Football had the unique aspect that five of the seven Journal-covered schools all were coached the entire decade by the same guys. In volleyball, only Lonnie Morken accomplished the feat as a pure head coach. The volleyball All-Decade team is 20 deep. Those listed had to be covered by the Journal Sports. Those whose careers spanned just into 2010 are less regarded. Athletes from Houston are only those 2013-on (when our coverage began). Rankings are based off honors received, team winning, stats, career longevity, coaches ranking, player-by-player comparison, and college credentials. Said rankings are very much subject to debate! Special thanks to coaches Morken, Travis Malley, and Nikki Schultz, ex-coach Dave Lind, for their assistance on this project.
All-Decade Volleyball Top 20
#1) Taylor Case (OH, FC, 2009-2013, All-TRC x 4, 2012 All-State HM, 2013 All-State): The top player on the only volleyball team in the decade to make state. The long, athletic, and nimble Case led the Falcons to a state-runner-up finish in 2013. FC was also TRC champs in an epic 35-3 campaign. Her senior year she went over 400 kills and 400 digs. For her career, Case went for 1,392 kills and 1,375 digs. FC went 85-16 her last three years. The 5’11” hitter then was a two-time JUCO All-American at Des Moines Area Community College. M-C coach Lonnie Morken; “A complete load to deal with, all the shots, great athlete, lights out when she got a perfect set.”
#2) Belle Sand (OH, M-C, 2009-2013, All-SEC & SEC Player of the Year x 4, 2011/2012 All-State HM, 2013 All-State): Sand is #2 due to October 31, 2013 (Case’s Falcons won a 1A East title match-up). The best “inch-for-inch” player listed, Sand had hops and skills. She’s fourth in M-C history in kills (1,276), sixth in digs (1,394). Went over 300 kills and 300 digs in 2011 and 2012, over 200 of each 2010 thru 2013. The Cougars went 156-18, winning five SEC titles in her tenure. Can boast she wore a D-1 uniform well, starting four years, finishing fourth in Syracuse history in career digs (1,429). Coach Morken: “Explosive athlete that played well taller than her 5’6” height.”
#3) Kenidi McCabe (setter/OH, M-C, 2015-current, All-SEC thrice, 2019 SEC POY, All-State twice): The top “active” player on this list. Like Case/Sand, simply special on the volleyball court. Had the rare large quad-hundo season as a junior (195 kills, 850 assists, 450 digs, and 118 aces). Though a setter, holds M-C’s second-highest season dig total (450). Kenidi is already first in M-C history with 2,917 assists and fifth in digs with 1,417. Staying healthy, she will finish #1 in both and maybe #2 in aces. M-C has gone 158-24 in her five seasons, winning five SEC-East titles, three 1A East titles. Coach Morken: “Amazing athlete with elite ball control skills, instincts, and reactionary skills.”
#4) Morgan Malley (Setter, FC, 2010-2014, All TRC thrice, 2014 All-State): The Falcons all-time leader in set assists with over 3,200, Malley ran the show during FC’s finest two-year period of volleyball. From frosh through her senior year, FC was 109-24. Malley won a pair of TRC volleyball titles, the 2013 Section 1A title, and was a state runner-up. The 5’8” superb athlete had 1,032 assists in 2013, then was arguably the top player in the TRC in 2014 (140 kills, 677 assists, 304 digs, 58 aces). She then went over 2,800 assists and 1,100 digs at Augsburg, making All-MIAC twice. Coach Malley (dad): “A great leader…she brought out the best in everyone on the team.”
#5) Kenzie Lind (OH, M-C/R-P, 2007-2011, All-TRC thrice, All-State 2010): Finished as the county’s top kill artist of the decade (1,790), albeit some came late in the 2000s. Lind formed a formidable hitting duo with #9 on this list. Had 476 kills as a senior. An excellent player all-the-way-around (844 career digs). Signed to play at MSU-Mankato but ended up a stand-out at St. Mary’s. Former R-P coach (dad) Dave Lind: “Kenzie was a natural competitor that tended to show her true colors in high-stress situations. This led to her being a natural leader for many years.” Kenzie is now a club volleyball coach in South Dakota (having previously helped Fillmore Central).
#6) Coranda Vickerman (setter/OH, M-C, 2012-2016, All-SEC x 4, SEC POY twice, All-State twice): Because of 5’9” height and athleticism, played everywhere for M-C. Vickerman is one of only two Cougar players ever (Kenidi McCabe) to go over 2,000 assists (2,414) and 1,000 digs (1,069). She ranks sixth and eighth respectively career-wise while ranking seventh with 319 aces. Went for 951 assists as a sophomore and 371 kills as a senior, a rare feat. Posted a 161-23 five-year record, winning five SEC East titles. Coach Morken: “One of the top all-around skilled kids I have coached. Played five different positions her five years and did them all well. Ultra-competitive.”
#7) Alex Duxbury (libero, Chatfield, 2010-2013, All-TRC/All-State thrice): The Gophers most heralded player of the decade, Duxbury was a backline mainstay during a very good run of Chatfield volleyball. Duxbury’s teams went 84-40 from 2010-2013. They made four straight 1AA East finals, the 2013 1AA final. Alex went for 528, 436, and 341 digs sophomore thru senior year finishing with 1,665. Her serve receive was similarly dependable and she posted 186 aces over the same three year period. Former CCTV director Craig Manahan: “Excellent court coverage…a player that could give you line-to-line defense.” Coach Morken: “A top level defender.”
