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(Jump to first- and second-team All-Europe selections)

The panel of high school coaches that selects the girls’ All-Europe high school volleyball team intensified the case for the defense by selecting two liberos, seniors Alex Simon of Aviano and Sierra Stayberg of Ramstein, to this year’s first team.

“I think it’s fantastic that defense is being recognized,” said Vicky Westland of Brussels, who along with Kelly Choate of Mannheim, Kathy Clemmons of Hohenfels, Pam and Hans Hillestad of Aviano and Hia Sebastian of Ramstein chose the 24 players granted All-Europe status for 2007. “And the two [chosen] are great examples of the position.”

For the uninitiated, a libero is a defensive specialist who rotates through the back row and whose presence in high school volleyball in Europe goes back just three seasons. This year’s choices — including Stayberg’s back-up Karis Wadsack, selected to the second team as a libero-outside hitter — are the first to make the All-Europe first team under that name.

Responsible for the breakthrough of the libero is the increasing sophistication of DODDS-Europe volleyball, due at least partly to the annual summer camp run by the Hillestads at Aviano, according to Hohenfels’ Clemmons.

Because of the instruction about playing libero, “More teams utilized that position this year,” Clemmons said.

“They definitely are specialized players,” Mannheim’s Choate said. “If you have someone who can play the position, it’s a definite advantage for the team.”

Elaborated Clemmons, “People who play that position have quick hands and quick feet to get under hits. They have court sense that you really can’t coach. If you have that player, you’re really playing seven against six.”

Not coincidentally, the two 2007 first-team liberos were vital cogs in European championship teams. Stayberg, according to Sebastian, averaged 5.58 digs per game in Ramstein’s undefeated 59 regular-season games and posted 138 digs in the tournament run that produced the team’s third straight European title.

In nominating Stayberg for All-Europe, Sebastian wrote, “Sierra’s keen ability to anticipate the ball and read the opposing team’s offense, coupled with her eye-hand coordination and quickness …” enabled Ramstein to transition from defense to kill-tries of its own.

Simon was “the best all-around player” on a Saints squad that rolled to the European D-II crown, according to Aviano’s husband-wife coaching duo of Hans and Pam Hillestad. Aviano did not keep statistics on digs.

Neither libero worked alone, obviously. Joining Stayberg on the first team was Ramstein setter-outside hitter Charnel Austin, the only sophomore on the first 12.

Supplementing Simon on the first team were Aviano seniors Tiffany Hight, a middle hitter who made the second team in 2006, and setter Danielle Garcia.

Three first-teamers from 2006 made the 2007 squad at the same level — senior Nicole Doeden of Frankfurt International School, and juniors Lisa McBride of Lakenheath and Bethany Walcott of Rota’s D-IV champs.

No players from Division III champion Marymount made All-Europe. Division III’s lone representative on the top 24, in fact, was first-team junior setter-hitter Katrina Alsup of runner-up Baumholder.

Two second-team players from 2006 repeated on the 2007 second 12 — seniors Lizz McVicker of D-IV runner-up Brussels and Courtney Roberson of Bitburg.

They are among the 13 All-Europe 24 who completed their high school volleyball careers last month. Nine juniors and two sophomores, Ramstein’s Austin and second-teamer Liene Bauska of SHAPE, round out Europe’s best 24 of 2007.

First- and second-team All-Europe selections

First team

Player School Grade Position Stats/Comment

Katrina Alsup Baumholder 11 Setter/hitter “MVP-quality tournament”

Charnel Austin Ramstein 10 Setter/OH 149 kills, 176 assts, 9 blocks

Ebonee De Vos SHAPE 11 Middle hitter 31 aces, 14 blocks, 5 kills

Nicole Doeden Frankfurt Int'l. School 12 Middle hitter 5 kills, 3.4 blocks per game

Lisa Domingo Kaiserslautern 12 MB 3.7 kills, 1 block per game

Danielle Garcia Aviano 12 Setter 278 assts in 39 sets; 41 aces

Tiffany Hight Aviano 12 Middle hitter 209 kills in 406 attempts

Lisa McBride Lakenheath 11 Setter 215 assts, 69 aces

Portia Short Mannheim 12 MH/MB "Advanced volleyball skills"

