All-Conference picks lead Kingsland volleyball team

Ellie Buchholtz was a versatile player for the Kingsland volleyball team. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

Senior Lauren Buchholtz finished a stellar career with the Knights. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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The Kingsland volleyball team recently put the official wrap on the 2018 season at the annual awards banquet.

The team handed out the All-Southeast Conference awards, letters, and academic awards as well. Three Knights were selected All-SEC players. Lauren and Ellie Buchholtz were selected to the All-SEC First Team, with Taylor Zimmerman selected to the All-SEC Honorable Mention squad.

All-SEC First Team

Lauren Buchholtz: The senior outside hitter will be sorely missed during the 2019 season. Knights’ coach Sam Hanley said she worked hard on the court to improve her game, turning into a team leader over the course of her career. He said Buchholtz took huge steps forward as a player.

“She’s improved as a player immensely,” Hanley said. “She takes constructive criticism so well and works hard to put those suggestions into practice on the floor. Her swing needed some work when I took over as the coach, but she had it ironed out within two weeks. Pretty much anything she says she’s going to do, she does.

“Lauren was such a good team leader,” he added. “She was always there for the other girls whenever she could. She’ll be sorely missed and a tough one to let go. Thank the Good Lord she has a sister.”

Ellie Buchholtz: She was a versatile player for this year’s volleyball team, spending most of the early season as the setter before making the move to outside hitter. Hanley said she didn’t miss a beat when he moved her to the outside.

“She wound up hurting an ankle during a trip to the Twin Cities for the Apple Valley Classic,” Hanley recalled. “Between our occasional struggles passing the ball and her ankle, Ellie had more trouble getting around. That meant the best idea was to move her to the outside, so all she had to do was jump and swing. She’s got a great swing on her.

“She was also a great setter and great leader too,” he added. “With a ninth-grade setter (Alyssa Link) coming around nicely, it gave us some interchangeable parts to work with. Ellie is a great athlete with a great attitude. I’m happy to get her for two more years.”

All-SEC Honorable Mention

Taylor Zimmerman: Hanley said things clicked for Zimmerman in the middle-back position, one of the most important spots on the floor. Her efforts in the back row led to a lot of bumps and bruises, but she anchored the team with hard work.

“Every time she was in the back row, she was going to sell out to keep the ball off the floor,” Hanley said. “She did so with no complaints, whatsoever. Taylor (Zimmerman) was most adamant about playing as a team. She made sure everyone knew where they were supposed to go and what was supposed to happen. She wasn’t afraid to get on players who weren’t quite doing their jobs, either.

“People watching likely don’t realize just how important that back row spot can be,” he said. “Most people think the middle at the net is more important, or possibly an outside hitter. Given the importance of what Taylor did in the back row, she deserved a spot on the All-Conference First Team.”