Posted On: 11/8/17 12:05 PM

Toward the start of the year I was having a conversation with Omaha Duchesne coach Andrew Wehrli. During that conversation, the coach shared with me an idea he had. An absolutely wonderful idea.

Across the state every year there are hard-working seniors that have sacrificed a lot for their school’s volleyball program but don’t see the playing time that others do. Wouldn’t it be cool to recognize those kids, the coach asked me.

Yes, it sure would.

So, an email was sent to every coach in the state asking them if they had any “unsung” seniors that didn’t play much but made a positive impact on the team with their attitude, dedication and willingness to be a team player. The response was overwhelming. From those responses, the PrepDig Nebraska Unsung Senior All-State Team was born.

Below are the seniors who have earned that All-State recognition and a brief description of them. If you are looking for athletes that epitomize what Nebraska values and hard work is all about, these are your kids.

*Listed Alphabetically

2017 Unsung Senior All-State Team

Chloe Andersen, Plattsmouth

Chloe is truly an amazing young lady.  She has committed herself to volleyball since middle school.  She builds strong relationships with just about everyone she meets.  Chloe takes the time to get to know people and truly listens to them.  Besides maintaining an incredible academic load, she is a remarkable asset to the Plattsmouth Band as well as the Plattsmouth Track Team.  She also serves on the Plattsmouth Student Council and she is a captain on the Plattsmouth Volleyball Team.  Although Chloe has not seen the court much as a varsity player, she has done an outstanding job being a prominent leader for our team.  The players on this team enjoy being around her as she is always so very positive.  I look for Chloe Andersen to do some phenomenal things on her new journey after high school.  We, as a coaching staff have appreciated our small part in her high school development.  We are grateful for her service to her team and our volleyball family.” – Plattsmouth coach Marla Smith

Kaitlynn Barrett, Eustis-Farnam

“Our team has been very intentional about working to elevate our team and fan culture. Kaitlynn has a has been a driving force in the success of that over that last three years. She brings a positive spirit and voice to every player and play. With only three wins this year, one might expect the morale to be low. However, thanks in part to Kaitlynn’s attitude and selflessness, the season has been one of the most enjoyable. She will truly be missed and I hope the rest of the team will follow her lead in years to come.” – Eustis-Farnam coach Trista Koch 

Heather Bauer, Elgin Public-Pope John

“She has lifted almost every day during the summer the past 4 years.  She attended almost every camp that she could, was at every open gym and always gave 100% at practice.  This girl supports her teammates, has no problem being a leader from the bench; she just wishes she could be out there playing.  When called upon she is always ready and willing to play any position that I put her into.  She is a great kid off the court as well. And she always has a great sense of humor that can make her teammates laugh as well as do all of their hair!” – Elgin Public-Pope John coach Tina Thiele-Blecher

Sydney Becker, Hartington Cedar Catholic

“Sydney has been on varsity for two years. She is the most upbeat person on our team and has the enthusiasm on the bench that helps fuel our team. Sydney works hard in practice every day and helps run our second team. Sydney’s legacy will continue on even after she has graduated with all the younger players she has helped prepare for varsity action. She is a true role model on what it is to be a team player because she could easily go to another team and be an impact player. Her hard work is outstanding and she is just as much a reason that our varsity is doing so well.” – Hartington Cedar Catholic coach Denae Buss

Grace Blusys, Elkhorn South

“Grace Blusys is the epitome of well-rounded student-athlete.  Grace has been a member of the Elkhorn South Volleyball program for four years.  During her time on the team she has also accomplished more than most in the classroom.  Grace has a GPA of 4.211 and is ranked 3rd of 305 students in her class.  She has challenged herself by taking 8 Advanced Placement courses.  Her exceptionally high academics has been recognized nationally by being honored as a National Merit Semi Finalist.  Despite her heavy academic course load, Grace is also in clubs such as National Honors Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, DECA, and Pep Club.  Outside of school she volunteers at Womanade of Elkhorn, True Buddy Program, and St. Vincent DePaul Society and she tutors.  Grace embraced her role this year as a practice player and comes to practice giving one hundred percent to make her team better.  Although she is a DS on the roster, Grace has been willing to step in and fill any role we need during practice, such as being the scout team setter.  She is a true team player and our program would not be the same without her.” – Elkhorn South coach Briana Janda

Emily Breinig, Maxwell

“Emily rarely sees any court time.  She is always there with a smile and provides the team with funny antics to keep them going as needed.  The team wouldn’t be the same team without this fun-loving gal alongside us. I’m super proud of Emily and feel like she brings great balance to this team and completes us!!!” – Maxwell coach Gina Sommer.