Alex Simon Aviano 12 Libero 48 aces in 172 serves

Sierra Stayberg Ramstein 12 Libero 11.15 touches, 5.58 digs/gm

Bethany Walcott Rota 11 MB 130 kills, 41 blocks, 49 aces

Second team

Liene Bauska SHAPE 10 Middle hitter "Most consistent player"

Kirsten Bot Lakenheath 11 Outside hitter 45 kills, 62 digs, 30 aces

Rebekah Chew Black Forest Acad. 12 Outside hitter 111 regular-season kills, 61 digs

Kayleigh Cradeur Rota 12 Setter 89 asst, 34 aces 7 kills, 2 blocks

Teri Henderson Heidelberg 11 Outside hitter 54 kills, 14 aces

Tylisa Hendrix Kaiserslautern 12 MB 3.9 kills per game

Alyssa Lane Aviano 11 Middle hitter 132 kills, 92 percent serving

Lizz McVicker Brussels 12 Setter/OH 77.96 serving percent

Emily Mittag Hohenfels 11 S/defense 3 pt-saving digs/gm, 5 in tournament

Caitlin Quinn Brussels 12 Setter/OH 26 percent kill efficiency

Courtney Roberson Bitburg 12 Middle hitter 86 kills, 43 aces, 111 digs

Karis Wadsack Ramstein 11 Libero/OH 43 kills, 150 digs, 50 aces

All-Europe individuals

The top performers in DODDS-Europe’s individual sports also reaped All-Europe recognition based on their order of finish in October’s European championships:

Cross country Girls

First team: Maggie Redmond, Patch; Rachel Poock, Bitburg; Shelby Whatley, Lakenheath; Sandra Davidson, Bitburg; Soledad Padilla, SHAPE; Stephanie Polzer, Ramstein; Shelby Yoakum, Aviano.

Second team: Elizabeth Doe, Ramstein; Kaitlin Swanstrom, Lakenheath; Jade Thrasher, Bitburg; Victoria Lyle, Ramstein; Alexa Polenz, Ramstein; Amber Core, Vilseck; Lauren Brousseau, Heidelberg.

Boys

First team: Kelis Secrest, Ramstein; John Markman, Naples; Baudoin Fort, International School of Brussels; Ryan Poock, Bitburg; Daniel Slade, Aviano; Kevin Edwards, Ramstein; Blake Langford, Heidelberg.

Second team: Walker Nikolaus, Ramstein; Will Barnes, Ramstein; Kyle Murray, Wiesbaden; Matt Lein, Ramstein; Dillon Wadsack, Ramstein; Arley Morelock, Frankfurt International School; Joshua Hoffman, Lakenheath.

Golf

First team: Gabbi Dellick, Aviano; Elizabeth Ward, Ramstein; Craig Herron, Ramstein; Gavon Byrd, Ramstein; Carlton Casso, Lakenheath; Jonathan Collett, Ramstein.

Second team: Barbara Burriss, Kaiserslautern; Sarah Fowler, Heidelberg; Kai Pope, Lakenheath; Kevin Langford, Ramstein; Ben Meyer, Ramstein; Jeremy Gurr, Kaiserlsautern.

Tennis

First team: Nick Garcia, Heidelberg; Sean Stokstad, Ramstein; Krista Citkovska, SHAPE; Kara Williamson, ISB; Eric Radvany and Clay Marquardt, Ramstein; Brady Covington and Shota Morisaka, ISB; Nancy Jensen and Jessica Smith, Wiesbaden; Heather Acre and Melanie Seitz, AFNORTH.

Second team: Edouard Van der Mersch, ISB; Patrick Barrenechea, Wiesbaden; Lindsey Jones, Ramstein; Chelsea Cotter, Heidelberg; Sean Crowley and Jacob Schoonover, Patch; Zein Nour and Alessandro Trombetta Mabbs, Marymount International School of Rome; Tamara Casteels and Ayumi Sakakikibara, ISB; Nikki Ecenrode and Andrea Wheatcroft, Heidelberg.

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