Sister act dominates All-Courier volleyball season

Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont sisters Kate (left) and Molly (right) Shafer helped lead the Rockets within a win of a state tournament berth this season combining for 620 kills, 892 assists, 85 aces, 84 blocks and 369 digs in their freshmen campaigns.

OTTUMWA — Molly and Kate Shafer set a high bar in their freshman seasons for the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont volleyball team.

Together, the twin sisters debuted with all-state seasons for the Rockets leading the team within a win of the Class 3A state volleyball tournament. The story is just being written by the Shafer sisters, the co-Players of the Year on the 2021 All-Courier volleyball team after teaming up for nearly 600 kills this season with hundreds, if not thousands, more to come from the hitter-setter sibling combo.

EBF dominated the area high school volleyball scene this year, jumping out to a 12-0 start to the season showcasing the same dominant play that once helped lead the Rockets to three straight trips to the state tournament from 2013-15. Davis County provided EBF with some of its toughest challenges, joining the Rockets in winning over 30 matches this season while pushing the Rockets into decisive sets in the championship match at the Ottumwa Invitational and in a five-set battle in Bloomfield that would ultimately decide the South Central Conference title.

The Rockets and Mustangs combined for seven All-Courier selections after producing two of the three winning seasons among the 13 area high school volleyball squads. The SCC rivals also combined for five first-team all-SCC honors and four IGCA all-district selections.

This year’s All-Courier volleyball team:

Molly Shafer, EBF, Fr.

Shafer began her high school volleyball career by earning first-team all-state honors, leading the Rockets with the fifth-most kills in the entire state after recording 581 winners in her freshman campaign, over twice as many as the 267 kills recorded by eventual Northern Iowa standout Karlie Taylor during her freshman year at EBF. Shafer added a team-leading 60 ace serves, going 338-376 (89.9 percent) serving with 41 blocks and 222 digs to help the Rockets secure a South Central Conference title and a spot in the Class 3A regional finals, where Shafer hammered out 34 more kills to lead all attackers against Mount Vernon in the battle for a state tournament berth.

Kate Shafer, EBF, Fr.

Any good attacker has to have a great connection with their setter. Molly Shafer certainly has that with her twin sister as Kate Shafer finished seventh in Class 3A with 892 total assists. Like her sister, Kate Shafer proved to be very versatile for EBF adding 39 kills and a .365 attacking efficiency, second only to the .396 mark set by her sister, while adding 40 block assists, a 93.3-percent serve efficiency (278-298) with 25 aces and 147 digs earning third-team all-state honors.

Whitney Klyn, EBF, Jr.

Klyn joined the Shafer sisters as a unanimous South Central Conference first-team selections for the Rockets. The  junior led the Rockets with 242 digs while adding 233 kills, 51 aces and 38 total blocks.

Kallie Greiner, Davis County, Jr.

Kallie Greiner led a balanced attack by the Mustangs that featured three hitters with over 200 kills this season, edging out former All-Courier attacker Sophia Young with 257 total kills. Greiner also paced Davis County at the net defensively, racking up 51 total blocks including 10 solo stops and 41 assists.

Chloe Fetcho, Davis County, Jr.

With a number of different hitters to choose from, Fetcho followed up a breakout season setting for the Mustangs by adding 883 assists this season coming up just short of Kate Shafer for the conference lead had a breakout season setting for the Mustangs. Add the 723 assists recorded last year, the most in the SCC and 13th most overall in Class 3A during the 2020 campaign, and Fetcho heads into her senior season on pace to record her 2,000 career assist midway through the 2022 season.

Kayla Joos, Davis County, Jr.

Joos more than made up for lost time after having to miss out on 10 matches in 2020 due to an injury suffered during the Ottumwa Invitational midway through her sophomore season. The Mustang junior didn't miss a match during Davis County's 31-11 season, leading the team with 34 aces and first-team all-SCC honors.

Kara Greiner, Davis County, Sr.

Greiner was second in the SCC in total digs with 388 to spur on the Mustangs' defensively, picking up her 1,000th career dig during the season. One of three Mustang players to play every match, Greiner earned first-team all-SCC and IGCA 3A All-Southeast District honors as the reliable libero for the Mustangs.

Madelynn Hornback, Sigourney, Sr.

Hornback racked up her 1,00th dig during the course of the season, ultimately earning all-district and all-conference honors while finishing second in the South Iowa Cedar League with 493 total digs. Hornback did a little bit of everything for the Savages, adding a team-leading 62 ace serves to go along with 26 assists and 20 kills as Sigourney posted a 17-14 record, the program's first winning season in eight years highlighted by a five-set regional quarterfinal win over Iowa Valley that included 32 digs by Hornback in a match that lasted well over two hours.

Gladys Genskow, EBF

The long-time head coach of the Rockets appears to have the program poised to contend for multiple state tournaments. EBF bounced back from three consecutive losing seasons, finishing 31-5 with four of the five losses coming against teams that ultimately qualified for state. The Rockets did have four players returning that had experience starting the previous season, but also had to replace an all-state libero (Emalee Davis) and all-conference attacker (Brooke Shafer) from the previous season. Not only did freshmen Molly and Kate Shafer step up to put together an incredible first year of varsity volleyball, by sophomore Aliya Wagamon also stepped up to the varsity level leading EBF at the net with 83 kills after not playing a varsity match the previous year as a freshman.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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