Monica Corado, Lexington

“Monica is a quiet unsung hero of the Lexington Minutemaids.  If you come watch us you probably wouldn’t even notice her, as she is barely 5″0 feet tall, but she doesn’t let that define her.  Her infectious personality can always been seen on the bench.  She has done nothing but be positive and cheer on her teammates everyday in practice and in games.” – Lexington coach Samantha Hammond

Mercedes DeJonge, Franklin

“Mercedes practices hard each and every day and is a leader on the court: especially for the underclassman. She has also helped the starters get better by being a quality player to practice against in practice. At the end of the year, Mercedes encountered a season ending injury during a junior varsity game, but that has not hindered her encouraging spirit from the sidelines.” – Franklin coach Elizabeth Janssen

Kayla Dodson, Lincoln Pius X

Kayla has been with the Pius X volleyball program for 4 years. Her senior year ended early as she suffered injury, resulting in her not being able to participate. She continues to support the team by helping at practice, providing positive feed back to her teammates, and works with all members of the program, helping them to become better. Kayla wants others to be successful and shows it through her support of the team.

Kaytee Eberhardt, Dorchester

“Kaytee is everything I could’ve possibly imagined as a senior leader and more. She stepped up and filled the role of captain positively with only one coal in mind, having a great year for Dorchester Volleyball. We lost a ton of great volleyball players in last year’s graduating class. Many expected this to be a down year for Dorchester Volleyball. While the record is certainly not what it was last year, the seniors in this group have ensured that we remain competitive and there is no feel of “rebuilding year” here. Though I know she hasn’t played at the level she’d like, nor as often as she’d like, she’s never let her teammates down. She’s remained a positive member of the program, expecting nothing short of the best from herself and her teammates. Kaytee’s contribution to this team cannot be overstated. Without her, this season’s Longhorns would not have accomplished what we have, nor would we be able to accomplish what I know is still ahead of us. Kaytee is vital to our team’s success.” – Dorchester coach Ty Peteranetz

Emily Ellis, Pender

“Emily has only played in a handful of matches this year and the playing time has been limited to receiving about one serve per game. She has never missed a practice this entire year and continues to cheer on her team no matter what the score is. During the games, she is the first person I go to when I miss a block and she will let me know if they hit over our block, we didn’t close our block or we weren’t over far enough, etc. She takes time to learn the game even when she doesn’t see much playing time.” – Pender coach Kayla Brewer 

Hayden Epley, Lawrence-Nelson

“Hayden may not see the playing time, but her role on our team is just as crucial as anyone else’s. She comes to practice every day, works hard, and pushes her teammates to become better athletes. More importantly though, she has a way of uniting and uplifting her teammates when they need it most. She can bring a smile to anyone’s face. As her coach, I’m so proud of both the athlete and person she has become. She’s someone that I definitely appreciate having on the team.” – Lawrence-Nelson coach Jamie Lay

McKenna Erthum, Ainsworth

“McKenna has been a member of the team all through junior high and high school. She has played a huge role on our team. She knows every position on the court, is an encouraging teammate, and is always helping teammates and younger players on and off the court. She understands the game and is an extremely hard worker. McKenna has worked to make herself and her teammates better each and every single day. She is selfless and dedicated. When her role changed early in the season, she took it in stride and stayed positive, working to make her team better. McKenna is the definition of a true teammate. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor. “ – Ainsworth coach Misty Wroblewski

