NY Mills volleyball season stands out in Park Region
NEW YORK MILLS — The Eagles volleyball team received seven notable Park Region Conference awards after compiling a 20-6-3 season record, doing so with only two seniors.
“I am happy with the progress our girls made,” Head Coach Angie Paavola said. “We have a lot of younger girls who are excited in the program. All the trophies and medals, team spirit and community spirit is just a good plug to keep going.”
Tori Kempenich and Taylor Plautz finished a four-year span in the starting lineup with as many wins this season as the past three seasons combined, including an 0-24-2 overall record in 2010. Much of what makes team winners is sticking through difficult times and Kempenich and Plautz rallied their team this season on the backs of having done just that.
Kempenich was named the Park Region Conference most valuable defensive player, along with all-conference honors. Plautz received honorable mention.
Much of the Eagles’ success stems from the strong presence and height provided at the net by Ellie and Lydia Rutten, both named all-conference, as well. Ellie is a junior, Lydia only a freshman.
Sophomore setter Lydia Irons was the fourth all-conference award winner. Irons led the Park Region Conference in set assists with 263. The Eagles are set up for three straight seasons to come with a distinct leader on the court.
Despite the loss of Plautz and Kempenich, next season’s squad will return the conference’s leading setter and two of the most dominating players at the net.
On the sidelines, Paavola was named the Park Region Coach of the Year and rightfully so, having kept a positive team vibe going as success caught up with very young talent.
The mental aptitude necessary to turn a program around always outweighs talent and the 2013 volleyball team had plenty of both creating a newfound momentum to build upon. That success starts from the first practice and comes from the top down.
Paavola should be commended for her efforts this season.
The Eagles won the Park Region Conference title with a perfect record of 6-0. It was the first time since 2008 the Eagles had won more than three conference games.
New York Mills advanced to the Section 6A North Subsection final with playoff wins over Rothsay and Mahnomen before being eliminated by Ada-Borup. The Cougars knocked off Henning in the 6A final to advance to the state tournament for the third time in four seasons.
HUSTLE: Lydia Irons
SPIRIT: Sidney Imsande, Tori Kempenich
SERVING: Taylor Plautz
MOST IMPROVED: Grace Moberg
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Ellie Rutten, Tori Kempenich
BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Ellie Rutten
PARK REGION CONFERENCE AWARDS:
PRC MVP DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Tori Kempenich
PRC ALL CONFERENCE PLAYERS: Tori Kempenich, Ellie Rutten, Lydia Irons, Lydia Rutten
PRC HONORABLE MENTION: Taylor Plautz
PRC SETTING ASSISTS: Lydia Irons - 263
PRC COACH OF THE YEAR: Angie Paavola
LETTER WINNERS: Tori Kempenich, Lydia Rutten Maria Novak, Madison Kane, Sam Salo, Taylor Plautz, Grace Moberg, Lydia Irons, Ellie Rutten, Sidney Imsande.