11/29/2012 9:36:00 AM North Branch's volleyball season leads to a number of accolades
By JEFF NORTON
After going 20-8 on the year and knocking off five-time defending section champion Andover, North Branch’s volleyball team had a literal cornucopia of awards handed out to them last week. The All-North Suburban Conference awards went to senior Jessica Merchant, freshman Courtney Selbitschka and senior Taylor Spence. All-Conference Honorable Mention awards went to seniors Sydney Mueller and Annamarie Zack. Selbitschka and Spence were one-two on the Vikings in kills. Selbitschka had 248 and Spence had 155. The two also combined for 46 blocks from the outside. Merchant played a fabulous all-around game. She had 16 blocks, 92 kills, a team-leading 44 digs and 14 aces on the year. Academic All-State Awards went to Mueller and junior Cassie Doerr. The players voted on a handful of awards, also. The Most Valuable Player of the team was voted Spence. She was also voted the Offensive Player in the year, completing a major haul for the senior. The Defensive Player of the Year went to Mueller, who also has an impressive list of awards in her last season. The Most Improved Player award went to Selbitschka for her huge jump from an eighth grader trying to make the varsity team to one of the squad’s most formidable attackers from the outside. The Viking Award went to senior Crystal Emery-Snaza for her hard work and dedication to the program. Next year’s team will have a dramatically different look to it. Not only will North Branch see Mueller, Spence, Merchant, Zack and Emery-Snaza graduate, they will also lose four-year setter Emily Trunk, who led the Vikings with 418 assists and middle hitter Tayler Fertig, who was third on the team with 154 kills and second with 36 digs.