Despite being a four-year veteran of the Staples-Motley Cardinals volleyball team, Michelle Honek is still learning.
The three-sport all-star has adapted to a different scoring system in rally scoring, which was introduced this year into high school competition.
"It wasn't that hard," Honek said of rally scoring. "I thought it would be harder than it was.
"The biggest difference is you have to concentrate more and really limit your mistakes. It makes for a cleaner game and I think it moves faster than the other way."
The senior also had to adapt to a new coach. Collin Beachy is Honek's third volleyball coach in as many years.
"It's been a lot of fun," said Honek. "Collin is really intense. He loves to win and is really passionate about it. He's a really good coach, is passionate about what he does and it goes on to us."
The senior also had to learn to work with new teammates. Melissa Roberts transferred from Pillager and has been a big help to Honek and the Cardinals.
"At first there were a lot of adjustments and we were looking for the right lineup and not very many of us played a lot with each other," said Honek. "Now it's all coming together and we're playing good. I think we're going to surprise people.
"They can't just concentrate on one hitter and Melissa has played really well. The whole team has played well so they have other girls to worry about too."
Honek is leading the way, though.
In a 3-0 victory over Mid-State Conference rival Crosby-Ironton Sept. 16, she had 21 kills, four blocks and six digs.
Even in defeat, Honek is showing her leadership skills. With 27 kills, 10 digs and four blocks, Honek helped bring the Cardinals back from a 2-0 deficit against Fergus Falls. S-M eventually lost 3-2.
"It's always nice to have someone like Michelle," said Beachy. "She's been able to give me different ideas and different drills that she's done before in practice or at camps. Things that help keep practices from becoming monotonous."
Beachy said Honek's overall knowledge of the game is her biggest asset. Her desire to help the team win any way possible has created a winning attitude.
But Honek does have one problem. Because she excels in basketball and softball too, she's still undecided on her plans for next year.
Her coach knows she'll make the right decision.
"She's one of those people who not only excel athletically, but academically she's pretty sound," Beachy said. "She's focused on school first. Not only with volleyball but her approach to life in general, she's got a good, solid head on her shoulders."
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Jamie Talberg, Pierz, won the Kimball Invitational in 16:16.
Swimming -- Abby Palmer, Britta Binek, Staples-Motley both won two individual races and helped two Cardinal relays to wins.
Tennis -- Jacque Peterson and Emma Pipek, S-M, won championships at the Litchfield Invitational.
Volleyball -- Lara Marvin, Pine River-Backus, had 38 set assists against Wadena-Deer Creek.
Sarah Kahl, Pierz, had 13 kills, 1 block and 2 digs against Holdingford.
Laura Harms, Little Falls, recorded 13 kills, 5 digs and 2 blocks against St. Cloud Apollo.
Sami Seaton, Verndale, had 16 kills and 14 blocks against Swanville.
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