Larren Fear, Sutherland

“Larren has been a dedicated member of our team all 4 years of high school.  Larren’s words and actions have consistently demonstrated a “team first” attitude despite having few opportunities to contribute on the court this past year.  She works hard in practice and is a constant presence in the off season as well.  Larren has also had a tremendous impact on her teammates by being a positive role model in other areas of her life.  Larren is a dedicated student at our school with a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance each year of her career.  She is active in many other activities outside of volleyball, such as FBLA, Student Council, National Honor Society and the Scarlets Dance Team, which allow her to further demonstrate leadership qualities.  Larren has also persevered through tough times, including the sudden death of her father a couple years ago, and continues to work hard to achieve her goals.  Larren Fear is deserving of recognition as an Unsung Senior for her positive impact on our team and our school.” – Sutherland coach Valerie Kershner

Brianna Forman, Battle Creek

“Brianna is another of our seven seniors.  Brianna is not a part of our regular rotations, and has been a victim to a badly sprained ankle for most of the season.  We just now got her back into the practice routine and we are glad to have her back in action.  She provides our front row with some tough blocking in practice and also provides our defense a solid hitting attack.  This has, and will continue to, help our rotations become stronger units.  Brianna’s attitude has always been so upbeat and we’re glad she is a part of our program!” – Battle Creek coach Cody Wintz

Keeleigh Fankhauser, Norris

“Keeleigh has been a great leader for our team. Although Keeleigh is not a regular starter for us, she has such a positive impact on our team. I appreciate her willingness to come to practice every day and work hard, and strive to continue to get better. She is a key leader to get our bench fired up during games. Her positive enthusiasm is very contagious.”  – Norris coach Christina Boesiger

Kiley Haag, Syracuse

“There is no position on any team that is more difficult. Not being in the starting line-up takes tons of character, determination, guts and discipline than is needed when you’re fortunate enough to play all the time. The real test of what you’re really made of comes when things don’t go your way, when you don’t get the starting spot and have to sit when you’d much rather be playing. It is truly inspiring how hard she comes to work every single day not only for herself but for her teammates and I can’t thank her enough.” – Syracuse coach Courtney Van Groningen

Amelia Hanson, Seward

“Amelia is one of our team captains and is a great leader on and off the court. She works extremely hard in practice each day and is constantly praising her teammates during practices and matches. She always encourages her teammates during matches and is a positive role model for our younger players and always puts the team ahead of herself. She helps organize team activities and is willing to do whatever it takes to make her teammates and the team better. I have coached 34 years and Amelia is the best team captain and leader that I have had the pleasure to coach.” – Seward coach Tom Pallas

McKenna Haussermann, Franklin

During her freshman year, McKenna learned that her shoulders would never function as well as her peers. Despite this setback, McKenna has preserved and has grown into a consistent server. McKenna as a senior is a leader to younger players—especially during practice—and often is asked to lead during C games as our libero.” – Franklin coach Elizabeth Janssen

Megan Hicks, Papillion-LaVista

“She is a very hard worker that leads our Monarch Volleyball Advisory. This advisory talks about how to make the team better in ways that may not always be volleyball skill related.  Megan brings great ideas and she has been an asset to the team during practices and helps get everyone prepared for games!” – Papillion-LaVista coach Kristen Lebeda-Svehla

Lauren Hoeft, David City

“Lauren has played four years of volleyball for the lady Scouts. She brings a very positive attitude to practice and is always willing to push others to do her best. She has been a great leader this year not only on the bench but by showing the ropes to the underclassmen. Lauren has been a great role player this year and always strives to get better in practice.” – David City coach Emily Maresh

Jayden Ingold, Wauneta-Palisade

“Jayden is a senior outside.  She has been flexible the last two years in playing any position we need her in.  She always shows up for practice with a good attitude and pushes her teammates to be the best that they can be.  Jayden does not get a lot of playing time in Varsity matches but she is always cheering her teammates on and encouraging them from the bench.  She is very deserving of this recognition!” – Wauneta-Palisade coach Terra Higgins

Skylar Jacobsen, Scribner-Snyder

Skylar became ill following her sophomore year so she has not been able to play for the past two years due to her medical condition. Skylar continues to be a bright and cheerful team member from the bench and has been very involved with helping to keep some of our stats this year. She does not make every game, but she is there when her health lets her and she is always willing to help out when and where she can. Even though she isn’t a player who sees court time, she is a team member.” – Scribner-Snyder coach Shelly Schulenberg

