All-County volleyball roster comprised of versatile playmakers
Jackson County volleyball teams may not have been playing on the final weekend of competition this fall, but that didn’t detract from three pretty good seasons all-around.
Holton, Jackson Heights and Royal Valley all finished in the top half of their league standings this season. In fact, the Wildcats were runners-up in the Big Seven and were just one win away from qualifying for the 4A-DII state tournament.
Both the Cobras and Panthers finished right in the middle of their respective league standings, while all three teams had some standout performers contributing to their overall success. Below is a list of those players who have been selected to The Holton Recorder’s All-County volleyball team.
Hayley Thompson, sr., HHS— The go-to offensive option for the Wildcats, Thompson did not disappoint in her final campaign for the HHS volleyball team. A consistent performer throughout the fall, Thompson finished with a team-high 373 kills, which was also the second highest total in the entire Big Seven League.
In addition, Thompson showed a little more balance on the court for Holton this season, tallying 215 digs (third on the team), 44 aces (second on the team) and 21 blocks.
For her efforts, Thompson was tabbed an All-League pick for the second year in a row and is making a repeat appearance on the All-County team as well.
Kate Hanson, sr., RVHS— While Thompson was a force on the outside, Hanson dominated in the middle for the Panthers. She also handled a heavier workload at times, with fellow senior middle hitter Anna Johnson battling an injury late in the season.
Overall, Hanson stepped up her game this season as she led the team with 238 kills as well as 164 blocks, adding 113 digs to boot. Her total blocks were also tops in the league, while she ranked fourth in kills.
Given her dominance at the net for Royal Valley, it’s no surprise that Hanson earned All-League honors this fall and is now making her debut on the All-County roster.
Megan Rhule, sr., HHS— One of the most versatile volleyball players in the county, Rhule contributed in many ways for a Wildcat volleyball team that came one win short of a trip to the 4A-DII state tournament.
The senior setter was a sparkplug for the offense, leading the team with 660 assists (second in the Big Seven) as the Holton attack went through Rhule almost exclusively this fall.
It’s a testament to Rhule’s skill that she also managed to add 134 kills, 149 digs, 39 blocks and 86 aces for the team. Those 86 aces also led the league in 2015.
For the second year in a row, Rhule found herself on the All-League team at season’s end and was also recognized as a second team All-State selection in 4A-DII for the season. This is Rhule’s third straight appearance on the All-County squad.
Macy Putnam, sr., RVHS— If there was another player who came close to Rhule’s level of versatility, it was Putnam. With some key injuries hitting Royal Valley hard this season, Putnam was called on to do a little bit of everything for the team.
After contributing in a reserve role a season ago, Putnam rarely left the court for the Panthers this fall. She maximized her court time as well as she finished second on the team in kills (190), second in aces (38), third in blocks (80) and led the team in digs (280). Those totals also placed her in the top 10 in the league for kills, blocks and digs.
Putnam was tabbed as an honorable mention selection to the Big Seven All-League team for her play this season and this is her first selection to the All-County team.
Hannah Williams, jr., JHHS— While Hanson led the county in blocks this season, there may not have been a more imposing force in the middle than Williams.
Standing tall at the net, Williams’ height forced plenty of the Cobras’ opponents to adjust over the course of the season and she still managed to finish the year with a team-high 125 blocks, as well as the second most kills (176). She also proved strong on the serve, finishing with 37 aces this fall.
At season’s end, Williams was pegged as an honorable mention pick for the Northeast Kansas All-League team and this is the first time she has been honored as a member of the All-County squad.
Ashlyn Weilert, jr., HHS— Among the top defenders in the county and the league, Weilert covered a lot of ground on the back row for Holton this fall.
Overall, the Wildcats had a penchant for making opposing offenses work and keeping several rallies alive. Weilert was at the forefront of that, leading the team with 299 digs this season, which was the sixth most in the Big Seven League.
Weilert added 25 aces for HHS as well this fall and she is another first-time pick for the All-County roster.
Courtney Boswell, jr., HHS— Equally adept on the back row, Boswell was one of Weilert’s many partners in crime contributing to the strong overall defensive effort for Holton this season.
Boswell even filled in for Weilert at libero a few times this season and finished second, right behind Weilert, with 238 digs this fall. She was also third on the team with 28 aces and this marks her first selection to the All-County team.
Katelin Strube, sr., JHHS— This was the year of the flexible hitter, as Strube was another offensive player who did a little bit of everything for her team.
Like Thompson, Strube led the Cobras with 187 kills this fall, but her production did not stop there. She also led the team defensively with 216 digs and was third in both aces (53) and blocks (83) for Jackson Heights.
Strube put forth the effort each time out for JHHS and for her performance she has earned a spot on the All-County squad for the first time.
Ali Bryan, jr., RVHS— Bryan helped add some fluidity to the Panther offense this season, as she kept the attack running smoothly when she was on the court and ended up leading the team with 419 assists this fall, the fourth most in the Big Seven League.
The junior setter’s impact did not end there, though, as she also finished the season with a team-high 39 aces (10th in the league) and contributed 110 digs on the defensive end.
Throughout the season Bryan was a key cog for Royal Valley and her contributions led to her first appearance on the All-County roster.
Honorable mention selections for the All-County volleyball team included Lauren Leavendusky (HHS), Shari Riley (HHS), Anna Johnson (RVHS), Bree Williams (JHHS) and Abby Williams (JHHS).