Joan Ebnet comes from a volleyball family. Most of her six sisters went on to distinguish themselves after high school in the sport.
The most accomplished was Rose, an All-American at South Dakota State. Joan, the youngest sister, hasn't achieved All-America status yet, but may someday have the opportunity.
"I don't want to follow in Rose's footsteps," Joan said, "but I'm really interested in that college. They have my major, I like the team and the coach."
Like Rose, Joan was a standout at Pequot Lakes High School, earning all-conference honors in volleyball and basketball. She transferred to Brainerd this fall and has continued to flourish on the volleyball court.
Through 26 regular-season matches, she has 317 digs, 25 solo blocks, 68 block assists, 50 set assists, 259 kills (.236 kill efficiency), is 322-358 serving (90 percent) with 48 aces. She leads the team in kills and ace serves.
Her performance has attracted the attention of various colleges, including South Dakota State, the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State.
"If you ask anybody who has seen her play, she's just fun to watch," Warriors coach Heidi Hahn said. "She has amazing court presence. She's a great volleyball player, definitely one of the top players in the state. I have no qualms saying that. She's definitely one of the best out of the North region for sure.
"I had a chance to work with her in Junior Olympics. Getting to work with her in high school has been a lot of fun."
Ebnet said the transition from a Class 2A to a 3A school may be most difficult in the classroom.
"You play a lot more competition, which is good," Ebnet said. "The most difficult change probably has been academically. It's a lot harder here, but it's getting me ready for college.
"At first I was kind of nervous. I didn't know very many people. It was easier because Brooke Rollins transferred (from Pine River-Backus) this year. I knew a few people too. Once I got the hang of it, and got to know everybody, it went pretty good."
Ebnet is unquestionably one of the most powerful hitters to play for the Warriors. In a 3-2 victory over Sartell Oct. 17, she smacked 20 kills. Ebnet said hitting requires considerable work.
"I started going to camps in about seventh grade," she said. "I also played with my older sisters. I was the manager for the (Pequot Lakes) varsity when I was in elementary school. I looked up to them a lot.
"I went to a lot of camps. That really helped. I also played Junior Olympics during the winter, for the Heartland North Adidas."
Hahn said Ebnet's power and court sense have been welcome additions to the Warriors' attack.
"She has added a whole new level of power to our offense and quickness," Hahn said.
"Another thing she does well is talk on the court," Hahn added. "Initially, some of the kids were uncomfortable because she talks so much on the court. But she's very encouraging and positive to her teammates. She talks constantly, what's unfolding, what's happening, where to go. She's totally into a game. It's neat to see a kid who's so versed in sports."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Mike Zauhar, football, passed for 139 yards and a touchdown against St. Cloud Tech.
(Athlete of the week is honored by the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club.)
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