Hornets relying on Shelton sisters
Up until about a month ago, Valley Center senior libero Hanna Shelton was certain she had nothing in common with her younger sister, Evann, a sophomore.
“We never saw eye-to-eye,” Hanna said. “It was normal sister things. Stealing clothes (from each other).”
A dramatic change to their relationship ensued at the start of the Hornets’ volleyball season when Evann moved into the back row as a defensive specialist, right next to Hanna.
Now they’re working together, Hanna is teaching Evann and Evann is soaking up the knowledge.
“Honestly, it’s brought us a lot closer,” said Hanna, a 2012 All-Metro selection who has made an oral commitment to play at Wichita State. “We haven’t ever been close really before this season. We used to fight a lot. It’s brought us a lot closer beause we finally have something in common. We are both working toward the same goal. We want to win.
“I can actually joke around with her on the court now. It’s fun to see her do good. I’m getting tingly right now just talking about it.”
It’s been a relief for Evann to have Hanna by her side to coach her through difficult moments or help her with positioning. On Sept. 17 Valley Center played in front of a raucous crowd at Andover, but Hanna was there to calm any nerves.
“I’ve always looked up to her in volleyball,” Evann said. “She’s amazing in volleyball. My mom has told me to look up to her, to listen to her because she’s trying to tell me what to do right. She’s not trying to hurt me; she’s trying to help me.
“I’m trying to listen to her without showing any attitude. I am very stubborn.”
Major improvement — Eisenhower coach Dave Gardner isn’t one to get caught up in records, but it is pretty difficult to ignore the improvement of his team from 2012’s 12-23 finish to this season’s 10-2 start.
“Last year, offensively we relied heavily on one senior,” Gardner said. “This year we’re a lot more even on offense, a littlee more solid on defense.”
Junior setter Emily King runs the 5-1 offense for the second season. She’s a consistent setter who can run whatever Gardner wants.
“Her only weakness is she’s not overly tall at 5-7,” Gardner said. “She can set quicks and shoot sets outside. She’s a very good backsetter, and she’s smart.”
King also has the option of setting multiple hitters at any point, including middles Brynn Minor, Sabrina Ebarb and Michaela Pfaff.
King can also set a duo of powerful, young outsides in sophomore Aspen Kridner, who covers the floor well with her hits and freshman Jordyn Evans, who is athletic and strong.
“Last year we really relied heavily on setting outside to Rachel Lee, and most teams knew that,” Gardner said. “… Now we distribute the ball as evenly as we can and as quickly as we can. Defenses can’t key on one person and load up. They have to play more honest on you and that makes it more difficult.”
Milestone — Kapaun coach Terri Hessman won her 501st match on Saturday when the Crusaders beat Miege in the championship of the Maize tournament.
Kapaun will play host to Carroll on Tuesday at 5 p.m.