Volleyball All Stars a big hit
ST. IGNATIUS – Purple, red, blue, orange, and everything in between: Coaches from Polson, Ronan, Charlo, Mission, Arlee, Hot Springs and Bigfork sent select players from each team to form two teams and compete in the All Star volleyball game, hosted Thursday by Mission.
The All Star concept was thought up last year by Mission volleyball’s assistant coach, Annie Morigeau, according to Mission’s head coach Kendal Anderson. Because basketball had been running All Star games for so many years, Annie thought “it would only be fair for volleyball to have one.”
After a quickly put together event last year, this year’s second annual game went a little more smoothly for the Mission coaches, with more teams sending girls to participate and more fans on the benches.
The two teams, the “Lights” and the “Darks,” were coached by Arlee’s Brian Big Sam and Polson’s Jan Toth.
The “Lights,” coached by Big Sam, rostered Jaiden Toth (Polson), Jessica Hoel (Polson), Mackenzie Foust (Charlo), Michaela Krahn (Charlo), Tessa Roberston (Bigfork), Meara Schmiedbauer (Hot Springs), Alaina Madsen (Ronan), Lindsay Johnson (Mission) and Alexis Shick (Arlee).
Toth’s “Darks” included Chloie Huerta (Polson), Connor Smith (Charlo), Alanis Stallknecht (Bigfork), Marisa Hiza (Bigfork), Josey Carr (Hot Springs), Alex Green (Hot Springs), Sydnee Clairmont (Ronan), Kendra Starkel (Ronan), Kaylie Durglo (Mission) and Morgan Malatare (Arlee).
The girls were picked by their coaches for various reasons ranging from season stat leaders, athletes that showed great sportsmanship throughout the season, or simply because they were the seniors and it gave them a one last hoorah.
Although the Lights grabbed the 3-1 win, there were plenty of laughs and good-natured camaraderie on both sides of the net. From smiles between competitors, big “go team” cheers coming from the bench, to Coach Kendal Anderson sharing a dance with the fans, it was an atmosphere of joy.
Coach Big Sam was in fun mode, saying he wished the opportunity for All Stars had been created a long time ago. “There are so many talented young ladies in the Mission Valley,” he said. “An awesome end to a season of volleyball.”
Though not on the coaching staff, Charlo’s Sheryl Kain was enthusiastic about Thursday’s game. “I think it’s great Annie and Kendal decided to get this going,” she said. “It’s good for the communities to see all the players from the area schools. I think the girls really enjoy it, it went really well.”
Lady Pirate Jaiden Toth led the way for the Lights with 19 assists and four aces. Maiden Alaina Madsen logged 12 digs.
For the Darks, Maiden Kendra Starkel served up five aces from the line while Lady Pirate Chloie Huerta came away with 10 kills. Mission’s Kaylie Durglo chipped in with 10 assists.
Anderson hopes to keep the tradition alive in the seasons to come.
“It seems to have had more people this year; hopefully we will continue to grow throughout the years,” she said. “I think it’s a great way for athletes to be recognized for their hard work throughout the season.”