By Rob Kiser
It is probably the least glamorous position in volleyball.
But, certainly one of the most important.
And it would be hard to find a more dynamic person for that role then Versailles senior Kami McEldowney.
“Kami (McEldowney) is the heart and soul of our team,” Versailles Kenzie Bruggeman said in the interview room after Versailles 25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21 win over Tuscarawas Valley Friday afternoon at the Nutter Center in the D-III state semifinals. “She is amazing back there.”
She nearly had a back-row kill, dished out four assists and had a number of service winners, to go with her team-leading 27 digs.
“Kami (McEldowney) is just amazing back there,” Versailles senior setter Ellen Peters said. “She is always hustling and making plays.”
Senior middle Danielle Winner agreed.
“I think it is frustrating for the other team,” Winner said. “There were probably a lot of balls that were normally kills for them she was able to dig. She is such a great teammate.”
Limitless Options: Ellen Peters considers herself to be one of the luckiest setters in the state.
Because no matter what choice she makes, it is a good one.
Elizabeth Ording, Danielle Winner and Mallory Marshal all had more than 10 kills — and Payton Berger and Lindsey Winner also came through when called upon.
“I feel like every option I have is a good one,” Peters said. “They are all so good. There isn’t a bad choice.”
Feeling Mutual: Those hitters would tell you the same thing about Peters as a setter.
“Ellen (Peters) does a great job keeping us balanced and getting everybody in the offense,” Bruggeman said.
Solid Wall: While there may not have been any solo blocks, Versailles front row was a definite pivotal point in the match, frustrating the Tuscarawas Valley hitters.
Versailles had 18 assist blocks and no blocking errors, while the Trojans had just nine blocks.
Lindsey Winner led the way with six.
Danielle Winner, Mallory Marshal and Ording all had three.
“I think there size was a big factor,” Tuscarawas Valley coach Cortney Goodwin said. “They were a lot more aggressive at the net than we were.”
Next Girl Up: Reagan Shaffer had the final kill in the regional final upset over Miami East last Saturday. With Shaffer out, senior Payton Berger stepped in a didn’t miss a beat.
Berger was solid all match and had two kills, three digs and two block assists.
“With Reagan (Shaffter) out with a concussion, I can’t say enough abut the job Payton (Berger),” Bruggeman said. “She has come so far this year. It has been a lot of fun to watch her.”
And Ellen Peters wasn’t afraid to put the ball in her hands.
“Payton (Berger) was amazing today,” Peters said. “She did a great job out there.”
Team defense: Along with Kami McEldowney, Kate Stammen and Caitlin McEldowney had 13 digs and Cassie Peters added 12.
On to Coldwater: Now comes the All-MAC championship game.
Versailles is 23-6, while Coldwater is 27-1 and ranked first in the state.
The Cavaliers defeated the Tigers 25-16, 25-22, 16-25, 25-19 on Coldwater’s senior night in the regular season.
“Our practices have changed so much during the year,” Danielle Winner said. “I feel like we have come a long way since that match and are playing a lot better than we were then. We are ready for anything.”
And the “little dynamo” at the libero position makes sure of that one every point, in every match.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.