Postseason honors were recently released and Manhattan Christian’s volleyball team dominated all-conference selections in District 12C after going unbeaten against league opponents and winning the district tournament championship.
The Eagles also tied program records for wins in a season (28) and fewest losses in a season (2), and boasted an unbeaten regular season as well as a 29-match win streak. That success led to Christian’s entire starting lineup earning all-conference honors.
“It is cool, but they deserved it. That was a fantastic group of girls and I said that all season long is they’re so talented. They deserved to be recognized for that,” first-year Eagles coach Hannah Van Dyk. “They’re so happy for each other and they worked so hard together that I think that was the right thing to do, they deserved it.”
Seniors Taylor DeVries and Eliana Kuperus, along with junior Kiersten Van Kirk, each earned All-State and first team all-conference honors. Freshman Katelyn Van Kirk was also a first team selection. Earning second team honors were senior Maddie Visser and junior Hailey VanDyken.
Kiersten Van Kirk, a 6-foot-2 opposite, is quickly moving up the program record book for kills. She tallied 371 during the season, including 104 during the state tournament, to move into fourth place with a career total of 1,065.
The southpaw also led the team in aces with 102 and finished with 30 blocks, which ranked second on the team.
DeVries, a setter, will graduate as the program’s fourth all-time leader in assists with 2,649 and ranks sixth in digs with 1,122. She dished out 831 assists during the season and was among the team leaders in digs and aces.
Kuperus, a 6-foot middle/outside hitter, ranked third on the team in kills (156) and will graduate in the top 15 in the category in program history. She was also among five players to tally more than 150 digs during the season.
Visser took over as the team’s starting libero this season and finished with a team best 246 digs.
VanDyken, a 6-foot-middle blocker, led the team in blocks with 49 and also contributed 115 kills.
Christian reached the state championship match for the second consecutive season and qualified for state for a third consecutive year. Still, it was a gut-wrenching finish to an outstanding season after losing to Bridger in the state championship.
“Obviously no one likes to get second place. That’s super tough and heartbreaking,” said DeVries. “But you have to look at it on the good side. You had a very successful season this year, undefeated for a very long time, made it to the championship.”
The Eagles will lose DeVries, Kuperus and Visser, but Van Dyk is excited about the 2021 campaign with three starters returning.
“Next year’s going to be better,” she said. “Well, that’s the goal anyway.”
All-State & First Team
Kiersten Van Kirk, Manhattan Christian, Jr; Josie Thomas, Gardiner, Sr; Taylor DeVries, Manhattan Christian, Sr; Ivy Hicks, Lone Peak, Sr; Chase Cunningham, Gardiner, Sr; Cabry Taylor, White Sulphur Springs, Jr; Eliana Kuperus, Manhattan Christian, Sr; Chloe Hammond, Lone Peak, Sr.
Shelby Klein, Ennis, Jr; Katelyn Van Kirk, Manhattan Christian, Frosh; Tyler DeFord, Shields Valley, Soph.
Maddie Visser, Manhattan Christian, Sr; Aleena Bacon, Harrison, Sr; Avery Oliver, Ennis, Maddie Cone, Lone Peak, Soph; Callie Kaiser, Twin Bridges, Soph; Jaeli Jenkins, Shields Valley, Soph; Hailey VanDyken, Manhattan Christian; Jr; Veronika Macy, Gardiner, Sr; Daisy Fisher, White Sulphur Springs; Jr; Landri Paladichuk, Ennis, Sr; Haven Sager, Shields Valley, Jr.