By John Lemon
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Editor's note: This file was updated to correct a player's background.
Emily Carroll, St. Charles North
On a St. Charles North team that won a share of the Upstate Eight Conference River title and the first three tournament titles in program history, Carroll provided a major presence in the middle. The junior finished with 111 kills, 132 blocks and 67 aces. "Emily Carroll is our 'quiet killer,'" North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins said. "Most teams don't notice the skinny girl across the net until she stuff blocks you a bunch of times. She is literally a wall up at the net, and our defense wouldn't be half as strong as it is without the great block she puts up."
Ellie Dunn, Kaneland
With 214 kills through Kaneland's first 25 games, plus team-highs in solo blocks, aces and digs, it's easy to see why this junior earned a scholarship to Ball State, where she committed on Oct. 15. "Offensively she is force," Kaneland coach Kerri McCastland said. "Ellie has also worked really hard on her all-around game. Teams tend to target her as the big tall girl in the back and good for Ellie. Ellie has really stretched her range offensively as well. She has such variety that makes her a threat. She's incredible, coachable and so interested in being pushed and being better. She has grown in her leadership and will continue to do so into her senior year."
Anne Hughes, St. Charles East
With 41 aces, a team-best 2.13 passer rating and 500 digs in the regular season, Hughes was the glue in the back row for the Upstate Eight Conference River Divsion co-champs. Unanimous selection to the UEC River team. "That's why we've been successful," said Saints coach Jennie Kull whose team went 29-6 in the regular season. "She's like (former All-Area libero) Maisey Mulvey. She takes balls away from people. She's built the confidence on the court to run the back court. That's why we've won as many games as we have."
Carly Jimenez, St. Charles East
Headed to High Point University in North Carolina, this senior made a seamless transition from the right-side she played as a junior to setter. Finished the regular season with 685 assists with 84 kills, 241 digs and 26 aces. Saints coach Jennie Kull compared her to former setter Laura Homann. "She has that same demeanor," Kull said of the all-UEC pick. "Everybody respects her. I think if the quarterback is like that the team goes above and beyond. She's really becoming the whole package. Running the team like she is a tribute to her. She's a kind, caring person."
Taylor Krage, St. Charles North
The Northern-Illinois bound senior, three-year starter and All-Area captain put away 267 kills. She showed her all-around skills with 198 digs and 24 aces, making the Upstate Eight River All-Conference team. "Taylor is our work horse," North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins said. "Day in and day out, she is always the first one in the gym and the last to leave. She is disciplined and knows what it takes to win. She has sacrificed a lot for this game and is so deserving of having such a magical senior season because of all she has put in thus far."
Grace Loberg, Geneva
The only freshman on the All-Area team made an instant impact this fall. Led Geneva with 261 kills, using her 6-foot-2 height to dominate at times. The UEC River unanimous selection turned in a 21-kill, 21-dig match against Batavia. Finished regular season with 160 digs, 57 blocks and .471 kill percentage. "We've never had a freshman make an impact like that before," Geneva coach KC Johnsen said. "She's a force to be reckoned with. She's just going to get stronger and catch up to her body a little bit. Her ceiling is about as high as anyone."
Heather Meyer, Batavia
This three-year starter and captain is on the AVCA All-American Watch List after a regular season that saw her lead Batavia in kills with 306 and a .382 hitting percentage. Her 285 digs were second on the team. Unanimous selection to the UEC River team. "Heather has developed into an all-around player for us by her sheer hard work year round," Batavia coach Lori Trippi-Payne said. "She continues to improve her game even now, and it is fun watching her get better and better. Although she is one of our most skilled players, she is one of the hardest workers on our team everyday."
Megan Schildmeyer, St. Charles East
A setter for her Sports Performance club team, Schildmeyer made the move to the outside for the Saints and blasted a team-high 210 kills in the regular season. Also led the Saints with 59 aces and added 271 digs and 46 blocks to make the UEC All-Conference team. "That's a huge transition and she's done amazing," Saints coach Jennie Kull said of the junior's position change. "She's been absolutely amazing this season."
