Five players who helped their teams make a rare appearance in the South Dakota State Class A volleyball tournament were among the eight selected to the first team of the South Dakota Volleyball Coaches Association All-State team, announced today.
Brooke Pond helped Pine Ridge make its first-ever state volleyball appearance. Shelbie Budmayr took Belle Fourche to its first state tournament since 1995. Kylie Martin helped Dakota Valley get to state for the first time since 2005. Haley Hillestad led Sioux Valley to its first trip since 2009. Abby Dockter anchored Roncalli to a second straight appearance, their first appearances since winning the winter 2002 title.
Also named to the first team were Jessa Doom, who helped Wagner to its fifth straight state appearance, and Sioux Falls Christian’s Hayley McCarron and Kristin Stern, who helped the Chargers earn a sixth straight appearance and third straight title.
Second team honorees included Dakota Valley’s Jayde Bergmann and Lindsey Smith, Sioux Falls Christian’s Kiara Vander Pol, Winner’s Cassidy Hanson, Milbank’s Kendra Snaza and Sioux Valley’s Kaylee VanderWal.
Honorable mention honorees were Tri-Valley’s Allison Cross, Deuel’s Tiara Gibson, Custer’s Lisa Lovoll, Mobridge-Pollock’s Callie Slater and Wagner’s Nicole Weber.
Here is a look at the first-team honorees, listed in alphabetical order:
Budmayr: In her first two years as a starter for Belle Fourche, Budmayr was a tough hitter. This season, she became a nightmare for opponents.
Budmayr’s .378 kill percentage and 347 kills were the result of a lot of hard work in the off-season, according to Belle Fourche coach Loree Schlichtmeier.
“She doubled her kills from what she had last year,” Schlichtmeier said. “She played JO (Junior Olympics) volleyball and spent a lot of time in the gym.”
In the state tournament, she added 25 kills and 32 digs to her season totals, giving her nearly 400 digs on the season.
“She’s a great all-around player and our fastest girl on the court,” Schlichtmeier said. “She was one of our captains and led by example.”
Dockter: When the 5-foot-11 Dockter was up front for the Cavaliers, she not only carved up defenses with a surgeon’s precision, she blasted through them as well.
“She is very intimidating. She hits with so much power,” said Roncalli head coach Janelle Bierle. “She sees the floor so well. She can hit with power, but she can tip as well. She puts the ball where the defense isn’t. That is valuable, especially when she’s being double-teamed a lot of the time.”
Doom: A three-time all-stater, Doom finished her career with a 6-3 state tournament record and finishes of third, second and fifth.
“I was pretty spoiled having Jessa leading our team,” said Wagner head coach Amy Tyler. “She became quite an attacker and a blocker in the front line. That was helpful down the stretch.”
After suffering big graduation losses from last season’s state runner-up team, Wagner needed Doom to play a bigger role for the squad. She responded with 696 assists, 133 kills (.301 kill percentage) and 75 ace serves, as well as 26 blocks and 249 digs.
Hillestad: Opponents learned quickly that having Sioux Valley’s No. 13 across the net was unlucky for them.
Hillestad posted 338 kills and 89 blocks on the season, as well as 58 ace serves and 189 digs. At state, she put up another 45 kills, 13 blocks (4 solo), 19 digs and nine ace serves, including 21 kills in the Cossacks’ first-round upset of second-seeded Pine Ridge.
“She is dominating at the net,” said Sioux Valley head coach Jill Vincent. “She would wear a lot of opponents out with her energy.”
Martin: A four-year starter, Martin played a key role in helping the Panthers end a seven-year state tournament drought.
Martin’s experience helped keep the Panthers where they needed to be, according to head coach Don Craig.
“She put in a lot of time. She understands the game as a whole,” he said. “She not only knows where she needs to be, but what everyone else was supposed to be doing. She knows where to attack and how to attack.”
Her .321 kill percentage, 220 kills and 61 ace serves were a reflection of her abilities on the court, as well as her focus.
McCarron: Most 5-11 volleyball players in South Dakota are hitters, but McCarron’s excellent passing skills and court sense have made her a talented weapon for the three-time state champions.
McCarron had 846 assists on others’ kills, as well as 72 kills of her own, during the regular season. She stepped up her averages at state, posting 102 assists and 10 kills in the three tournament matches.
“Hayley’s an excellent player, and a great leader on and off the court,” said Sioux Falls Christian head coach Darci Wassenaar. “She does an excellent job of balancing our attack, spreading the ball around and making smart choices.”
Pond: A four-year starter and three-time all-conference selection, Pond provided Pine Ridge with a powerful leader as it made a run to its first state tournament appearance.
“She was an all-around tough worker, an all-around leader,” said Pine Ridge head coach Nellie Long. “She was my go-to when she was in the front row.”
The 6-1 outside hitter recorded 319 kills and 66 ace serves during the regular season, as well as 64 blocks and 135 digs. At state, she led the team with 30 kills and three blocks despite missing much of the team’s final match due to injury. That injury, a torn ACL, will keep her out of basketball this season.
“I’m confident in our team, but when we were playing without her you could tell we were missing a big part of our team,” Long said.
Stern: The lone junior on the first team, Stern gave the Chargers a quick-strike weapon in their quest for a third straight title.
Stern posted a lethal .462 kill percentage in recording 275 kills during the regular season. At state, she added another 40 kills and a tournament-best 12 service aces.
“She’s done a really good job in the middle,” Wassenaar said. “She’s a very aggressive, a very quick athletes. She has such a quick arm swing.”
Stern also had 43 ace serves and 39 blocks during the regular season.