The most common question asked each August when putting together an area volleyball preview package is this: Which team makes a run this year?
The high-level talent and quality coaching this area produces continually translates into postseason success. Need proof? Throughout the past decade, area teams won 15 regional or district championships, two sectional crowns and one state title.
That meant an abundance of deserving players to choose from in making an all-decade team. Paring it down to eight was no easy task.
Here is the area volleyball all-decade team from 2010-19, as selected by Senior Sports Writer Matt Schuckman:
Sydney Bennett, Setter, Hannibal, Class of 2017
Bennett was the motor for the Pirates' offense as a senior, helping them win 21 matches and the North Central Missouri Conference championship. She finished with 229 assists and 109 digs and added 90 kills to earn all-area honors for the second consecutive season. "She was the rock that held our team together, and no one had more heart than Syd," Hannibal coach Kelsey Ortwerth said.
Cassie Eidson, Setter, Payson Seymour, Class of 2019
Blessed to be surrounded by dominant hitters in her two seasons running the Indians' offense, Eidson made sure those attackers had every opportunity to put the ball down. As a junior, she orchestrated the most dangerous offense in the area, recording 964 assists as Payson won the Class 1A state championship. As a senior, she had 776 assists and was a two-time first-team all-area pick. "Cassie has been the ultimate leader both on and off the court for this team," Indians coach Teresa Loos-Tedrow said.
Madelyn Hyer, Outside hitter, Liberty, Class of 2016
A three-time all-area selection and the 2014 Herald-Whig Player of the Year, Hyer helped the Eagles win back-to-back regional championships and a sectional title her sophomore year when she piled up 243 kills and 351 digs. A knee injury suffered in January of her junior year forced Hyer to play with a clunky leg brace, but she overcame it to lead the Eagles in kills and digs. "Her ability to focus never wavered, and her physical and mental strength was obvious," former Liberty coach Dawn VanCamp said.
Kolby McClelland, Middle hitter, Southeastern, Class of 2017
The 2016 Herald-Whig Player of the Year finished her four-year career second on the state's list of career kills leaders with 1,700. She was the focal point of Southeastern's offense during a four-year stretch in which the Lady Suns won 30 or more matches each season. As a senior, McClelland had 534 kills and a .467 hitting percentage before heading to Murray State University. "Kolby is such a complete player. Her back row skills are just as incredible as her front row skills," Southeastern coach Tim Kerr said.
Rachel Rush, Middle blocker, Unity, Class of 2012
An honorable mention all-state selection by the Champaign News-Gazette as a senior, Rush led the Mustangs to a 31-9 record and their first sectional title since 1995. She was a first-team All-West Central Conference South selection after leading the area with 400 kills and hitting at a .313 clip. Rush went on to play at Quincy University after compiling 256 digs, 58 blocks and 35 aces as a senior.
"Her steady leadership provided the extra boost," Unity coach Seth Klusmeyer said.
Josie Stanford, Middle blocker, Payson Seymour, Class of 2018
The Indians won the Class 1A state championship during Stanford's senior season, and she was at the heart of the attack. The 2017 Herald-Whig Player of the Year had 14 kills in the state title game against Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg and finished the season with 409 kills. The current Arkansas State junior is in the top 20 in IHSA history with 1,458 career kills. "Josie dominates the competition with her skill and volleyball IQ," Indians coach Teresa Loos-Tedrow said.
Melina Tedrow, Libero, Payson Seymour, Class of 2018
The Indians won the Class 1A state championship Tedrow's senior year with an explosive offense, but her defensive contributions were equally as impressive. She had 457 digs and 452 serves received, while contributing 64 aces and 345 service point. That came on the heels of having 305 digs, 199 service points and 46 aces as a junior. "Melina's volleyball IQ is second to none, and she's a leader on the court like no other," Indians coach Teresa Loos-Tedrow said.
Gabbie Wiley, Right side hitter, Hannibal, Class of 2014
A three-time first-team all-area selection and three-time All-North Central Missouri Conference first-team pick, Wiley holds the Hannibal career records for kills (679) and digs (897). As a senior, she finished with 198 kills as the Pirates finished undefeated in NCMC play before going on to play at Louisville. "Gabbie has made a name for herself in our area, along with making a name for Hannibal volleyball," former Hannibal coach Amber Riefesel said.