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2016 All-Nebraska volleyball

The World-Herald names its selections to the 2016 high school volleyball All-Nebraska teams.

RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD

The All-Nebraska first-teamers got to see some of the sights at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum during a recent photo shoot. Thanks to the museum for hosting the athletes — and World-Herald staff. Back row, from left: Malcolm’s Jaela Zimmerman, Papillion-La Vista South’s Taliyah Flores, Millard North’s Elise Baumann and Johnson-Brock’s Fallon Stutheit. Front row, from left: Elkhorn South’s Sarah Swanson, Omaha Skutt’s Alli Schomers and Omaha Skutt’s Brooke Heyne.

ALL-NEBRASKA VOLLEYBALL

Omaha Skutt seniors led SkyHawks to new heights

The All-Nebraska honorary captains capped their careers with a second straight Class B title and a top-five national ranking

It was the most successful volleyball season ever at Omaha Skutt, and two seniors, Brooke Heyne and Alli Schomers, helped make it so.

RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD


Omaha Skutt's Brooke Heyne, left, and Alli Schomers are the honorary captains of the All-Nebraska team.


Related links
» All-Metro volleyball teams
» All-Omaha Area volleyball teams
» Bombers, wingmen highlight All-Class teams
» List: All-Class teams, honorable mentions
» 2016 Nebraska prep volleyball stats leaders

Heyne led the way with 476 kills, tops in Class B. Schomers led the state with 1,372 assists, an all-class record.

Those performances helped the SkyHawks go 44-0 while nailing down the school’s second straight state title. Skutt is ranked third nationally by MaxPreps and fourth by PrepVolleyball.com.

Heyne and Schomers are the honorary captains of the All-Nebraska volleyball team. Schomers is a repeat first-team selection while Heyne moves up from last year’s second team.

RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD


Omaha Skutt's Brooke Heyne, left, and Alli Schomers are the honorary captains of the All-Nebraska team.


Related links
» All-Metro volleyball teams
» All-Omaha Area volleyball teams
» Bombers, wingmen highlight All-Class teams
» List: All-Class teams, honorable mentions
» 2016 Nebraska prep volleyball stats leaders

Joining them on the first team are Sarah Swanson of Elkhorn South, Jaela Zimmerman of Malcolm, Elise Baumann of Millard North, Fallon Stutheit of Johnson-Brock and Taliyah Flores of Papillion-La Vista South.

Second-team selections are Emily Bressman of Omaha Marian, Steph Gaston of Papillion-La Vista, Julianna Kalil of Omaha Duchesne, Averey Yaksich of Omaha Concordia, Madison Jurgens of Diller-Odell, Ashlyn Power of Lincoln Christian and Grace Nelson of Elkhorn.

Members of the third team are Mallory Yost of Gretna, Lucy Skoch of Hastings St. Cecilia, Rylee Pieper of Meridian, Madison Van Housen of Hampton, Dani Prusha of Papillion-La Vista, Lily Heim of Marian and MacKenzie Brandl of Stanton.

Selections for the All-Nebraska and all-class teams are based on observations by World-Herald staff writers and nominations by coaches.

Brooke Heyne

Omaha Skutt, Hitter, 5-10, Sr.

The Kansas State recruit had 395 kills last year and was even better this year while working through a shoulder injury. She averaged more than 17 kills in three state tournament victories for the SkyHawks, who finished as the first undefeated team in Class B since 1999.

“Brooke meant so much to our team,” Skutt coach Renee Saunders said. “She was the total package.”

As a six-rotation player, Heyne made other contributions to the team. She was second on the team in digs (362) and aces (40).

“She’s a real student of the game,” Saunders said. “She’s always looking for an edge and then takes advantage of it.”

Heyne pounded 16 kills in a first-round state tournament match against Aurora and 19 in a semifinal win over Omaha Duchesne. She finished off the tournament with 17 in the championship match, a three-set sweep of Grand Island Northwest.

Saunders said Heyne has been making a meaningful contribution to the SkyHawks since her freshman year.

“Her drive is amazing,” she said. “I know she’s going to go on to a great college career at K-State.”