Shea Thayer, Batavia
Selected to the Upstate Eight Conference River Division team as a unanimous selection, Thayer led Batavia with 71 blocks. Also had 113 kills, third-best on the team. "Shea has really turned a corner this year in her development as a middle hitter," Batavia coach Lori Trippi-Payne said. "During this past year, she has made a stronger commitment to the weight room, and it has really paid off for her. She also continues to improve her game even now, and it has changed our team from the beginning of the season through the present."
Dana Voltolina, St. Charles East
Every fall there are players who emerge as bigger impact players than anyone expected coming into the season, and perhaps nobody did that more than this senior. Voltolina ended up second on the Saints with 173 kills while making the All-Tournament team at the Mizuno Cup. "She has come through offensively on the outside and made some tremendous strides," Saints coach Jennie Kull said. "Blocking and hitting she's done great things. She's come far beyond what I ever expected this year."
Kelsey Wicinski, Geneva
The third Wicinski to star on the Geneva volleyball team, this junior took control of the Vikings' back row and played a key role in Geneva's 22-8 regular season. Her 694 digs on the season included a school-record 49 against St. Charles North and 48 against Batavia. The unanimous UEC River selection also had 41 aces. "She's done wonderful," Geneva coach KC Johnsen said. "I think Kelsey has dug up more balls serve-receive than anyone we've had. And we've had some good ones."
Sydney Wohlert, St. Charles North
When the North Stars found themselves in tight situations this year, it always helped to have a veteran like Wohlert in charge. An unanimous Upstate Eight Conference River Division selection, Wohlert totaled 358 assists, 139 digs and 55 aces. "Sydney is a great senior leader," North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins said. "Sydney is the heart beat of our team -- she sets the tone of practices and games. She lights the spark on the team as soon as she steps on the court."
Girls Volleyball All-Area Roster
Player School Pos. Yr.
Emily Carroll St. Charles North MH Jr.
Ellie Dunn Kaneland OH Jr.
Anne Hughes St. Charles East L Jr.
Carly Jimenez St. Charles East S Sr.
*Taylor Krage St. Charles North OH Sr.
Grace Loberg Geneva OH Fr.
Heather Meyer Batavia OH Sr.
Megan Schildmeyer St. Charles East OH Jr.
Shea Thayer Batavia MH Sr.
Dana Voltolina St. Charles East OH Sr.
Kelsey Wicinski Geneva L Jr.
Sydney Wohlert St. Charles North S Sr.
* -- Honorary captain
Makayla Beebe (Aurora Christian, jr., L); Sophia DuVall (St. Charles North, sr., MB); Martha Konovodoff (Rosary, fr., L); Hannah Lanasa (Geneva, jr., OH); Jenny Lubic (Kaneland, sr., S); Shea Stanley (Batavia, sr. OH).
Erin Burke (Rosary, fr., OH); Maddie Courter (Geneva, jr. MH); Audrey Faulhaber (Batavia, sr., S); Vanessa Gould (Kaneland, so., RS); Riley Hannula (Kaneland, jr., MH); Natalie Hayes (Aurora Christian, so., MB); Maddie Jaudon (Batavia, jr., L); Daley Krage (St. Charles North, so., OH); Mikaela Mosquera (St. Charles East, jr., MH); Kathy Nyguen (Kaneland, so., L); Ivy Oleson (Aurora Christian, jr., S); Michaela Ping (Rosary, jr, MB); Lauren San Diego (Aurora Central Catholic, sr., S); Alex Seavey (St. Charles North, DS); Meagan Smith (St. Charles East, jr., OH); Clare Tack (Aurora Central Catholic, sr., L).
1998: Caroline Frede, St. Charles
1999: Brooke Dodson, St. Charles
2000: Lauren Harks, St. Charles East
2001: Dani Nyenhuis, St. Charles East
2002: Jaime Bevan, Geneva
2003: Leslie Mansfield, St. Charles East
2004: Catherine Smale, Rosary
2005: Kim Nemcek, Geneva
2006: Emily Staples, St. Charles East
2007: Laura Homann, St. Charles East
2008: Laura Homann, St. Charles East
2009: Lauren Wicinski, Geneva
2010: Lauren Carlini, West Aurora
2011: Lauren Carlini, West Aurora
2012: Lauren Carlini, West Aurora
St. Charles East, St. Charles North
Teams to watch in 2014
Geneva, St. Charles East, Kaneland
-- All-area selections and capsules by John Lemon