WADENA -- The relationship between a hitter and a setter is vital to the success of a volleyball team.
Kerby Johnson of Wadena-Deer Creek realizes that, which is why she credits her setter, Sarah Kneisl, for her success and the team's.
"That's the most important thing," said Johnson about the setter position. "You can't hit unless you get the set. I have an awesome setter in Sarah. She's always got the set right where I need it.
"She's been my setter all the way through. I had Sarah's sister my first year (as a freshman) of varsity but ever since I've had Sarah as my setter."
Last week, the combination of Kneisl's sets and Johnson's spikes translated in some nice stats. Johnson finished with 12 kills, 20-of-23 serving with 14 ace serves and two digs in a 3-0 win over Crosby-Ironton Sept. 13.
At the Hawley tournament Saturday, Johnson was on fire once again as she finished with 49 kills and 27 digs in three matches.
"She's definitely our go-to player," said W-DC coach Sue Volkman. "We're small this year so she takes on a lot of responsibility on offense. She knows that we rely on her and she's stepped up to play that role real well."
Last year, Johnson elevated her offense to become one of the area's premier spikers. Last off-season she worked to sharpen her overall game.
"She spent a lot of time with both volleyball and basketball last summer," said Volkman. "She plays on our Junior Olympic volleyball team and she's committed a lot of time to improving herself.
"She plays center back on defense and she leads us in ace serves. Plus, she has a high serving percentage."
W-DC runs a multiple-attack offense, which works well because of Johnson's quickness. Her ability to get off the floor and see the court before hitting the ball has given opposing teams fits in trying to defend against her.
"She saw a triple block for the first time at the Hawley tournament and still had a lot of success," Volkman said. "And, we have a real good setter, which is another reason Kerby has been successful."
Volkman reiterated Johnson's praise of Kneisl's play, saying Kneisl dictates the game and that she knows how to get the ball to Johnson.
Johnson is being recruited by North Dakota State University for basketball. The 4.0 student averaged double figures in rebounds and points last year for W-DC. But she is focused on this year, along with six senior teammates.
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Kim Beaman of Crosby-Ironton won the Pequot Lakes Invitational Sept. 11 with a time of 16:30.
Tennis -- Laura Warn, Jenna Vogel, Jacque Peterson and Emma Pipek of Staples-Motley went 3-0 during the week as well as winning Mid-State Conference tournament titles Sept. 15. The doubles teams of Emily Waldahl-Rose Milless and Emily Burrows-Amanda DiGiovanni also went undefeated.
Volleyball -- Meg Tabaka of Pine River-Backus finished with 14 kills, two blocks and three ace serves in a 3-0 win over Crosby-Ironton Sept. 11.
Michelle Honek of Staples-Motley was 9-for-9 serving with two aces and 10 kills in a 3-0 win over Park Rapids Sept. 11. Honek finished with 24 kills and five aces at the Pelican Rapids tournament Sept. 15.
Kayla White of Verndale had 11 kills, 10 digs, two set assists and two ace serves in a 3-0 win over Pillager Sept. 13.
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