Alli Schomers

Omaha Skutt, Setter, 5-11, Sr.

Like Heyne, Schomers improved on her impressive junior numbers in her final season at Skutt. The Missouri-Kansas City recruit dished out 1,149 assists last year and had 1,372 this year, breaking the single-season all-class record of 1,341 set in 2007 by Lauren Cook of Lincoln Pius X.

“She created opportunities for our hitters like it was nobody’s business,” Saunders said. “She kept defenses guessing and did a really nice job of spreading things around.”

Schomers didn’t disappoint at state. She had 47 assists in a first-round match against Aurora, 38 in a semifinal victory over Duchesne and 34 in the final against Northwest.

Saunders said Schomers’ contribution went beyond her performances during matches.

“We went into this season with very high expectations,” the coach said. “She was a very good leader and held everyone to the highest standards.”

The SkyHawks hit .387 as a team, a lofty number that goes right back to Schomers.

“If we’d lose a point, it would be Alli who would help get everyone refocused,” Saunders said. “She’d tell everybody that they needed to pick things up and get things done, and our players responded to that.”

Sarah Swanson

Elkhorn South, Hitter, 6-1, Sr.

Like Schomers, Swanson is a return selection from last year’s first team. The TCU recruit finished with 399 kills, 72 blocks and 38 aces for the 20-14 Storm.

“Sarah was an all-around presence for us,” Elkhorn South coach Briana Janda said. “She’s come on to make great strides as a player.”

Primarily a blocker as a freshman, she became more versatile each year. She helped the Storm reach state her first three varsity seasons. But the young team came up just short this year, losing to Aurora in the district final.

“I know she had a tough time with that last loss,” Janda said. “She poured her heart and soul into our program for four years.”

The coach added that Swanson, who finished fourth in Class B in kills, had a knack for scoring despite being the primary blocking target of opposing defenses.

“People knew she was going to get the ball,” Janda said. “But to somehow be able to consistently work around that block and score that many kills, that’s impressive.”

The coach added that Swanson’s leadership skills also were a big part of the Storm’s 20-win season.

“We’re going to miss all of the things that Sarah did for our team,” Janda said. “There’s no question about that.”

Jaela Zimmerman

Malcolm, Hitter, 6-2, Jr.

The 6-foot-2 junior was a key contributor for 34-1 Malcolm, which finished as the Class C-1 state runner-up. The Creighton recruit was second in the state with 543 kills while helping the Clippers finish the regular season undefeated.

“Jaela is the complete package,” Malcolm coach Amber Dolliver said. “She’s a six-rotation player, and that’s something you don’t see too often from a player who is that tall.”

Her strong contribution to the team is evident in many ways. Zimmerman finished with 314 digs, 69 blocks and 45 aces.

“As good as she is at the net, she’s even better in the back row,” Dolliver said. “Wherever she was playing on the court, she was making an impact.”

The three-year varsity player started her high school career as a setter while working through some leg injuries. But once she was able to jump more freely, she moved to her more logical position as an outside hitter.

Zimmerman had some big matches this season, including a 38-kill performance in the district final against Grand Island Central Catholic. She helped the Clippers reach the C-1 final before they lost to Omaha Concordia in three sets.

“She had 24 kills in that final but it wasn’t quite enough,” Dolliver said. “I know that’s something that will motivate her for next year.”

Elise Baumann

Millard North, Hitter, 5-10, Sr.

The 5-10 senior had an outstanding season for the Mustangs, who came on strong at the state tournament to secure their second state title and first since 1987.

Baumann, a Hastings College recruit, finished with 330 kills and was a driving force behind Millard North’s state-tournament effort. She had 10 kills in a first-round sweep of Millard West, 13 in a five-set semifinal upset of top-seeded Papillion-La Vista and 21 in a five-set Class A final win over Papillion-La Vista South.

Playing on a team with just one other senior — 5-11 hitter Madison Johnson — Baumann helped lead the Mustangs to the title in their 21st state tournament appearance. And it was that senior leadership that Millard North coach Lindsay Peterson called upon in the final after the Titans had won the first two sets.

