All-Europe volleyball veterans helped make others better players
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This year’s All-Europe high school volleyball team is loaded with veteran players whose experience and talent helped make both their teammates and opponents better.
One of those veterans is Ansbach senior Brittney Britton. Britton, who registered 22 aces, 41 kills and 15 blocks during the season, was a driving force in Ansbach’s surge to the European Division III championship in October.
“She’s my girl!” said Kathy Clemmons, coach for Division III rival Hohenfels. “I’ve watched her for three years. She doesn’t have any weaknesses. She plays strong defense, hits from all over the court and has amazing anticipation. She knows exactly where the ball is going every time.”
Another is middle blocker Ashley Mead, a senior at Aviano.
“I’m sad to see Ashley go,” Sigonella coach Shawn McCarthy said of Mead, a second-team All-Europe pick as a junior who averaged 3.1 kills per set in the European tournament.
“She cost us the Italy championship, but in the end it’s about great volleyball. She helped our team get to a higher level by posing such a challenge to us.”
The same could be said of outside hitter Liz Lally, a senior at Sigonella, who transferred to Europe last year. That was enough time for her to impress the opposition.
“We saw her here and in Sigonella,” Naples coach Eric Vining said of Lally, who chalked up 30 kills, 10 aces and three blocks in a European semifinal against Ansbach.
“She’s a tremendous talent.”
Mead’s teammate at Aviano, senior setter AuBree Mariz, made the first team for the second straight year, one of only three players to repeat. The others were a pair of outside hitters — Frankfurt International School sophomore Lindsay Albert and Heidelberg junior Natasha Holan.
Said Patch coach Todd Taylor of Mariz, who chalked up 70 assists in the Division II tournament, “She’s the best setter I’ve seen. She’s a great all-around volleyball player who plays with a lot of intelligence. She made good choices every time she touched the ball.”
Of the first-team repeaters, Heidelberg’s Rich Bennett was particularly taken with Albert.
“She’s a really tremendous spiker,” Bennett said. “She does everything for her team.”
According to FIS coach Tom Callahan, Albert averaged 18 kills per match.
Holan, who averaged 6.1 kills per game in the tournament for Bennett’s Division I champions, drew raves from McCarthy.
“She has amazing form,” McCarthy said. “Once the ball gets to the setter, she clears out and gets into position to make the kill. Even though some of her attempts were returned, all of them were in bounds.”
In addition to Aviano’s Mead, two other 2003 second-teamers, senior middle blockers Caitlin Laingen of Alconbury’s Division IV champions and Ehrin Hopkins of Patch were promoted to 2004’s first team. Three seniors made the all-Europe team for the first time: Lakenheath middle blocker Ashley Lariviere, Heidelberg setter Jessica Palaschakm and Ramstein outside hitter Heather Steele.
Rounding out the selections was Hopkins’ teammate Kasy’e Lalau, who made the team for the first time.
“I remember her being all over the place,” Naples’ Vining said of Lalau, a sophomore outside hitter. “She was just as strong in the back as she was in the front.”
2004 All-Europe volleyball
Player School Class Statistics
AuBree Mariz Aviano Sr. 3.9 assists per set in Division II tournament.
Jessica Palaschak Heidelberg Sr. 172 assists; 65-for-67 serves in D-1 tourney.
Brittney Britton Ansbach Sr. 15 blocks in 66 tries; 41 kills in 186 hits.
Ehrin Hopkins Patch Sr. 137 kills, 49 blocks in 57 games.
Caitlin Laingen Alconbury Sr. 161 kills, 19 blocks, 106 digs, 154 svc. pts.
Ashley Lariviere Lakenheath Sr. 6 blocks (4 stuffs), 8 kills, 7 digs per game.
Ashley Mead Aviano Sr. 56 kills, 15 aces in 18 sets at D-2 tourney.
Lindsey Albert Frankfurt Int. Soph. 18 kills/game; 80-for-80 serves in tourney.
Natasha Holan Heidelberg Jr. 365 kills (.366 pct.); 11 solo blocks.
Kasy'e Lalau Patch Soph. 108 kills, 67 aces in 57 games.
Liz Lally Sigonella Sr. 63 kills, 12 blocks, 36 aces in Euro tourney.
Heather Steele Ramstein Sr. 70 kills, 93 digs in 46 games.
Player School Class Position
Kelsey Anderson London Cent. Soph. Outside hitter
Carly Bascom Alconbury Soph. Setter
Katie Cordova Ramstein Sr. Outside hitter
Kelsey Garrity BFA Sr. Setter/middle blocker
Heather Hall Patch Jr. Setter
Alison Hazen Ansbach Sr. Middle blocker
Jessica Linka Vilseck Sr. Setter
Lindsay Mansfield Lakenheath Sr. Setter
Alania McKinnis Vilseck Soph. Middle blocker
Tiffany Nemelka Würzburg Sr. Setter
Julia Roberson Heidelberg Jr. Outside hitter
Megan Woodward BFA Jr. Outside hitter
Selection panel: Rich Bennett, Heidelberg; Shanon Bryant, Ramstein; Pam Hillestad, Aviano; Susan Payne, London Central; Kori Pollock, Vilseck