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December 6, 2012

All-Loganland volleyball: An all-around force

Page is the Loganland Volleyball Player of the Year

— Logansport’s volleyball team has been blessed with size and skill in recent years and has been on an unprecedented run of success in program history.

A player who has been a key to all the success is all-around standout Alaina Page.

The 6-foot senior did it all for the Berries — hit, block, pass and set up assists — and she is the 2012 Loganland Player of the Year.

Logansport has graduated two Division I players in the last three years in Katie Champion [Northern Colorado] and Kelsey Victor [Valparaiso], but the Berries didn’t miss a beat this season. Led by Page, the Berries recorded their fifth straight 20-plus win season, and their 26 wins this season were the most during their five-year run and second most in school history.

Page was also a key member of Berry squad’s that won 24, 25 and 24 matches the previous three seasons, and she was pleased to learn she’s this year’s area player of the year.

“I was just super excited to hear it, finally being recognized for the talent and everything,” she said. “When [coach Jon Vernon] texted me and told me, I was just super excited and couldn’t wait to tell my parents.”

The Berries once again fell just short in sectional play, losing in four games to nemesis Harrison in a match that could have went either way. Harrison won its fifth sectional title in the last six years, and Logan once again had to settle for a runner-up finish.

Page thinks the Berries can finally break through next year.

“If they keep working at it, work at club, keep getting better, I think they’ll have it next year,” she said. “They’ve just got to stay together as a team. I think this year was probably the best year I’ve had without drama, and we finally got to the place where I wanted to be. We didn’t get the sectional, but it was a hard fight. I think if they continue on to get better next year, they can get it.”

Page plays volleyball year-round and is a veteran of the club scene. She said teams like the Harrison Raiders “practice together, they practice hard all the time.

“We’ve just got to get to that level, I think, in the practicing that we just have the mentality that we have to get after this and this is what we want, we have to do this in order to get it. I think that’s just the next step, and if they take that step then they’ll be able to get it.”

Vernon credited Page’s leadership skills this season. He added Page battled through a knee injury early in the year and came on strong at the end.

“From the midpoint of the season on, she dominated,” Vernon said. “She had a lot of kills. She’s a good defender. This was the first year she was allowed to play as a passer in the back row. She’s been a good setter the past two years. She does a lot of different things and did a really good job for us this year.

“She was consistent every single night.”

Page finished second on the team in blocks (51) and aces (34) and third in kills (286), assists (165) and service points (176) and fourth in digs (162).

She plans to play volleyball at Division-II University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. She said she plans to redshirt next fall.

“I’ll be a setter and she said a possible hitter, too,” Page said. “I’m up for anything.”

Logansport volleyball fans can attest.

The following are capsules of the rest of the All-Loganland volleyball team in alphabetical order.

Sydney Bullard, Logansport

Logan has had a stockpile of strong hitters in recent seasons, and Bullard fits the bill. The 5-9 sophomore led the Berries in kills this season with 370.

“Syd really came on this year as an outside hitter,” Vernon said. “She had 370 kills and hit at a 52 percentage rate. She adjusted well from moving from middle hitter to outside hitter and was pretty dominant and able to get to the ball cleanly and hit to the other side of the net. She was able to get five, six, seven kills in a row. She did a good job with that.”

Cassidy Corn, Pioneer

Corn, a 5-10 senior middle hitter, led the Panthers in blocks (119) and was third in kills (232) and aces (45).

“She was a three-year starter in the middle for us,” Pioneer coach Rod Nies said. “She’s just been a great kid to coach. She’s very intelligent. She had a great career here at Pioneer. She led by example and I’m really pleased with how she has blossomed into a very good volleyball player.

“These three seniors we had this year led by example. They were a real pleasure to coach. We had the best team chemistry I’ve had at Pioneer. They really clicked and loved being with one another, just like a family.”

Gabby Dunlap, Pioneer

Dunlap, a 5-8 senior, led the Panthers in kills (339) and was third in digs (289) and blocks (52). The Panthers went 25-10 and won their seventh sectional title in a row and second-ever regional title. They finished ranked sixth in Class A.

“When Gabby played well, we were really tough to beat. We Gabby struggled, we struggled,” Nies said. “That shows what kind of player and what kind of dominating player she could be when she played well. We were tough to get a side-out on. She’s a great hitter and great defensive player. She has a quick reaction to the ball. She’s a great kid and very intelligent kid. She wants to go on to play collegiately.

“Our group of seniors in their four-year careers won four sectionals, two regionals and went 112-34 in four years against a very tough schedule we have here.”

Maddie Eurit, Cass

Eurit, a 5-8 senior, led the Kings with 180 kills in 18 matches. She missed 11 matches at the end of the regular season due to injury but was able to return for the sectional match against Southwood. She averaged 20 kills per match in the two Mid-Indiana Conference matches she played in.

“She led us in kills and was one of our top servers, too,” Cass coach Gretchen Crum said. “She’s an excellent student athlete. She was academic all-state and second-team all-conference. Even though she only played in two conference matches, she still got votes.”

Heidi Hendryx, Winamac

The 5-7 senior led the 17-16 Warriors in kills (241) and aces (42) and was second in digs (320).

Winamac coach Cathy DeFries said the undersized Hendryx did a commendable job stepping in as the Warriors’ go-to player on the front row.

“She was forced to play in a major role for us this year where she had very little experience, but she played behind some good players in recent years that made her capable of good things,” DeFries said. “She had good numbers, led us in kills, was second in digs. She’s just a great leader and a great overall kid. She took the reins and went with it.

“We struggled quite a bit this year, and for her playing on so many good teams, we had never lost to some of these teams and it was a frustrating year because of that. But because of her type of a personality she handled it very well.”

Lindsey Miller, Pioneer

Miller, a 5-7 senior, stepped in as the Panthers’ main setter this season and the Pioneer program didn’t miss a beat.

“Lindsey was our floor general. She stepped right in where Cortney [Hanson] had left off. She did a great job and ran the team,” Nies said. “She’s a very intelligent kid. She’s one of those players that if you told her to run through a wall she would do it. She’s a really hard worker. I can’t say enough about Lindsey. She did exactly what you told her to do to a T.

“A lot of people counted out our team after we graduated so many girls from last year’s sectional team. Most schools that lose eight of 14 from their sectional team are going to have a down year. We had a really good and successful season.”

Kiley Victor, Logansport

Like she is on the basketball court, Victor was simply a high-level performer for the Berries this season. The 5-10 senior led the team in digs (274) and was second in kills (312).

“Kiley was an all-around leader for us,” Vernon said. “In the sectional she was all over the floor and did everything she could for us to win.”

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