Jessica Kapels, Columbus Lakeview

“As a senior, Jessica has worked hard in practice every day, has performed when put into a match, has laughed with her teammates, and simply been great to be around.” – Columbus Lakeview coach KC Belitz

Brenna Kelly, Millard North

Brenna made the team because she has worked her tail off since joining our program. She had never played volleyball leading up to high school. She made the freshman team, then the reserve team, worked her way onto the JV team, and finishes her senior year on varsity. She is the kind of kid every coach hopes to have, not just as a player but as a person. She encourages her teammates, works hard to keep the bench involved, and always knows when to crack a joke when things are too stressed. She gives feedback from the bench and the players really look up to her. Brenna has only played in 12 sets this year, and some of them haven’t been full sets or even more than five points. I have never once heard her complain and in fact she is usually the most positive person I have.” – Millard North coach Lindsay Peterson

Adison Kerchal, Waverly

“Adison Kerchal is a senior DS who was my libero last season.  She is a 4-year Varsity player.  Adison has played a major role on-court on my team in the past, but has had to take steps away in consideration of the health of her back.  After her junior season was completed she was barely able to walk without pain, and she knew something had to change as quality of life was a real consideration.  Adison knew her role on the team would not be as the libero, or even nearly what it had been in the past, but instead of feeling sorry for herself, embraced the chance to play a much different, but essential role, for our team.  Adison’s role this year is a serving sub for a position – then when her serve is sided-out, she comes right back out.  However, what Adison does for us on the bench as one who encourages her teammates, watches the match with “coaches eyes” and finds openings to score or where we are vulnerable on defense, and leads her team in a very adult-like way has been invaluable.  In many ways she has become a “team mom” and servant leader as well, doing lots of behind the scenes things to keep the team focused, or those seemingly menial tasks that teams love to avoid doing.  Adison is that selfless woman of great character who not only has impacted our team, but will have an impact on the world because of it.” – Waverly coach Terri Neujahr

Halee Kohmetscher, Blue Hill

“Halee has seen limited time as a volleyball player and has remained positive and upbeat.  She continues to be a leader for us. What makes me most impressed with Halee is the cards that she has been dealt.  She lost her mom when she was an 8th grader.  The very sad part about this, it was on Mother’s Day. On September 15th, this year, I lost my mom. Halee has been a rock and comfort to me.  How many 18 year olds, check on their coach?  Halee stops in my room and texts me to make sure I’m doing okay. Halee is one of those players that spent time in the weight room, attended open gym and summer camps.  She is a natural leader with a bright future!” – Blue Hill coach Kristi Allen.

Jessica Kuehn, Kennesaw

“Jessica has played on the volleyball team all 4 years and has patienly waited to her chance and it has worked out that she has gotten very limited playing time.  I do not watch my bench during the game, but when I go and watch film I notice that she is always the first one off the bench to cheer on her teammates after a big point or even encouraging her teammates when things are not going our way.  She comes to practice everyday ready to work and help make her teammates better.  I know it is not what she wants, but she does not keep her from working hard and cheering on her teammates.” – Kenesaw coach Christian Kroos

Ana Leise, Mead

“Ana was voted as a team captain this year by her team because of her positive attitude even when on the bench.  She is always positive on the bench helping those who get subbed out or in even though she isn’t going in herself.  She isn’t afraid to hold her team accountable and works hard every day in the practice gym to make the starters better.  Ana suffers from a disease that has caused her to be legally blind (will never be able to drive) and she doesn’t let that hold her back.  She overcomes more obstacles than most players will ever face but instead of sulking; she is always motivating others.”  – Mead coach Keshia Havelka

Abbey Maul, Lincoln Pius X

“Abbey has been with the program for 4 years. This year she has stepped up in practice by stepping into any role she is asked, sets hitters in drills to make the defense work hard, asks how she can contribute more to the team, is always cheering, giving a high five when needed, being a supportive team member, and helping younger kids learn and develop their own volleyball skills. Abbey wants the team to be successful and always tries to find a way to help the team be better.” – Lincoln Pius X coach Katie Wentz 

Jayden McDuffee, Fremont

“Jayden McDuffee is our “integrity” girl!  She models “walking the talk” to her team mates.  She is calm in all situations and brings her best every day, regardless if she plays or not.” – Fremont coach Cindy Kostek

