Verndale Pirates head volleyball coach Kelly Youngbauer said it best when describing Sami Seaton.
"She's a very good all-around player and that's why she's a very good leader by example," said Youngbauer. "There are things anyone could learn from her.
"She just strives to be the best at whatever she can do. She wants to be the best."
Seaton and her Pirate teammates closed the regular season with two wins and grabbed the No. 4 seed in the North Subsection 5, Class 1A playoffs.
Seaton racked up four ace serves, 11 set assists, six kills, four digs and eight blocks in a 3-1 victory over Eagle Valley Oct. 18.
On Oct. 19, the senior added 13 blocks, six digs, 13 set assists and four kills in a 3-1 victory over Henning.
"It was really great to win the last couple of games going into the playoffs," said Seaton. "We have that momentum and we're all pretty excited to play Northland."
So far this season Seaton has 200 blocks, 129 set assists, 115 kills, 88 digs, 22 ace serves and had converted 93 percent of her serves and 97 percent of her sets.
"Basically, she's expanded her role since she's one of the captains," said Youngbauer. "She leads by example. She's playing a little bit different this year than last year because we didn't have quite as strong of hitters as we do now. She had to be the big hitter last year. She's relaxing a little bit because she has the hitters to back her up and she's fine with that."
"It was really great to win the last couple of games going into the playoffs. We have that momentum."
Verndale volleyball player
Seaton is more than happy with her teammates' improvement. It's allowed her to fine tune her game.
"Passing has been my weakest point," said Seaton. "I really wanted to work on my passing because that's where I need the most work to fill out my game. Most of my digs come when I'm the setter in the back row. I'm behind the blockers and they're usually tips that I'm in position to get."
Youngbauer said Seaton is an excellent setter. She's mobile and has improved her passing. At 5-foot-10, Seaton uses her long legs to navigate the playing floor quickly.
"She started out as a setter in seventh and eighth grade," said Youngbauer. "She was still a setter when she came up to varsity and she has always been comfortable in that position. She has excellent hands and she's incredibly strong so she doesn't have to use her legs as much."
As a junior Seaton led the Pirates with 39 ace serves and 134 kills. She finished with a 92 serving percentage, 78 set assists and 158 digs.
Her 225 blocks last year led the area, helping place her on the Brainerd Dispatch All-Area Team.
"She gets more pumped when she stuffs a big hitter," said Youngbauer. "It sends a jolt of energy throughout the team. She reads the block so well.
Seaton doesn't shy away from the opposing team's big hitters. She seeks them out.
"For the big hitters I really try my hardest to block them right away," said Seaton. "It throws them off. Then they try to move around the blocks, which usually helps us because they hit it out of bounds.
"I just try my hardest to shut down the big hitters of the opposing teams."
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Ashley Prososki, Pine River-Backus, won the Park Rapids Invitational in 16:04.
Hannah Landecker, Staples-Motley, won the North Subsection 6, Class 1A meet in 15:35.
Tennis -- Jacque Peterson, S-M, won the Section 8, Class 1A singles title to advance to state.
Val Meschke-Kayla Lenz, Pequot Lakes, won the Section 7, Class 1A doubles title to advance to state.
Volleyball -- Lisa Kurtz, Pierz, had 15 set assists, nine digs, six kills, two blocks and two ace serves against Little Falls. She added 20 set assists and eight kills against Eden Valley-Watkins.
Flecia Foster, Pequot Lakes, collected 10 kills, eight digs, four blocks and one ace serve against S-M. She added 22 digs, six ace serves, five kills and one set assist against Pillager.
Erica Richards, PR-B, had 22 digs, 11 kills, three blocks and two ace serves against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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