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Fairmont’s Schultz captains All-Area volleyball team

BY THE BLOCK — Fairmont senior middle hitter Cassidy Schultz (right) elevates before drilling a spike past a pair of New Ulm blockers during regular-season volleyball action at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Schultz has been selected as the Sentinel’s 2021 All-Area volleyball player of the year. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Whether it’s mastering written questions on a quiz in the classroom or mastering the art of spiking home a set with authority on the hardwood court, Cassidy Schultz is always equal to the task at hand.

The Fairmont Cardinals’ senior volleyball captain displayed her deft multi-tasking skills by earning both a spot on the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association’s academic all-state team and a spot on the Big South Conference East Division’s first team this fall.

But the three-year varsity middle hitter’s versatility does not stop there as she excelled in the airspace above the net as well as in the sprawl space near the gymnasium floor.

The two-time Sentinel All-Area choice utilized every inch of her athletic 6-foot frame to top Fairmont’s offensive attack by registering 182 kills to complement making a second-best team total of 172 digs.

“After playing a limited schedule due to Covid last season, Cassidy has been able to demonstrate what she can accomplish on the volleyball court during a full season of matches,” said Fairmont head coach Kim Breamer. “Not too many teams have the luxury of a 6-footer who can play the back row as equally as she does the front row.

“She really stepped up her game this season.”

The Cardinals’ highly-skilled all-around player also paced the team with 45 blocks to send opposing hitters away empty-handed.

For all of her athletic and academic accomplishments, Schultz has been selected as the Sentinel All-Area volleyball player of 2021.

Here’s an inside glance at the rest of the newspaper’s annual all-star volleyball lineup.

Emily Anderson (Martin County West) — The freshman hybrid playmaker distributed a team-leading 242 assists from her setter’s position and chipped in 51 kills in her role as a part-time hitter.

The two-year varsity letterwinner displayed her defensive skills by recording a third-best team total of 148 digs in her role as an all-around player this fall.

The 5-11 Anderson connected for 11 aces behind 192-for-200 serving for an accuracy clip of 95.9 percent in 2021.

Liz Beeler (Blue Earth Area) — The three-time All-Area setter doled out a team-best 229 assists in 2021 en route to an incredible 702 helpers over the course of her stellar prep volleyball career.

The 2020 all-Big South Conference East Division honorable mention playmaker generated a second-best team mark of 115 points, including 11 aces, on 226 service attempts this fall.

The Bucs’ senior floor leader also demonstrated her defensive capabilities by collecting 129 digs this season en route to 354 overall to cap her high school volleyball career.

Eloise Blair (Blue Earth Area) — An injured labrum in her hitting shoulder limited the 2020 Sentinel All-Area volleyball player of the year to only action in the backrow for a large portion of the season.

The three-time all-Big South Conference East Division first-team choice spearheaded the Bucs’ defensive effort by making 256 digs to complement 291 service receptions in 2021.

The three-time All-Area selection has collected an incredible 880 digs and 997 service receptions during her career and still has a season left.

The junior outside hitter still managed to crank home 103 kills before the injury and generated 50 points on 111 serves to round out another stellar campaign.

Lily Henderson (North Union) — The Top of Iowa Conference second-team setter dished out a team-best 341 assists to go with 50 kills this fall.

The Warriors’ senior floor leader displayed her athleticism by making 141 digs, while chipping in 14 blocks in 2021.

Henderson shared North Union’s No. 2 spot with Olivia Von Bank by cranking 24 aces behind 247 of 269 serving for 91.8 percent to cap her outstanding volleyball playing days.

Lucy Larson (Martin County West) — The all-Valley Conference second-team choice displayed her spiking skills and outstanding vertical leap to smack down a team-best 132 kills en route to a .115 hitting efficiency this campaign.

The junior outside hitter proved valuable from a defensive perspective, too, recording a second-best team total of 291 digs this fall.

The hard-hitting Larson generated 13 aces on 174-for-188 serving for an accuracy rate of 92.4 percent to cap another stellar varsity season.

Anna Longhenry (North Union) — The 2021 Top of Iowa Conference player of the year hammered out the area’s best mark of 308 kills from her outside hitting position.

The first-team all-conference West Division selection contributed 77 digs and 16 blocks to the Warriors’ defensive alignment.

The 6-2 senior spiker produced eight aces behind 161 of 174 serving en route to 92.5 percent to put the wraps on an outstanding prep volleyball career.

Alicia Machacek (Blue Earth Area) — The all-Big South Conference East Division honorable mention hitter drilled a team-best 139 kills to complement a team-leading 35 blocks in 2021.

The 5-11 junior middle hitter, who has pounded out 229 career kills, cranked 19 aces and generated 60 points on 142 serves during her second varsity campaign.

Machacek improved her all-around skills this fall to help contribute 35 digs to the Bucs’ overall performance this season.

Brittney Mosloski (Fairmont) — The two-time All-Area volleyball selection put her all-around skills on display near the net, from the back row and at the service area this season.

The two-time all-Big South Conference choice smacked 170 kills to finish second to Schultz on the Cardinals’ statistical charts and contributed a third-best team total of 130 digs.

The 6-foot senior middle hitter, who rejected 31 opposing hitters’ spikes, connected on 212 of 230 serves to generate 16 aces for Fairmont in 2021.

Kambria Steinhaus (Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman) — The three-time All-Area selection scooped up the area’s best dig total with 448 to close out her stellar 2021 campaign.

The perennial all-Valley Conference libero, who cleared the 1,000-dig career mark earlier in the season, proved versatile by doling out 79 set assists and making 24 kills near the net.

Steinhaus unleashed a team-best 21 aces on the strength of a 177-for-183 service performance to cap her senior season.

Olivia Von Bank (North Union) — The Top of Iowa Conference second-team choice paced the Warriors’ service effort by connecting for 96.5 percent of her end-line attempts to produce a second-best team total of 24 aces.

The junior outside hitter collected a second-best 137 kills from near the net to complement generating North Union’s No. 2 mark of 191 digs to round out an excellent varsity campaign.

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