Family, friends, fans, coaches and players were present when the SJA volleyball team held it’s awards banquet on Monday night. It was a season to celebrate according to Head Coach Steve Chapin.
While the Saints only won nine games and lost a few more than that, he said the never ending positive attitude of this group of athletes made for a memorable season.
“There were no conflicts this year,” Chapin said. He said this team was by far the most friendly group he’s ever coached.
The game against SCC power Blue Earth Area was the highlight of the season according to Chapin. It was no doubt the highlight of the season for the players and everyone that saw it.
The Saints were down two games to zip and trailing late in the third game when the girls got off the deck to win three straight.
“Blue Earth was 9-1 this year. You guys are the one,” Chapin reminded everyone at the banquet.
The Saints played a lot of teams close this year, and that made for an exciting season.
It was announced at the banquet that senior Devon Flohrs was named an all conference player on the South Central Conference team.
Freshman Julia Beckius and sophomore Emily Bottem received Honorable Mention recognition from the South Central Conference coaches.
At the banquet, the volleyball team gave out a series of awards voted on by the players.
The Most Inspiring Player Award went to Andrea Nielsen. The Rookie of the Year Award went to Allison Brandts.
The Most Improved Player Award went to Brenda Cervantes. The Most Dedicated Award went to Emily Bottem. The Best Defensive Player Award went to JoAnna Pluym.
The Best Offensive Player award went to Devon Flohrs. Devon was also chosen by her teammates as the Most Valuable Player for the 2012 Saints volleyball team.
Devon’s 241 Kill’s this season moved her into 15th place on the all time kill list of St. James volleyball. Her 368 career kills meant Devon passed her mother Sandy Fredrickson (maiden name) on the career kills list.
Just a sophomore, Emily Bottem is already in seventh place on the Saints set assist list with 879. This year she had 623 set assists.
If she puts up that kind of a number next year, Emily would be in second place on the career list. However, it’s a long way to first place as Katie Kuhlman holds the career record for the Saints with 2846 set assists.
Page 2 of 2 - Coach Chapin was proud the team excelled at academics too. The team won the academic gold award given by the state governing body. The Saints volleyball team has won many silver awards according to the coach, but this was the first time the team won a gold award.
Three seniors were also named Academic All State players. That award went to JoAnna Pluym, Erin Hurley and Devon Flohrs.
The Head Coach had fond words to say about all of his seniors - Andrea Nielsen, JoAnna Pluym, Jessica Carvatt, Erin Hurley and Devon Flohrs.
Captains Hurley and Flohrs had a good time passing out gag awards to their teammates. This reporter will refrain from naming who got singled out for special, unique awards.
Both the B and C squads had winning seasons. Those underclassmen will blend with a strong returning group of varsity players and that is an early indication the Saints may pick up a few more wins next year. That also is the nature of sports. After one season ends, the fans begin to look for better things to happen next year.
Captains for the next volleyball season will be Janelle Larson and Emily Bottem.