Emily Miron couldn’t wait any longer.
The middle hitter for the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines was the second option in the Wolverines’ state-tournament-bound offense for much of the season.
But with leading offensive threat Brittney Noon hobbled by injuries, Miron moved into the key role and showed she could handle the pressure.
In W-DC’s 3-2 state quarterfinal win Nov. 10, Miron exploded for 27 kills, six blocks, 1 dig and one block assist.
“It was pretty intense,” Miron said of W-DC’s opening-round win. “After winning the first two and then having them come back to set up the fifth set, it was exciting. We came out and we knew we had to play our game and so we put them away 15-3.
“We just went into that fifth set and knew that we had to go out there and play our best.”
Miron’s coming out party wasn’t done. In a 3-1 loss to eventual state champion Marshall Nov. 11, the 6-foot-2 junior posted 25 kills, three digs, three blocks and two set assists.
She concluded the state tournament with 14 kills in a 3-0 loss to Jordan in the third-place game Nov. 12.
“She had been playing pretty well and we knew she was very capable of playing at that level,” said W-DC head coach Sue Volkmann. “It was just a matter of putting it all together. Next year, she’ll have to work on her consistency. She was a little up and down at times this season.”
Before the state tournament, Miron was named to the Minnesota All-State first team and the St. Paul Pioneer Press All-State first team. After the tournament, Miron was named to the State All-Tournament team.
“It was definitely different this year,” said Miron. “I knew I had to really step up this year after losing five really solid seniors from last year’s team. I had to step it up.
“I knew we still had a pretty good team. Making it back to the state tournament was a really good accomplishment and I’m happy with that.”
Miron finished the year with 254 blocks, 402 kills, 11 set assists and 65 digs. She had a 28-percent kill efficiency and was 80-percent on her attacks.
“She’s athletic and she’s 6-2, but she can jump,” Volkmann said. “She can go either way, right or left, around the block. She’s starting to pick up how the block is moving. As soon as she gets it all together she will just be that much more difficult to play against.
“Defensively she just has a knack for blocking. It’s just good instincts that makes her such a good blocker. Plus, she has really long arms.”
Last year, Miron finished with 200 kills, 33 digs and 208 blocks to earn All-Mid-State Conference honorable mention honors. This year there was no doubt she was making the all-conference team.
“I knew I needed to have her be our second best offensive player,” said Volkmann. “We needed a go-to player and she had the ability to do it. It just took time to get caught up with her height and coordination. I don’t know if she’s done growing or not. But she’s more mature and stronger. She is an outstanding volleyball player.”
Other notable performances:
Swimming: Whitney Weisz, Little Falls, won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles in the Section 6-1A meet.
Diana Kempenich, Kenzie Hanson, Josie Lange and Weisz, Little Falls, advanced to state in the 200 freestyle relay be beating the state time standard in the Section 6-1A meet.
Jaelin Beachy, Staples-Motley, won the 50-yard freestyle and finished second in the 100 breaststroke in the Section 8-1A meet.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.