By William for www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
LITTLE RIVER – While the 2021 season was full success by the numbers, the Little River volleyball team still stumbled at the end, finishing out of the semi-finals of the state tournament despite dominating league play.
The Lady Redskins won the Wheat State League title and finished 35-6 overall which marks success, but they fell short on their trip to the state tournament and were unable to make the Saturday matches.
Kim Rolfs returns to lead the Little River volleyball program and begins year 6 with an overall mark of 119-68. She will be assisted by Jennifer Mantz.
Returning the majority of the varsity players from 2021, the Lady Redskins will have to replace one highly important graduate, Lily Boughfman.
“Lily (Boughfman) has played a huge part in our program success in her four years of varsity play and will be highly missed,” explained coach Rolfs. “Her huge presence on the front row and her ability to serve and ball control will be tough to replace by just one player. It’s going to have to be a team effort.”
What Little River does return is seven players with solid varsity experience, including three all-league honorees in juniors Alaina Eck, Aubrey Olander, and Kate Ellwood. Eck scored 229 kills and had 251 digs as an outside hitter, while Olander scored 159 kills to go with 95 blocks as a middle hitter. Ellwood recorded a whopping 738 assists in 2021 while also making 74 service aces.
The other four returnees include senior Mea Debaere, juniors Ashley Stephenson and Kami Grasser along with sophomore Elsie Boughfman.
“We are a seasoned group as all returnees have significant varsity experience while each have gotten better and better every year,” noted coach Rolfs. “We did a team camp this summer and our chemistry looked good. We are working really hard to again play at a higher level than the previous season while continuing to play as consistent as possible. If we can play at our potential along with consistency, we will be super competitive.”
Concluding her pre-season reflections, coach Rolfs added, “Every year I get excited to coach these Little River teams as they are awesome kids with a great support system with their families and friends. This season we will look a little different as we will not have our big hitter and all-around player in Lily (Boughfman), so it will have to be a team effort to put wins in the win column, but I do think this team can do it.”
On Tuesday, August 30, the Lady Redskins will open their 2022 season on the road at Fairfield before playing their home opener on Tuesday, September 6 when they will host a quad with Herington, Centre, and Elyria Christian.
2022 LADY REDSKIN KEY RETURNEES:
- Alaina Eck, junior – All-League Honors, 229 kills, 251 digs, 50 aces (outside hitter)
- Aubrey Olander, junior – All-League Honors, 159 kills, 95 blocks (middle hitter)
- Kate Ellwood, junior – All-League Honors, 738 assists, 74 serve aces (setter)
- Ashley Stephenson, junior – 84 kills, 34 blocks (right side hitter)
- Kami Grasser, junior – 43 serve aces, serve/receive at a 2.0-3 scale (defensive specialist)
- Elsie Boughfman, sophomore – 111 kills, 57 blocks (middle hitter)
- Mea Debaere, senior – 287 digs, 36 serve aces (libero/defensive specialist)
2022 LITTLE RIVER LADY REDSKIN VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE:
- Tuesday, August 30 – at Fairfield
- Tuesday, September 6 – HOME quad with Herington, Centre & Elyria Christian
- Saturday, September 10 – at Centre Invitational
- Tuesday, September 13 – HOME dual with Elyria Christian
- Thursday, September 15 – HOME with Ellsworth
- Tuesday, September 20 – at Canton/Galva with Solomon & Elyria Christian
- Saturday, September 24 – at Lyons Tournament
- Tuesday, September 27 – at Rural Vista with Wakefield & Elyria Christian
- Saturday, October 1 – at Canton/Galva Tournament
- Tuesday, October 4 – at Elyria Christian with Peabody/Burns & Goessel
- Thursday, October 6 – HOME dual with Inman
- Tuesday, October 11 – at Goessel
- Saturday, October 15 – at Wheat State League Tournament in Hope
- Saturday, October 22 – at Sub-State
- Friday & Saturday, October 28-29 – at State Tournament in Dodge City
(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at email@example.com)