Megan Morton, Columbus Lakeview

“Megan has consistently made the team better by working hard in practice and being a good teammate.  She is consistently one of the first players in the gym for practices and matches.  Megan is especially focused on welcoming younger girls into the program which helps us build for the future.” – Columbus Lakeview coach KC Belitz

Josie Otto, Alliance

“Josie has been so much fun to have on our squad.  She has never been the stand out player that gets all the praise but she has always been so positive and willing to play in any position she has been needed in.  This year she has stepped in to take over a starting middle position after a player was out due to injury.  Since that player has returned Josies playing time has been limited and she has never once had a negative attitude about it.  When Josie was a sophomore, our freshman team only had 6 people for a match.  Josie offered to sit the bench incase of an injury incase her team needed her.  She has always been one of the last people at practice to help make sure balls and other equipment is put away and always does it with a smile on her face.  I will miss having Josie in the gym next season!” – Alliance coach Jessica Kaiser

MaKenzie Peters, Wood River

“MaKenzie Peters is the definition of a team player.  She is encouraging to her teammates and leads by example with a positive attitude and great work ethic during practice, games and in the classroom.  She has played many roles on our team this year, and in each one of those she has embraced it.  Although her playing time in games has been limited, her influence on this team has been a strong one from the bench.” – Wood River coach Nanci Martin

Lily Peterson, Omaha Duchesne

“Lily is one of the most important parts of our team even though she plays limited playing time. She is our bench captain. She is a hard worker, a great competitor, and has been a great influence on our underclassmen.” – Omaha Duchesne coach Andrew Wehrli

Maliyah Rivera, Gibbon

“Maliyah has always maintained a positive attitude and an excellent work ethic in practice. She is one of the loudest cheerleaders on the bench and has never complained about lack of playing time. She is usually the first player to recognize what is happening on the other side of the court and to relay that information to coaches and teammates. She has made her teammates better, by challenging them in practice and always giving 100%. I feel that Maliyah has wholeheartedly embraced her role on the team, and has been an excellent role model for the younger players.” – Gibbon coach Connie Kenton 

Kelsey Robinson, Kennesaw

“Kelsey has played on the volleyball team all 4 years and has patienly waited to her chance and it has worked out that she has gotten very limited playing time.  She did get to start at the beginning of the season, but others have moved in front of her to see more action on the floor.  She comes to practice and works her butt off and is even one of the last ones to leave at night.  It just has not worked out for her to get more playing time.  I know it breaks her heart, but she is positive and always there to cheer on her teammates.” – Kenesaw coach Christian Kroos

Rebecca Saathoff-Beck, Wilcox-Hildreth

“Rebecca broke her foot mid-season. Before she broke her foot she was a starting middle hitter, but since the accident happened she has been such a supportive teammate. She still shows up to every practice and helps us coaches with practice. She goes with us to every single game, including JV and helps keeps stats, tosses balls during warm-ups and gives us feedback as well as encourages the players! She is such a good leader, despite not being able to play!” – Wilcox-Hildreth coach Kassie Faimon

McKinley Seifert, Battle Creek

“McKinley is one of our seven seniors. She was elected by her teammates as one of our team captains prior to our first game.  She treats everyone with kindness and is such a selfless person.  McKinley is a leader by example, doing what we need on our scout team, providing tough serves for our serve receive portion of practice, and helping our younger players to understand the game better.  She is able to play as a hitter and as a defensive specialist.  We love having McKinley on the team!” – Battle Creek coach Cody Wintz

Scarlett Shifflett, Maxwell

“Scarlett has unselfishly done book for us in order to keep a position with her team.  She has had a bad knee for most of her career that will require surgery eventually and more recently a serious medical condition, but she none the less has put the work in and works hard every day. I’m super proud of Scarlett and feel like she brings great balance to this team and completes us!!!” – Maxwell coach Gina Sommer.