“I took both seniors aside and told them that if they didn’t step up, we were finished,” Peterson said. “And you see what happened.”

After tying the match, the Mustangs prevailed 20-18 in the fifth set to finally put away the Titans. It was Baumann who delivered match point with the final kill of her varsity career.

“Elise was an emotional leader for us all year long, and I can’t say how much that meant to our young team,” Peterson said. “She took the younger players under her wing.”

Fallon Stutheit

Johnson-Brock, Hitter, 6-1, So.

An All-Class D-1 selection last year as a freshman, Stutheit made even greater strides as a sophomore.

She set a D-1 record with 539 kills, breaking the previous mark of 525 set in 1996 by Kim Behrends of Chappell. Stutheit had 86 kills in three state tournament matches to lead Johnson-Brock to its second straight state title and third overall.

She already has expressed her intention to walk on at Nebraska in 2019 with the hope of earning a scholarship.

Her high school coach is her mother, Tera.

“I know it probably could be hard playing for your mom,” Tera Stutheit said. “But she makes it easy because she’s very coachable.”

The 6-foot-1 middle blocker helped the Eagles overcome a district final loss against Meridian to put three solid matches together at state. Stutheit had 36 kills in a first-round win over Blue Hill, 24 in a semifinal victory over West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic and 26 in the payback win over Meridian in the final.

Tera Stutheit said her daughter has worked hard to become more of a complete player, and it’s paying off.

“She worked a lot on her serve-receive and her overall defense,” the coach said. “She wants to be the best she can be, and she still has two more years to go.”

Taliyah Flores

Papillion-La Vista South, Libero, 5-8, Jr.

While technically not a libero, the North Dakota recruit is recognized as one of the top defensive players in the state. Flores was second in Class A with 582 digs while also making her presence felt at the net, pounding 327 kills.

She was perhaps at her best in the state final, after the Titans had defeated Lincoln Pius X and top-ranked Marian. She had 23 kills and 24 digs in the five-set loss to Millard North.

“Taliyah was a big part of our upswing late in the season,” Papio South coach Brad Reichmuth said. “She became more of a vocal leader and our girls really responded to that.”

The coach added that Flores had been a quiet leader before seeing the need to speak up.

“It helps that Taliyah also leads by example,” Reichmuth said. “She’s one of our best players and she really brought it at state.”

The coach said Flores has excelled defensively while remaining a force at the net.

“It’s a good thing she’s tough,” he said. “She might have to take 50 to 60 swings, but she still has something left for defense.”

Reichmuth added that Flores also has a very high volleyball IQ, which serves her well.

“She has great anticipation and is in position before a ball is even hit at her,” he said. “That’s something you just can’t teach.”

402-444-1350, mike.patterson@owh.com, twitter.com/MPattersonOWH

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Behind the scenes: All-Nebraska football, volleyball

Take a peek behind the curtain of the all-Nebraska football and volleyball photo shoot at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland.

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More All-Nebraska selections

ALL-NEBRASKA SECOND TEAM

Emily Bressman, Omaha Marian, Hitter, 5-10, So.

Steph Gaston, Papillion-La Vista, Hitter, 6-5, Sr.

Julianna Kalil, Omaha Duchesne, Hitter, 5-9, Jr.

Averey Yaksich, Omaha Concordia, Hitter, 6-0, Sr.

Madison Jurgens, Diller-Odell, Hitter, 5-10, Sr.

Ashlyn Power, Lincoln Christian, Setter, 5-8, Sr.

Grace Nelson, Elkhorn, Libero, 5-9, Sr.

ALL-NEBRASKA THIRD TEAM

Mallory Yost, Gretna, Hitter, 6-1, Sr.

Lucy Skoch, Hastings St. Cecilia, Hitter, 6-2, Sr.

Rylee Pieper, Meridian, Hitter, 5-9, Jr.

Madison Van Housen, Hampton, Hitter, 5-11, Sr.

Dani Prusha, Papillion-La Vista, Setter, 5-8, Sr.

Lily Heim, Omaha Marian, Setter, 6-0, Jr.

MacKenzie Brandl, Stanton, Libero, 5-5, Sr.


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