B.E. Area’s Blair selected All-Area volleyball player of the year

ALL-AREA’S BEST — Blue Earth Area outside hitter Eloise Blair (3) curves a spike around a block set by St. James Area’s Taylor Sodeman (12) during volleyball action Nov. 2 in Blue Earth. Bucs’ libero Miya Gustafson (20) looks on. Blair has been selected as the Fairmont Sentinel All-Area volleyball player of the year. (Photo by Greg Abel)

BLUE EARTH — Eloise Blair’s progression in the sport of prep volleyball has been as meteoric as her outstanding vertical leap.

Blair made her varsity debut for the Blue Earth Area Bucs as an eighth-grade defensive specialist, evolved into one of the best players at libero as a freshman to net Fairmont Sentinel All-Area honors in 2019, and then made a silky-smooth transition from libero to outside hitter this fall.

“(It) allowed our team to benefit not only from her digging and defensive prowess, but also her offensive capabilities,” Blue Earth Area head coach Donna Nawrocki said in reference to Blair’s positional change. “Eloise is a true competitor. It doesn’t matter what the score is, she is going to keep fighting until the end, and she is driven by doing it for her team.”

The Bucs’ sophomore spiker produced 63 kills for a clip of 2.6 kills per set, a .225 hitting percentage and an efficient 44.4 percent kill pace during the coronavirus-condensed 2020 volleyball campaign.

The all-Big South Conference East Division first-team selection delivered four aces behind an 85 percent serving clip to complement recording 80 digs en route to 3.3 per set.

For all of her contributions on the volleyball court this fall, Blair has been selected as the Fairmont Sentinel’s 2020 All-Area volleyball player of the year.

Ironically, Eloise Blair follows in her family’s skilled footsteps by earning the newspaper’s annual distinction. Former Bucs’ outside hitter Sofie Blair, one of Eloise’s older siblings, was chosen as one of the Sentinel All-Area volleyball tri-captains in 2017.

Here’s an inside glance at the rest of the Sentinel’s 2020 All-Area volleyball selections.

Liz Beeler (Blue Earth Area) — The all-Big South Conference East Division honorable mention choice utilized her keen hand-eye coordination to distribute a team-best 158 set assists during a season shortened four matches due to the current pandemic.

The two-time All-Area playmaker, who averaged 5.9 assists per set this season, drilled seven aces behind a 94 percent accuracy rate from the service area in 2020.

Beeler demonstrated her defensive skills by recording 31 digs to round out a stellar junior season.

Emily Dunlop (Martin County West) — The all-Valley Conference second-team hitter topped the Mavericks’ statistical charts by hammering 55 kills on the strength of a .282 spiking percentage this season.

The hard-hitting senior displayed her defensive prowess by notching 26 total blocks, including a dozen solo rejections.

The Martin County West varsity veteran rounded out her final prep campaign by generating seven aces behind 75 percent serving.

Taylor Elliott (Martin County West) — The all-Valley Conference honorable mention outside spiker produced a co-team-high 11 aces on 97 percent serving to help put points on the scoreboard this fall.

The Maverick junior finished second on the team by pounding out 52 kills, while demonstrating her all-around athleticism by distributing 52 set assists to complement recording 85 digs from a defensive perspective.

Brittney Mosloski (Fairmont) — The all-Big South Conference East Division first-team choice literally towered over her opponents by jackhammering a team-leading 98 kills during the shortened 2020 schedule.

Mosloski utilized every inch of her 6-foot frame to reject nine opposing spikes to complement making 54 digs in her all-around role this fall.

The junior middle hitter displayed her versatility by producing 14 aces behind a 100-for-110 serving performance.

Michaelah Petrowiak (Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman) — The three-time All-Area middle hitter cranked a team-high 133 kills for a kill clip of .260 during the pandemic-condensed season.

The all-Valley Conference selection also topped the Jaguars by recording 57 total blocks, including 29 of the solo variety, to go with 26 digs from a defensive perspective.

The 6-foot senior middle hitter, who served at an 85.2 percent pace in 2020, exits her prep volleyball career as the Jaguars’ No. 4 all-time leader with 239 blocks. Petrowiak also capped her stellar playing days as No. 8 in Jaguars’ history with 447 career kills.

Cassidy Schultz (Fairmont) — The 6-foot junior hitter displayed her all-around skills by delivering solid numbers from near the net and in the back row.

The hard-hitting Schultz notched 54 kills to complement a team-best 20 blocks, while using her athleticism to scoop up 77 digs this fall.

The two-year varsity veteran also blistered 17 aces behind a 70-for-89 performance from the service area.

Kambria Steinhaus (MLGHECT) — The repeat All-Area choice keeps climbing the Jaguars’ career statistical charts and she just completed her junior volleyball campaign.

The all-Valley Conference libero paced the purple-and-white attack by making 187 digs to go with a team-best 95 percent serving clip and a co-team-high 11 aces this fall.

Steinhaus, who generated a stellar 2.11 receiving average, currently holds the Jaguars’ No. 3 spots in both career service aces (98) and career digs (955).


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