The Spinal Column Newsweekly is proud to present its fifth annual All-Area Volleyball Team, made up of the best lakes area varsity volleyball players during the 2012 season.
Team selections were not only based upon players’ statistics, but also on nominations from area coaches; other honors a player has received, such as conference awards; and players’ contributions to their teams.
The selection process was tough considering the abundance of talent on display this season.
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes had its best season in a decade as it not only won its second straight Catholic League East Division title, but also won its first Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class D regional title since 2001 with three All-Area First Team members leading the way.
Huron Valley Lakeland also continued its string of dominance in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) in 2012, as the Eagles won their fifth straight North Division and Lakes Conference championships as first-year Lakeland Head Coach Jean Dukic made a seamless transition from being the program’s junior varsity coach to the helm of its top-level squad.
Also included on the All-Area First Team is a Walled Lake Northern senior who helped the Knights to a runner-up finish in the KLAA North and helped Northern become the only team in the division to advance to the Gold Bracket quarter-finals of the KLAA Tournament.
ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
A Class D Second Team All-State selection by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA), Howell finished the 2012 season with 904 assists and 127 aces in addition to 138 kills, 31 blocks, and 144 digs.
“Haley has been an outstanding leader for my team the past two years. She is a dynamic player, my most consistent server, and her skill stands out on the court,” said Our Lady Head Coach Stephanie Swearingen.
Howell also earned an All-Catholic selection by the Detroit Catholic League for her strong play this season.
Huron Valley Lakeland
An All-Region selection by the MIVCA, Merkle also earned Lakeland’s Most Valuable Player award and Eagle Award this past season.
“Kelly is the complete package. She works hard at all she does and was a great leader on the team. She played in every set sweeping the KLAA North without losing a set,” said Lakeland Head Coach Jean Dukic.
Merkle finished this season with 1,003 assists, 200 kills, 90 aces, and 270 digs as she also earned All-KLAA Lakes Conference honors.
Huron Valley Lakeland
An All-KLAA Lakes Conference selection, Neihaus finished with 442 digs and 71 aces for the 2012 season, as well as 370 serve receptions with only 11 errors.
Junior Outside Hitter
Waterford Our Lady of Lakes
A Class D All-State Honorable Mention by the MIVCA and an All-Catholic selection by the Detroit Catholic League, Krupiak finished with 240 kills, 107 aces, 221 receptions, and 155 digs in helping the Lakers win a regional title this season.
“Kristina is a powerful outside hitter and server. She’s only 5-foot-7, but she’s able to put the ball away around larger blockers,” Swearingen said. “She’s a solid serve receive passer and she’s a great team player.”
Freshman Outside Hitter
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes
A Class D All-State Honorable Mention by the MIVCA and an All-Catholic selection by the Detroit Catholic League, Wightman wasted little time in making an impact with the Lakers.
Finishing the 2012 season with 329 kills, 46 aces, 263 receptions, and 33 total blocks, Wightman gave a glimpse of what Our Lady can expect to see from her in the future.
“Courtney is a young developing player who already makes a huge impact on the court,” Swearingen said. “She is a true all-around player and her athleticism makes her a key player on my team.”
Senior Outside Hitter
Walled Lake Northern
An All-KLAA selection, Lang finished with 441 kills, 50 aces, and 425 digs in helping the Knights finish in the top two of the KLAA North for the fifth consecutive season.
Lang transferred to Northern from Barrington High School in Illinois after the 2011 season and will next take her volleyball talents to the University of Cincinnati.
“Peyton has one of the most powerful swings that I have ever seen for a high school player and she has tremendous control,” said Walled Lake Northern Head Coach Gus Dumlao. “Her passing and defensive skills are outstanding. She is a true terminator on offense and passes and digs very accurately on a consistent basis.”
ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM
• Allison Samulon, right-side hitter, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes;
• Jonna Villemure, senior setter, Huron Valley Milford;
• Brittany Guldan, senior setter/right-side hitter, Walled Lake Central;
• Madison Harris, sophomore outside hitter, Huron Valley Lakeland;
• Courtney Sullivan, middle hitter, Walled Lake Northern; and
• Alex Picardal, freshman libero, Walled Lake Central.
Lindsey Tanner, Huron Valley Lakeland; Shanna Gitre, Huron Valley Lakeland; Jordan Bromley, Huron Valley Lakeland; Madison Carr, Huron Valley Milford; Jillie Ann Butsavitch, Huron Valley Milford; Catelyn Girard, Walled Lake Central; Mikaela Beck, Walled Lake Central; Gabrielle Bauer, Walled Lake Northern; Kathleen Simon, Walled Lake Northern; Elizabeth Rzeznik, Walled Lake Western; Allie Gluchowski, Walled Lake Western; Carley Serowoky, Waterford Kettering; Gabrielle Hilliard, Waterford Kettering; Tara Heald, West Bloomfield; and Jordan White, West Bloomfield.