#8) Savannah Slafter (OH, M-C, 2013-2017, All-SEC x 4, 2016 SEC POY, 2016 All-State HM): Like Sand, undersized but not under effective. Slafter went for 275, 398, 383, and 274 kills frosh through senior years, hindered her last season by injury. She went over 200 kills and 200 digs four straight years and finished alongside Sand as the only Cougars with over 1,000 kills (1,366) and 1,000 digs (1,039). Slafter is third in M-C history in kills. Over her five years, M-C went 156-26 with five SEC-East titles. Coach Morken: “Lethal outside hitter, very intelligent player.”
#9) Amy Todd (OH, R-P, 2009-2012, All-TRC twice): The Trojans four-year stand-out, Todd can claim the highest single-season kill total on this list; 501 as a senior. That came after a 352-kill junior year. The 5’9” strong jumper is one of only two Trojans (Lind) over 1,000 career kills (1,330). She added 268 career aces. Former Coach Lind: “Amy was a gifted athlete. She combined (that) with her high IQ, which made for a dangerous player.”
#10) Lauren Buchholtz (OH, Kingsland, 2015-2018, All-TRC once, All-SEC once): The Knights top volleyball of the decade, Kingsland’s blond blaster went for 440 kills (junior), then 360 kills (senior). She finished with 1,208 career spikes. KFIL sports director Luke Lonien: “When the ball went up to her side, you knew there was a very good chance that she was getting a kill. She had a great vertical and could fight through any block.”
#11) Kirsten Keefe (OH/setter, Chatfield, All-TRC thrice, 2010-2014): Like Duxbury, a staple to Chatfield volleyball’s strong run in the early decade. Had four 200-plus-dig years, a 200-plus-kill season, and a 700-plus-assist season. Finished with over 1,100 career digs. Journal Sports Director Paul Trende; “The ultimate teammate, played back-row, then all-the-way around, before transitioning to setter as a senior. Did all very well.”
#12) Savannah Skalet (setter, R-P, 2013-2016, All-TRC thrice): The Trojans top non-hitter of the decade, Skalet was a setting stalwart from 2014-2016. In the span, she went for 519, 711, and 543 assists, finishing with 2,049 helpers for her career. Skalet also amassed 205 career aces. Coach Schultz: “An outstanding student and athlete… played every game like it was her last… one of the best setters that have come through R-P.”
#13) Alex Peterson (2008-2011, FC, All-TRC 2011): Key in getting FC’s current run of strong volleyball started, Peterson led the Falcons with 381 kills as a senior. The powerful hitter finished with 799 career kills. She went on to have strong career (alongside Lind) at St. Mary’s and then coached and Grand Meadow. Coach Malley: “A fearless swinger on the outside.” Coach Morken: “Had the ability to take over matches and was very smart.”
#14) Abbey Loken (OH, Houston, 2009-2013, All-SEC twice): The Hurricanes top hitter of the decade, holds Houston’s records for kills in a match (28), season (343), and career (768). Played in the JUCO Final Four for Madison College. Coach Morken: “Well rounded and super competitive, moved really well for a taller player.”
#15) Tayah Barnes (libero, FC, 2013-2016, All-TRC twice, All-State HM 2016): Started as a frosh on FC’s state runner-up team. Tayah went for 379, 491, and 463 digs her last three years of varsity. She finished with 1,519 total digs. Coach Malley: “One of the best passers in the conference each year she played… extremely consistent.”
#16) Payton Danielson (OH/DS, M-C, 2014-2019, All-SEC twice): Had five seasons of 225-plus digs and of 45-plus aces and a 265-kill senior year. Finished with an M-C fourth best 1,433 career digs, plus 307 aces, and 665 kills. Has served the most total points (1,272) in M-C history. Coach Morken: “Undersized as an OH, but improved her consistency and shot selection… tremendous server and defender.”
#17) Kendra Crawford (libero, R-P, 2010-2013, All-TRC twice): A perennial top defender in the TRC early in the decade. Willed her way to 388, 479, and 337 digs her last three years. Finished with 1,450 digs. Coach Schultz: “Kendra was very competitive… great at reading the ball… a leader on and off the court.”
#18) Courtney Graves (OH/setter, M-C, 2013-2016, All-SEC twice): M-C graduated a ton of talent ahead of her sophomore year, but Graves’ versatility helped keep the Cougar VB-machine going without missing a beat. They went 97-14 from 2014-2016. Coach Morken: “High volleyball IQ, scored many points on quick thinking. Her versatility allowed us to run a very diversified offense with (Graves) playing setter, middle, and right side.”
#19) Carly McCabe (setter, M-C, 2009-2013, All-SEC thrice): Set Sand and company, amassing an M-C third best 2,578 assists. Helped the Cougars to a 156-18 record. Finished with 969 digs and was nifty with her setter-attacks. Went on to play libero on the 2015 D-III JUCO National Champion RCTC team (made All-tourney team). Coach Morken: “Similar to her cousin Kenidi, great instincts and great competitor.”
#20) Lydia Geving (OH, M-C 2009-2013, All-SEC thrice): The best server on the list. Geving owns the Cougar single-season (119) and career records (487) for aces, is second in points served (1,199). Has three of M-C top five single-season ace totals. Also tallied 964 kills and 1,122 digs. Coach Morken: “Another intelligent player…wasn’t a great jumper but smart with her decisions…devastating top-spin serves.”
With the expansion of the Fillmore County Journal, its sports section will also expand into new markets. We look forward to this additional coverage.