Jenna Siefken, Syracuse

“There is no position on any team that is more difficult. Not being in the starting line-up takes tons of character, determination, guts and discipline than is needed when you’re fortunate enough to play all the time. The real test of what you’re really made of comes when things don’t go your way, when you don’t get the starting spot and have to sit when you’d much rather be playing. It is truly inspiring how hard she comes to work every single day not only for herself but for her teammates and I can’t thank her enough.” – Syracuse coach Courtney Van Groningen

Delilah Sierra, Elkhorn Valley

“Delilah Sierra is known as one of the hardest working girls on the volleyball team even though her playing time rarely reflects her dedication.  She comes to practice every day with a positive attitude and smile, and Delilah is a vocal leader for her team on the bench during games.  Delilah is coachable in the fact that she has learned all the positions on the court and is always ready to play any role on the team during a scrimmage.  She puts in time during the summer in the weight room, conditioning sessions, and summer camps.  Even though Delilah rarely receives playing time, she remains a positive influence on her team and maintains great relationships with her coaches and teammates.  Delilah faces the challenge of playing time with dignity and an optimistic attitude.  She has been a joy to coach and have a part of our team.” – Elkhorn Valley coach Emily Vaughn

Sophia Steffen, Kearney

“As a Junior, Sophia started for the Bearcats in 2016 until she suffered a season ending ACL and MCL tear.  Sophia has battled through all kinds of adversity to make it back for her senior season. While she has not gotten the playing time she saw in 2016, she has been a positive contributor and key role player for our program. I am also proud of her adaptability as she has filled in for injured players at various times this season.   Sophia is a constant communicator and the voice that is uplifting and encouraging to her teammates. She has played an invaluable role this season and we can’t say enough about her contributions to the Bearcat Volleyball program.” – Kearney coach Jessica Day  

Maddie Sudbeck, Hartington Cedar Catholic

Maddie has been on varsity for three years as our back up setter. This year she has stepped in to serve one rotation. However Maddie runs our second team perfectly. Maddie’s legacy will continue on even after she has graduated with all the younger players she has helped prepare for varsity action. She is a true role model on what it is to be a team player because she could easily go to another team and be an impact player. Her hard work is outstanding and she is just as much a reason that our varsity is doing so well.” – Hartington Cedar Catholic coach Debae Buss

Emma Teel, North Central

“Emma Teel deserves the “Unsung Senior Honor Roll” for her positive attitude and her work ethic.  She always has a smile on her face and encourages her fellow teammates.  Emma gives 100% during practice and is always willing to do what it takes to make the team better.  She is a positive influence and mentor to the younger players on her team.” – North Central coach Lauren Swanson

ShayLee TenEyck, Fremont

“ShayLee TenEyck is our “energy” girl, providing non-stop communication and excitement from her seat on the bench.  Her enthusiasm never wanes and is incredibly contagious.” – Fremont coach Cindy Kostek.

Uyen Tran, Hastings St. Cecilia

“Uyen has been a positive influence to our team this year as one of our most invested seniors.  She plays an important key role to our team by organizing team chemistry events, overseeing and guiding our younger athletes, and leading as an exceptional role model through her academic progress.  She always puts the team first with a positive attitude and great work ethic.  You won’t ever see Uyen without a smile on her face encouraging those around her.  She is a true example of what it means to be a great teammate.  She deserves to be recognized for the effort she brings to the Hawkette volleyball program.” – Hastings St. Cecilia coach Thera Jones

Kayli White, Skutt Catholic

“She is the hardest worker on our team, she is always cheering on her teammates from the bench, and she is constantly giving to the team in any way she can.  She plays with heart and works her tail off.  She is not the best hitter, highest jumper, best passer, but she has the biggest heart on the team.  She never complains or questions.  She shows up every day and works as hard as she can to help make the team better.  She is the epitome of a team player.  She is what being an athlete is all about, serving others!” – Skutt Catholic coach Renee Saunders

Trinity Young, Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family

“Trinity has been a student manager since she was in the 7th grade. She loves the sport, but has told me many times that she realizes volleyball is not “her” sport. However, she is our biggest fan. She makes sure that the girls are always well taken care of. She makes my job 100 times easier. She does things like get all of our stats, film, water bottles, towels, and bench ready to play. She cheers them on while playing, and completely cleans the locker room afterwards. None of this is her job, and I have not told her or asked her to do any of it; she just does it.” – Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family coach Cami Oelsligle