Four girls VB players named all-Big 8

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Logan Welti was named first-team all-Big Eight./File photo

Middleton’s girls volleyball team was young, inexperienced and unknown when the 2014 season began.

By the end of the year, the Cardinals were a group of battle-tested veterans capable of anything.

That’s why Middleton fared extremely well when it came time for postseason awards.

Junior outside hitter Logan Welti was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference and honorable-mention all-state.

Senior libero Amber Karn, senior setter Rachel Severson and senior outside hitter Audrey Hinshaw were all named second-team all-conference.

Verona finished with most all-conference selections (six), while Middleton and Sun Prairie tied for second (four).

“Our team improved a lot during the season and showed a lot of resiliency,” said Middleton coach Franco Marcos, whose team went 30-15 overall, finished third in the Big Eight at 7-2 and reached the sectional semifinals. “Our seniors and captains did a great job leading by example. Overall, it was another great season.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton’s most dynamic player was undoubtedly Welti, who led the Cardinals with 389 kills. Welti was also second on the team in blocks (52), digs (282) and aces (52).

“Logan Welti had a great season this year,” Marcos said.

So did Severson, who was named Middleton’s Most Valuable Player.

Severson finished with a team-high 369 assists, was fifth in digs (79) and sixth in aces (28). Severson helped run Middleton’s offense and kept a young team together throughout the season.

“Rachel Severson did a great job getting the ball to our hitters,” Marcos said. “Rachel is one of those players that left it all on the court. 

“It did not matter how much pain she was in, she wanted to continue to lead the team. Her favorite line is ‘I'm OK!’ We are going to miss her.”

Hinshaw was second on the team in kills (236) and third in blocks (33). But Hinshaw’s role extended well beyond her stellar play on the court.

“Audrey Hinshaw … is pretty much the team Mom and everyone listens to her,” Marcos said. “She is very athletic, could jump out of the gym and hit very hard. 

“However, she is very caring and coachable. Everyone gravitates toward Audrey. She is the type of player with that great personality that you want to be around forever.”

Karn had a great year, as well, leading the team in digs (361), aces (83) and service receptions.

“Amber was one of our two passers … and she won the sportsmanship award. She was always positive no matter what the situation was,” Marcos said of Karn. “She is a three-year letter winner and made the conversion from outside hitter to libero without a problem. She led the team on and off the court.”

While Middleton loses a gifted group of seniors — which also included setter/outside hitter Cole Jordee and defensive specialist Morgan Schmitt — the future looks extremely bright.

The Cardinals return a group highlighted by Welti that also includes junior middle blockers Molly Zeinemann and Meghan Bayer.

“They should dominate the conference next year and could be the top two middles in the Big Eight,” Marcos said. 

Right side hitter Gabie Buechner is an emerging talent, while outside hitter Elizabeth Keller is another player on the rise. Other key returnees will include defender Jessi Nonn, defensive specialist Morgan Roberts, middle blocker Heather Haack and middle blocker Andrina McNamer.

“We will see who wants it badly,” Marcos said. “Seven of the nine returners will be seniors, so it will be a veteran and hopefully experienced team. We have a very skilled group of returners and we need to start working on our goals for next season.”


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