Volleyball players receive postseason accolades

By 
Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
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Josie Thomas

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Kyndra Long

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Chase Cunningham

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Lanie Powell

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Rane Sager

Five local volleyball players have been named to the MHSA District 11C All-Conference and All-State teams.

Four Gardiner players received accolades after leading the Bruins to a regular season conference championship and falling just one game shy of the state tournament.

Senior middle blocker Kyndra Long was named first-team All-Conference and All-State. Long was All-Conference last season as well and has played a large role during her career at Gardiner, Bruins head coach Carmen Harbach said.

“Kyndra’s been a four-year contributor for the team, so she’s had a big impact ever since she’s been a freshman,” Harbach said. “She’s just a real versatile player that is a force in the front row, but what’s kind of overlooked is her defense, she plays really good defense, just has a quick reaction to the ball and really does a good job in the back row as well. She’s a good all-around player.”

Long plans to continue her volleyball career at Rocky Mountain College next season.

Junior outside hitter Josie Thomas was also named first-team All-Conference and All-State. Thomas’ strength at the net tends to overshadow her strong play in the back row, Harbach said.

“Josie really is a strong allaround player,” she said. “She’s mostly noticed for her front row play because she’s got a tremendous hit and she’s very versatile. She’s willing to try new things, she’s always wants to run different options, so she’s always on the setter to make sure they’re trying different options. She’s a great server, she has a real lethal jump serve and she’s strong in the back row, too. Just a great kid to have on the floor because she knows what’s going on and she loves this game, she’s passionate about it.”

Junior setter Chase Cunningham was another addition to the firstteam All-Conference and All-State teams. After battling injuries in the offseason, Cunningham came on strong this season for the Bruins, Harbach said.

“She started setting last year as a sophomore and really grew into her own,” she said. “She ended up running a five-one for us, she ran the offense and she’s not afraid to set different sets. She’s not afraid to jump up and try to get those tight balls out of the net. I’m really proud that she got recognized for her efforts.”

Senior libero Lanie Powell was named second-team All-Conference for the Bruins. Powell just missed first-team honors, but her value is not lost on Harbach.

“She was right on the edge of making first team,” Harbach said. “Ever since she was little, in elementary and junior high, she’s always been so coordinated and so strong. Having her at the libero spot really shore up our defense and made sure that we can get a good pass to the setter. To me, she’s invaluable in the back row and just knowing that she’s back there and knowing that she has control of the back row. It’s invaluable to any volleyball team.”

Shields Valley had a lot of youth on their team this season, but senior libero Rane Sager led the team on her way to earning a second-team All-Conference nod.

Rebels head coach Shannon Jenkins said Sager was a strong leader and a major part of the team.

“(Sager is) a great leader, on and off the court. (She’s) always charismatic, and last but not least, a very talented athlete,” Jenkins said in a message Wednesday morning. “She was a key ingredient to keeping our team afloat. (She’s a) consistent server and just a solid passer. The digs she recovered were unbelievable at times!.”

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