The best thing about Hope Theisen is she’s only a sophomore.
At least that’s how Wadena-Deer Creek head volleyball coach Sue Volkmann sees it because she called Theisen one of the best liberos in the state.
Last week, the three-year varsity member dug in her heels and helped W-DC qualify for its fourth straight Class 2A state tournament.
“She is so good,” said Volkmann. “Those defensive players don’t get the recognition, but she saves us. She can serve receive unbelievably well. She just does so much. She is so smooth back there.”
Theisen was smooth last week as she tallied 23 digs against Thief River Falls in the Section 8-2A championship game Nov. 5. In a 3-2 battle with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Theisen totaled 28 digs.
“I’m really quick and I have my mind set to go after anything and not let anything hit the floor,” Theisen said a day before the Wolverines left for the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
It was Theisen’s third trip to the state tournament as a player. She said she loves the atmosphere and the competitiveness. It’s that competitiveness which separates Theisen from many.
“She plays the defensive position at a very high level,” said Volkmann. “She’s just very in tune with what’s going on the court. It’s all business. She believes you go on the floor to play and win that game.
“She’s extremely competitive. Her only downfall is she gets down on herself when she doesn’t make a play. Come game time, she is all business.”
Heading into the season, Theisen entered the state tournament with 434 digs, a serve receive of 93 percent, four set assists and 100 percent serving (295-of-296) with nine ace serves.
To get ready for the season, Theisen had her sister spike balls off the family deck. Theisen then tried to dig them out.
“Being a libero is fun,” said Theisen. “Even though you get a lot of black and blue marks it’s still fun. To be a good serve receiver you need to practice it. You’re the main person that starts off the play. For anything good to happen you need a good start every time.”
Last season, Theisen helped W-DC to a perfect record and the Class 2A state title. She earned All-Mid-State Conference honors as she finished the season with 349 digs, 20 ace serves on 99 percent serving and an 88-percent serve receive.
When asked about her businesslike approach, Theisen said:
“I like to stay focused. I don’t like to move my mind away from what’s happening. I want to stay focused and try to go after everything that comes my way.”
Other notable performances:
Volleyball: Emily Miron, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 29 kills, 18 blocks and four digs against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and 18 kills, six blocks and two digs against Thief River Falls.
Heather Theisen, Wadena-Deer Creek, accumulated 55 set assists and 19 digs against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and 44 set assists, 13 digs and three ace serves against Thief River Falls.
Brittney Noon, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 27 kills, nine digs, three blocks and two ace serves against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and 19 kills, seven blocks and six digs against Thief River Falls
Jessica Hanowski, Little Falls, finished with 26 set assists, 22 digs, three kills, 2.5 blocks and one ace serve against Melrose and 23 set assists, 18 digs and three kills against Sauk Centre
Alayna Kabanuk, Little Falls, finished with 31 kills and 10 digs against Melrose and 30 kills and 13 digs against Sauk Centre.
Jennifer Hortness, Little Falls, finished with 16 kills, 16 digs and two set assists against Melrose and 25 digs and 12 kills against Sauk Centre.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.