season was the first that Kansas high school volleyball used the libero position, a defense-only position, and Norwood was one of the best in the state. Her 238 digs were a school record, and her 17 digs against Mill Valley tied the school record for digs in a match. She also had two matches with 15 digs this year.
"She was just so impressive this year," Slater said. "Everybody that we played the whole season talked about her. The coach usually commented about her, and the people in the stands commented that she was just so outstanding."
Junior Kate Courtney also earned all-league honors at middle blocker after leading LHS with 89 blocks. She was second on the team with 202 kills and 41 aces.
"She was really a nice addition," Slater said. "She gave us a lot of power up on the front row when Casey wasn't up there."
Lansing wasn't the only squad with three players on the first team. Santa Fe Trail and Bishop Ward also had three apiece and Mill Valley landed two on the squad. Those four schools also were the top four in the league. Perry-Lecompton, Piper and Tonganoxie each had one