Port Washington’s three of a kind:

Wille, Hoeft, Karrels earn high volleyball honors from conference


Ozaukee Press staff

The best season possibly in school history earned the Port Washington High School volleyball team three selections to the North Shore Conference first team.

Each comes with her own accolade.

Senior setter Sydney Hoeft nearly led the league in assists and may have set a school record.

Senior outside hitter Jennacy Wille moved up after being chosen to the second team two years in a row.

Junior middle hitter Elyse Karrels led the Pirates in hitting and was named to the first team after being a second-team choice last season.

“All three of those players definitely deserved it,” coach Paul Jungbauer said.

Hoeft, a four-year starter, reached her 2,000th assist in the final match of her career, a loss in a sectional final to Wisconsin Lutheran. She finished with 2,012.

“We’re working on whatever history we can find but as far as I could find right now there hasn’t been anybody who has been close to that,” Jungbauer said.

Most varsity players only play their junior and senior seasons, he said, so racking up the number Hoeft did in her career is out of the question.

“Two thousand for a setter is definitely a huge milestone,” Jungbauer said.

This season, Hoeft was five assists short of the conference lead — she missed the Nicolet match due to injury — and she led the NSC in assists per set.

She had 880 assists for the entire season and nine assists per set.

“By far I felt she was the best setter in the conference and we were blessed to have her,” Jungbauer said.

“Her experience alone is ahead of any other player that we’ve had for quite some time at that position too. Balls that are up tight at the net she goes up and saves. Her defense is great.”

Hoeft battled a knee injury all year, and she sometimes took opponents by surprise with a quick no-look set over the net to an open area on the court.

“We let her know when it’s open and she would take her shots,” Jungbauer said.

Wille, another four-year starter, reached her goal of being named to the first team.

“She led our team on serve receive for passing. I think she made the most strides this year in her consistency in her passes on serve receive,” Jungbauer said.

Wille was second on the team in all hitting categories with 271 kills, 2.7 kills per set and a .206 hitting percentage.

She was also second in digs with 329 and digs per set with 3.1, and she was third in aces with 39.

Her intangibles were about as impressive.

“She’s that leader on the court who leads by example. People look to her,” Jungbauer said. “I couldn’t be more proud for her.”

Karrels used her 5-foot, 10-inch frame, long arms and skill to lead Port in all hitting categories.

“She’s definitely our go-to option when we need a big sideout or a kill,” Jungbauer said.

She had 297 kills, 2.7 kills per set and a .376 hitting percentage. She also led the team with 112 blocks and was second in aces with 43. Jungbauer said she led the NSC in blocks and had a conference-leading hitting efficiency of 53%.

Sometimes, Karrels’ kills were rocket shots while other times they found open areas while moving slower than something NASA tracks on radar.

“She reads the court well. When there’s a kill or a point to be had based on an offspeed shot, she can do that too,” Jungbauer said.

“I think you could make a case for her impact being at a player-of-the-year type level.”

That honor went to Whitefish Bay’s Zoe Behrendt, who plans to play Division 1 volleyball at the University of North Carolina next season.

Jungbauer said some offseason development could take Karrels to another level.

“The thing with Elyse is everything you’re seeing right now is on her natural ability in coming to practice. It would be scary to see how good that kid could be if she trained a little more on her strength training in the offseason,” he said.

Jungbauer said another player who could have received recognition was junior Carolyn Lippe. She led the team in digs with 402 and aces with 47.

“Anybody who watched our conference would think she’s one of the top 27 players in the conference,” he said.

Port improved every season since Jungbauer took over the struggling program three years ago, going from 2-7 in the NSC to 4-5 last season — he was named conference Coach of the Year — to 6-3 this year.

They nearly went 9-0. Hoeft’s absence was the difference in a five-set loss at Nicolet (15-11 defeat in the fifth set), and Port lost at West Bend West in five (20-18 in the decider) and to undefeated NSC title winner Hartford (15-12 in the fifth set).

Reaching the sectional final was at least as far as any Port team has advanced in the history of the program. Port finished 31-11 overall.

Grafton earns two all-league selections

For Grafton, sophomore setter Kaitlin Muecke ran Chad Tuszkiewicz’s 5-1 offense and earned NSC second team honors.

She had 729 assists on the season.

“As a sophomore, for her to step in the way that she did I think was really crucial,” Tuszkiewicz said.

Muecke had five double-doubles, three of which came in conference games. She racked up more than 40 assists in one NSC match and more than 30 in another.

She improved in setting and reading the opponents’ defenses, Tuszkiewicz said, and she was second on the team in aces with 65.

“Not only did she step in with that setter role but she was probably one of our top three servers for us as well,” Tuszkiewicz said.

Junior outside hitter Ella Johnston-Fodor earned honorable mention after leading the team with 277 kills and 2.8 kills per set.

“She was probably one of our most consistent hitters as far as kills per set but her high error percentage kept her out of being one of the top 18 players in our conference,” Tuszkiewicz said.

“Nonetheless, she has a very strong arm and shoulder, and she’s coming back for one more year.”

When serving, Johnston-Fodor can improve by keeping that arm strength under control.

“When she tries not to hit the ball 1,000 miles per hour, she has a really good serve. She needs to let the ball work for her in that float,” Tuszkiewicz said.

Grafton’s young team went 2-7 in the NSC and 20-16 overall.



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