Familiar names headline Gazette's all-area volleyball team

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John Barry
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Some familiar names headline The Gazette’s 2017 all-area girls volleyball team.

Led by Ashlyn Oren of Edgerton, four players are repeat selections. Oren is The Gazette’s player of the year and the second straight Crimson Tider to win the award. Kellan Schmidt, now playing at UW-Stevens Point, won the award last year.

Other repeat selections were Janesville Craig’s Amanda Carlson, Walworth Big Foot’s Kampbell Hehr and Brodhead’s Abbey Johnson.

Sports editor Eric Schmoldt and sports writer John Barry settled on a six-player team based on coaches’ feedback and their overall impressions after seeing all six play at some point this past season.

The all-area team is based on the six best players at any position.

Milton advanced to the Division 1 sectional semifinals and Chloe Buescher was a big reason why. The junior outside hitter never came off the court and put together some impressive season stats.

Buescher had a team-leading 353 kills, a 40 percent kill ratio and a team-high 367 digs. She also had 33 aces and 55 blocks.

“Chloe is a three-sport athlete that strives to be the best in everything she does,” Milton coach Wayne Hansen said. “She was voted co-MVP of our team and is a rare 6-rotation player.”

Buescher was a first-team all-Badger South selection.

In earning all-Big Eight -first-team honors for the second year in a row, Carlson continued to elevate her overall game. The junior had 450 kills—5th most in school history—81 aces and led the team in serve receive percentage.

“As good of a year as Amanda had as a sophomore, she was even better this year,” Craig coach Blake Budrow said. “She improved her hitting, especially her ability to hit more corners and lines.

“And her biggest improvement probably came in her back row defense. She did a great job for us on serve receive.”

Despite sitting out 13 matches due to mononucleosis, Hehr still managed to put up huge numbers and earn a second-straight spot on the all-Rock Valley first team.

The junior and Georgia State University recruit had 501 assists as one of the top setters in the state.

“I think the fact that Kampbell missed all those matches and was still was recognized by the conference coaches says a lot about what a special player she is,” Big Foot coach Kaitlin Dowden said.

“She’s a very gifted setter. She has great hands and runs an offense as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Johnson put up some staggering all-around numbers in earning a spot on Teh Gazette team for the second straight year.

The junior had 624 assists, 412 digs, 366 kills and 95 aces. Those are career stats for many players.

“The best thing about Abbey is that she brings all her teammates up to her level,” Brodhead coach Erin Kammerer said. “As a team, we aren’t anywhere without her.

“Teams had to try and game plan against Abbey because she could hurt you in so many ways. She just continues to impress no matter what she’s doing on the court.”

Taylor Salmon had a record-setting season in helping lead Craig to the Big Eight tournament title and a berth in the Division 1 sectional semifinals where the Cougars lost to eventual state champion Burlington.

The junior had a single-season school record 1,283 assists and is now the program’s all-time leader in that category despite only playing the position for two years.

“I think more than anything, Taylor’s court awareness really improved,” Budrow said. “She understood where she needed to go with the ball as far as setting it and finding her teammates.

“She had a great year leading our offense, and I expect an even bigger and better season from her next year.”

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