Sports Stories

After a second-place finish in the Conference 2A Central Region with an 8-2 record, five Sedona Red Rock High School volleyball players were named to the All-Central Region teams.

Senior libero Liza Westervelt was named Defensive Player of the Year as well as the first team libero.

“She deserved it, obviously. I think hands-down she was the best libero in the conference; nobody really tried to get someone else in there,” Scorpions co-head coach Danni Barker said. “She stuck out, everyone in our conference knew what kind of player she was.”

Joining Westervelt on first team was sophomore outside hitter Jacki King. Senior outside hitter Julia Koss landed on second team, while sophomore Morgan Fritz, who mostly played setter before a late shift to middle blocker, and junior opposite Kelsey Woellmer were honorable mention selections.

Westervelt had the seventh most digs in all of Conference 2A with 338, which was tops in the Central Region. She also had 79 service aces, second most in the region by a long shot behind Glendale Preparatory Academy sophomore Caitlin Kao’s 147, which is No. 1 in the entire state regardless of conference.
Scorpions senior libero Liza Westervelt, the Central Region Defensive Player of the Year, serves against Northland Preparatory Academy during senior night on Oct. 24.
Koss had the fifth most kills in the region at 150 to average 2.1 per set. But it was what she did that does not show up on the stat sheet that made her vital to the team’s success.

“She was the smartest player on the court,” Barker said. “She just gets it done quietly. Every game she brought stability and positiveness on the court. She was extremely valuable.”

Aside from statistics, Westervelt’s and Koss’ presence were pivotal. As seniors, they were the driving forces behind the team, highlighted during the four-set win on senior night, Oct. 24, against Northland Preparatory Academy.

“They kept the positive attitude and kept encouraging the younger players and both never wanted to lose,” Barker said. “They kept forcing their will on the other players. When one starts to break down they pick them back up.”

King played just her first year as a full-time varsity outside hitter, but received coaches’ recognition with her first-team selection. The numbers backed her up too: 230 kills in 70 sets played for an average of 3.3 per set. That kill total is 14th best in all of Arizona.

“As a sophomore she really just started playing the game two years ago. It’s pretty impressive and she’s only going to get better,” Barker said. “She’s going to carry the team the next few years.”

Behind Koss on the kills list were Woellmer and Fritz at sixth and seventh, respectively. Woellmer racked up 84 kills on the right side while Fritz had 68 despite playing most of the season as a setter.

Fritz’s 326 assists were second-best, behind Kao’s 888, though as a setter she played in a 4-2 system, meaning that there are two setters playing at once.
Sophomore Morgan Fritz played most of the season at setter but switched to middle blocker for the final stretch, finishing with 326 assists.
“[Fritz] was our all-around player. She didn’t stick out at any one position,” Barker said. “She was our workhorse, she did everything we asked her to do.”

Woellmer and senior middle hitter Chenoa Crans had the two best hitting percentages on the team at 33.5 and 33.3 percent, respectively. Ahead of them were four Glendale Prep players, the only team to beat the Scorpions.

“[Woellmer] was just solid,” Barker said. “She stuck out because of her hitting percentage.”

King and Fritz often combined on defense as well, each totaling 33 blocks to tie for fifth in the region. Crans was third with 39 blocks.

The team will return Woellmer, Fritz, King as well other returning varsity underclassmen: Sophomore Amari Sonn, sophomore Mary Westervelt and junior Abby Stevenson.

Sophomore outside hitter Jacki King, a First Team All-Central Region pick, rises up to swing through the ball against Glendale Preparatory Academy on Oct. 10.


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