Historic volleyball team and players earn several nods
Fresh off the most successful season in Caledonia volleyball history, the Warriors have added some notable recognition to their resume as five players have brought home all-conference recognition and two of them have earned all-state honors.
Maria Fruechte, Emma Lange, Taylor Winjum, Maddy Mullins and Lottie Augedahl were all named to the Three Rivers Conference all-conference squad. Fruechte, Lange and Winjum were all-conference first-team picks, while Mullins and Augedahl were named to the honorable mention team. Lange and Fruechte were also named to the all-state squad, the first time that Caledonia has had a player or players on that team.
Fruechte was also named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armor All-American Honorable Mention squad as one of the top 100 players in the country, and along with Lange was also a 2012 Academic All-State pick.
Fruechte broke the single season kill mark of 376, formally held by Amber Sorenson with 443 kills and also broke the career kill record of 1,071 – also formally held by Sorenson – with 1,088 kills.
“Maria is a special kid who worked every day of her volleyball career to get where she is today. Her passion for the word effort is unparalleled. She is a strong team captain who showed exceptional leadership skills and made great choices outside of volleyball and always found time for the younger kids and players who looked up to her,” Coach Scott Koepke said.
“She has left a lasting impression on this volleyball program that will carry on for years. Iowa State is getting not only a great volleyball player but a very special person,” Koepke added.
Lange broke the career service ace record of 177 formally held by Alecia Fruechte with 256 aces
She also broke the single season kill mark of 376 formally held by Amber Sorenson with 405, which leaves her at second all-time to Fruechte.
“Emma is a special kid who worked very hard on all aspects of her game,” Koepke said. “Emma has a very strong passing and defensive game, which is not always found in girls her size. Her attacking skills are ridiculous, and she hits the slide with devastating power line or cross. She was very fun to watch. Emma kept working hard as the year went on particularly on her blocking and serving. Her serving was on display during the section finals and state tournament showing how tough she can make it on the other team. After her surgery I was very proud of how she overcame adversity and took the challenges that were ahead of her head on. She’s always been a competitor all the way back to 5th grade. Concordia, St. Paul is getting a great volleyball player and a special person,” Koepke said.
Winjum broke her own single season set assist mark of 854 with 926 this season and also broke the career set assist mark previously held record of 1,724 by Lindsay Gran with 1,780.
Koepke said, “Taylor is a fierce competitor who has had to play through more pain than any kid should ever have to. Not the loudest player on the court, although she communicated with her girls very well, Taylor just ran the show and quietly went about her business which was winning matches. Never up too high and never down low, as team captain she gave our team a calm we needed and got us out of more than one tight spot throughout the year.”
He added, “Taylor was truly a dynamic setter. A very special player and person who, believe it or not, if she was still playing through November she would be even better than she was at the state tournament. She just kept getting better and better every day.”
Maddy Mullins is living proof that working hard in the off season can show dividends. “She worked and improved so much and then took that right into the season where she kept working and improving until the last day of the state tournament,” Koepke said. “She shined at the state tournament and I’m very happy for her. I don’t think I enjoy anyone’s reaction after they get a kill as much as Maddy’s. She has set a great example for the girls who will be following her with her work ethic.”
The only player that will return next season out of the all-conference picks is Augedahl, and Koepke couldn’t be more pleased, saying, “We are very excited to have her back next year leading the Warriors as we go back to work for 2013. Lottie made great improvement with her passing and defense. She was one of the girls who did the dirty work on the team passing and digging night in and night out. Some of her digs were of the amazing variety. She also improved as an attacker and gave us another good option going into the state tournament. She showed the special person she was always willing to see what she needed to improve at and, consequently, was solid as a rock though out the tournaments.”
– Brady Ambrose