Class C-2 Preview, Rankings and Preseason All-State Team
The overall depth of high-level teams took something of a hit this year in Class C-2 with several potential contenders having dropped into D-1. But, when you look at the cream of the crop in Class C-2, those teams are…
The overall depth of high-level teams took something of a hit this year in Class C-2 with several potential contenders having dropped into D-1.
But, when you look at the cream of the crop in Class C-2, those teams are outstanding, which should make for an entertaining season.
Superior made a surprise run through the Class C-2 state tournament last year to win its first state volleyball title. Coming in at 25-4 and the #6 overall seed, Superior knocked off 28-5 Centura, 32-0 Nebraska Christian and 33-0 Hartington Cedar Catholic on its way to the title.
Nebraska recruit Kalynn Meyer really burst onto the scene in a big way at the state tournament, dominating all the matches and showing she’s one of the most premier players in the state. Her return certainly gives Superior a shot at returning, but no other returning player had more than 90 kills last year, so the Wildcats have some holes to fill.
Here is our initial Class C-2 rankings with a little bit about each team.
#1 – Stanton
In each of the last three seasons, Stanton has been playing on the final Saturday of the year. After finishing second in C-2 in 2015, the Mustangs came back and won the title in 2016. Last year Stanton finished third after falling to Hartington Cedar Catholic in the semifinals. That loss coupled with the fact that Stanton is heavily loaded with seniors seemed like it had the Mustangs motivated all summer. Senior Jessie Brandl is back after having 360 kills and 330 digs a year ago and Bree Burtwisle is back for her senior year after having 325 kills, 260 digs and 573 assists a year ago. Makenna Espinoza also returns for her senior year after having 491 assists last year and Jaiden Hartl is back after 34 aces and 341 digs in 2017. Senior Liz Christensen also returns at right side as well as senior middle Reba Waskowiak.
#2 – Superior
Having Kalynn Meyer certainly makes the Wildcats a contender in Class C-2, but Superior must fill two huge losses in Nicki Kirchhoff and Megan Miller as that duo helped balance out the offensive attack. Teghan Sullivan’s return will help as the sophomore had 285 assists and 88 kills a season ago and senior libero Trisha Hayes returns after a 555-dig junior year.
#3 – Hartington Cedar Catholic
Cedar Catholic’s only loss a year ago came in the state championship with Superior rallied to win in five sets. The Trojans return four of their top six attackers this year and should be right in the thick of things for the 2018 title hunt. Senior Maddie Wieseler returns after an all-state season in which she had 280 kills, 116 total blocks, 213 digs and 476 assists. Jada Cattau, a 5’10 outside, returns as a senior after having 291 kills a year ago while fellow seniors Brianna Miller (138 kills) and Gabrielle Steffen also return. Junior Abby Hochstein had 107 kills a year ago.
#4 – Thayer Central
Thayer Central hasn’t been to a state tournament since 2012 and went 18-16 last year, but the Titans return a lot of talent and have some good young players coming up. Senior Maggie Harris, a 5’10 middle, led the team with 324 kills and 76 total blocks a year ago while senior Emily Welch is the team’s top returning outside after she had 245 kills and 437 digs a season ago. Another 5’10 senior middle, Katelyn Richardson, is back after 122 kills last season. And while the Titans must replace their setter, Jasa Wiedel, a 5’10 freshman, looks to be the real deal at the position.
#5 – Arcadia-Loup City
On the surface, a team that lost a couple key seniors and went 14-14 last year might not look like one of the top teams in the class, but the Rebels have themselves a good group this season and showed it with a strong showing the C2 division at the Nebraska Top 10 camp this summer, finishing fifth, just behind Stanton, Thayer Central and Hartington Cedar Catholic. Junior setter Nadia VanSlyke returns, as does 6’0 middle Callie Bauer, who had 162 kills a season ago. The only seniors on the team are 5’11 Hollie Sell and defensive specialists Taylor Ference and Delanie Mroczek, otherwise the group is all underclassmen.
#6 – Southern Valley
In many ways, how far Southern Valley goes this fall will be determined by how healthy Lauryn Samuelson is. One of the top juniors in the state, Samuelson suffered a knee injury last year during basketball and was limited this summer. If she’s fully healthy this fall, the Eagles will certainly be one of the top teams in the class. Samuelson had 331 kills, 48 aces, 100 total blocks last year. The team also returns all-state libero Sawyer Quinn after she had 494 digs last year. Senior Maggie Bose and junior Grace Hogeland also returns and junior Jenny Moenning is a transfer from Ralston.
#7 – Ponca
Ponca made its first trip to the state tournament this century last year while going 29-6. The Indians graduated five seniors off that team and must replace their setter and libero. However, Ponca brings back one of the best young middles in the class in 5’10 sophomore Josie Reed and returns one of its top attackers in sophomore Alyssa Crosgrove.
#8 – Doniphan-Trumbull
Doniphan-Trumbull returns its entire roster – literally – from its squad that went 14-16 a year ago. Kalee Wiltfong and Logan Poppe finished as the top two attack leaders for the Cardinals last year, respectively, with 300 kill and 226 kills. The senior duo is also joined by senior Maddie Fitch, who had 175 kills and 372 assists a year ago.
#9 – Blue Hill
Blue Hill finished fourth in Class D-1 last year and moves up a level in competition this season. Fortunately for the Bobcats, a good chunk of their team returns in 2018. Rylee Kohmetscher had 344 kills a year ago while Kacey Allen had 334 and Emily Meyer had 157 and the trio all return as seniors this year. Junior Madison Menke had 125 kills last year. Seniors Jamie Bonifas (875 assists) and Brianna Danehey (497 digs) return at setter and libero.
#10 – Clarkson-Leigh
The Patriots made their first-ever state tournament last year in Class D-1 and now move up to C-2. Clarkson-Leigh returns four of its top five kill leaders from a year ago in seniors Beth Wiese (177), Paige Moore (165), Hannah Kasik (139) and junior Ashlynn Novotny (156). Halee Steffensmeyer returns for her senior year after leading the team with 401 digs and Sara McEvoy is also back as a senior after having 213 digs a year ago. Senior setter Kaegan Held also returns after 746 assists last season.
Here is a look at our Class C-2 Preseason All-State Team
Setter – Bree Burtwistle, 5’9, Sr., Stanton (committed to Midland University)
Setter – Maddie Wieseler, 5’10, Sr., Hartington Cedar Catholic (committed to Midland Univeristy)
Hitter – Kalynn Meyer, 6’3, Jr., Superior (committed to Nebraska)
Hitter – Jada Cattau, 5’11, Sr., Hartington Cedar Catholic
Hitter – Lauryn Samuelson, 5’11, Jr., Southern Valley
Hitter – Kayla Haynes, 6’0, Sr., Freeman
Hitter – Tori Thomas, 6’0, Jr., Hastings St. Cecilia
Hitter – Halle Theis, 6’0, Jr., Fillmore Central
Libero/DS – Jessie Brandl, 5’8, Sr., Stanton (committed to Wayne State)
Libero/DS – Trisha Hayes, 5’6, Jr., Superior