Kaw Valley coaches laud 3 from LHS
Lang, Delinger, Deere land on All-KVL volleyball squad
Only one volleyball team in the Kaw Valley League piled up more victories this season than Lansing High.
That team was Tonganoxie. The Chieftains (31-9) landed a league-best four players on the All-Kaw Valley League team. Three players from Lansing's 26-10 squad made the 14-player first-team as well. Those players - seniors Riann Deere and Jessie Delinger and junior Brittney Lang - all were first-time league honorees.
'I was very happy," LHS coach Julie Slater said of the recognition her players received. "That just shows the respect the other coaches have for our team and our girls. I think they showed that by picking them.
"They only picked 14. We got three, Santa Fe got three and Tongie got four. That's 10 between those three schools, so that's kind of a big dang deal."
Deere switched from outside hitter to libero this season to fill the void left by current University of Lamar player Dayna Norwood. Deere handled the adjustment admirably, Slater said. She notched 235 digs this season, three shy of Norwood's school record for a libero.
Deere's contribution was greater than stats, Slater said. She was the team's spark plug and an enthusiastic leader.
"About halfway through the season she just took over the back row, and that's what you have to do in that position," Slater said. "You have to take charge back there. She did, and our team started performing much better when she did that."
Delinger also provided positive leadership, and she was the Lions' offensive leader with 252 kills.
"Jessie was pretty much our go-to hitter," Slater said. "She's pretty explosive and dynamic, and she just did an awesome job."
Lang was arguably Lansing's most versatile player this season. She pounded 195 kills but also was the Lions' leading blocker. She was the only sophomore to make the All-League team, a feat that Slater said "speaks for itself."
"She's a 'wow' player," Slater said. "When she hit it, everybody in the gym knew it. She's just an incredible athlete, and the league recognizes her for the athlete that she is."
Senior Kate Courtney, an All-KVL selection last year at middle blocker, was left off the KVL team this season. Courtney wasn't expected to replicate the league honors this year, however, because she played the entire season with a stress fracture in her back.
"I did feel bad about Kate, but she just did the best she could and we're very proud of the way she was able to play for us," Slater said. "I have a lot of respect for her doing that because she was pretty much in pain her entire senior season."
Other players on the All-KVL team are: Ali Pistora, Tracie Hileman, Sami Franiuk and Rachel Bogard, Tonganoxie; Brooke Pryor, Emily Forbes and Tori Rutter, Santa Fe Trail; Amanda Uzelac and Caitlyn McCall, Piper; Kaitlen Stacy, Mill Valley; Caitlyn Muder, Bishop Ward. Honorable mention selections are: Chelsey Patton, Basehor; Cecilia Stump, Bishop Ward; Christina Delladio, Bonner Springs; Megan McDonald, Mill Valley; Lauren Ford, Immaculata; Terra Gauger, Perry.