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Some members of the seven-coach selection panel chaired by DODDS-Europe athletic director Karen Seadore wanted to do more than merely pick a 2009 All-Europe high school volleyball team.

They wanted to suit it up and watch the selectees play.

“This year’s team (two 12-player squads) was full of talented players,” said Vilseck coach Brian Swenty, a panel member. “We all commented on how great it would be to take these players to a tournament and find out how good they can be together.”

Judging from their accomplishments in the 2009 season, indications are that the current All-Europeans would give a good account of themselves.

For example, the four All-Europeans from Ramstein — three-time first-teamer Charnel Austin, 2008 first-teamer Mackenzie Bannister and first-time all-stars Nadia Booker of the first team and Lauren Maza of the second — led the Lady Royals to an 18-0 season and the Division I title.

And two players elected to the second team, 2008 second-teamer Sammi Dozier and her senior teammate Jenny Horadan, kept Naples unbeaten at 13-0 during the regular season.

First-teamers Debby Fowler and Anne Stefan sparked Black Forest Academy to the European D-II crown, and Kathleen Anderson, a first-teamer in 2008 and 2009, and her teammate Dianet Preciado helped Brussels repeat as European champion for the smallest schools.

In all, eight of 2009’s top 24 made the squad in 2008, giving the potential All-Europe squad plenty of background to exploit should they manage to find a game.

“I think the thing that strikes me is the level of experience across the board,” Aviano coach Pam Hillestad e-mailed last week of the team she helped pick. “The majority of these girls play club volleyball and go to camps in the summer. They love the game….”

The experience factor also helps explain the presence of just two sophomores — setter-middle blocker Liene Bauska of SHAPE and middle blocker Jasmine Mailoto of Aviano — among 2009’s Top 24. Fourteen seniors and eight juniors complete the roster.

“There are so many good juniors and seniors in Europe that it is very difficult for a 10th-grader to make the Top 24,” Vilseck’s Swenty pointed out. “When you see it, that person is someone special….”

The All-Europeans’ experience, whatever their year in school, shows in some gaudy stats.

Playing an average of 50-60 games each, no fewer than 10 of the top 24 slammed down more than 100 kills, led by Austin’s 146.

Austin’s teammate, Lauren Maza, a 2009 second-teamer and the only libero selected among the top 24, served successfully at an astounding .950 rate. Taylor Wright of Lakenheath, also a second-teamer, served aces better than half the time (69 in 139 attempts) and came up with an astounding 265 digs.

“Arguably the best all-around athlete at the tournament this year, she can do things on the court I haven’t seen anyone do before,” Lakenheath coach David Hagander wrote in nomination of his co-captain. “

Athletic ability was the big criterion for the 2009 All-Europeans, according to selection panelist Eric Vining of European D-II runner-up Bitburg. Vining said that for selection purposes, position was just a place to stand while the ball was being served.

“The best players were chosen regardless of position,” he said in an e-mail. “This was based on stats, play, etc.”

Vining said the choice of excellence over positional symmetry shows in the dominance of hitters and setters on the team.

“If you look at both teams, you’ll see they are dominated by middle hitters,” he wrote. “It’s been my experience in DODDS that the tallest and usually the best player plays the middle. Also, note that a lot of setters made it, as the connection between kills and setting is obvious.”

As is the level of skill on the school system’s latest all-star team.

“Often, people say that DODEA athletes cannot compete against high schools in the States,” Swenty said, “but I know what high-level volleyball players look like…. We could definitely show some teams a thing or two. The fact that so many of our players are now being recruited to compete in college is testament to that.”

All-Europe volleyball 2009

First team

Player School Class Psn. Stats, coach's comment

Kathleen Anderson Brussels Sr. MB 132 kills, 32 solo blocks, 11 blk assts, 41 digs

Charnel Austin Ramstein Sr. S/OH 146 kills, 3.3 asst/gm, 60 aces, .814 svc pct.

Mackenzie Bannister Ramstein Sr. S/OH 85 kills, 39 aces, .929 svc pct., 7 solo blks

Edite Bauska SHAPE Jr. Setter 75 kills, 161 assists in 10 matches

Liene Bauska SHAPE So. S/MB 107 kills, 108 assists, 20 blks in 10 matches

Nadia Booker Ramstein Sr. MH 106 kills, 30 solo blocks, 26 block assists

Debby Fowler BFA Sr. MH 121 kills, 14 solo blacks, 38 digs, 37 aces

Tatjana Gainey Kaiserslautern Jr. OH 70 kills, 13 stuff blocks in regular season

Emily Kroloff Bitburg Sr. Setter 107 assists, .920 svc pct., 9 aces, 16 kills

Abbey McConnell Patch Jr. S/OH 40 aces, .869 server, 60 kills, 89 assists

Anna Muzzy Vilseck Jr. OH/MB 181 kills, 24 solo blks, 12 blk assts, 60 aces

Anne Stefan BFA Sr. OH .880 server, 29 aces, 119 kills, 93 digs

Second team

Player School Class Psn. Stats, coach's comment

Najja Beaulieu-Hains Vilseck Sr. OH/MB 121 kills, .910 server, 7 solo blks, 10 blk assts

Monique Boliko Marymount Sr. MB Stats not kept; made team on tourney play.

Claralyn Burt Patch Jr. MB 56 kills, 48 blks. "Timing ... is outstanding."

Sammi Dozier Naples Sr. MH 4 kills, 5 block assists, 2 digs/game

Jenny Horadan Naples Sr. Setter 15 assts/match; 60 svc winners on season

Milan Juliano Vicenza Jr. Setter Stats not kept; "always the floor captain."

Jasmine Mailoto Aviano So. MB 3.9 kills/set, 19 blocks, 9 digs on season

Lauren Maza Ramstein Sr. Libero .950 server, 14 aces, 55 digs in 80 attempts

Dianet Preciado Brussels Sr. MB-H/OH 21 aces, 43 kills, 48 digs, 5 solo blks

LeAmber Thomas Wiesbaden Jr. OH 102 kills, 59 aces, 5 blks in regular season

Taylor Wright Lakenheath Sr. OH 102 kills, 69 aces, 265 digs, 19 solo blks

Madeline Zitka Alconbury Jr. MH 112 kills, 19 blocks, 11 aces

Repeat selections: Kathleen Anderson (Brussels), first team 2008; Charnel Austin (Ramstein), first team 2007, 2008; Mackenzie Bannister (Ramstein), first team 2008; Edite Bauska (SHAPE), second team 2008; Liene Bauska (SHAPE), first team, 2008; Sammi Dozier (Naples), second team 2008; Tatjana Gainey (Kaiserslautern), first team 2008; Anna Muzzy (Vilseck), second team 2008

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