While Northwest volleyball ended its historic season on a crushing loss Nov. 6, recognition for its accomplishments piled up.
When the 2018 MIAA volleyball selections hit the public Nov. 7, two Bearcats received top honors of the three most prestigious awards in conference volleyball. Senior Maddy Bruder was named MIAA Player of the Year and coach Amy Woerth was granted the MIAA Coach of the Year award.
Bruder ended the 2018 season at Northwest after playing in 106 sets, notching 452 kills and hitting at .228 hitting percentage. Not only did she lead the Bearcats in kills and kills per set, but Bruder also managed to finish atop the MIAA statistics with these numbers.
It’s no secret that Bruder excelled on the offensive side of the ball, and her defensive game was almost unmatched. Bruder racked up 318 digs on the year, finishing behind fellow senior Olivia Nowakowski at 498.
Nowakowski earned all-conference honors of her own, being placed on second team. Along with the 498 digs, Nowakowski also racked up 29 service aces, placing her at No.11 among all players in the conference.
“My individual success on the year is in large part due to the other girls on the court,” Nowakowski said. “We, as a team, just show others how well you can work as a team when you have such a strong relationship with each other.”
The addition of Bearcat volleyball into the winning culture at Northwest has come from a strong foundation and can be much attributed to the 2018 graduating seniors.
“The senior class is so respected by the people on our team and when you have that, you have no problem with people buying into that next step,” Woerth said. “The tradition of winning nature has been created and its exciting.”
Another Bearcat that has helped produce the winning culture set forth by this senior class is middle blocker Sofia Schleppenbach, who also earned MIAA first team honors alongside Bruder. Schleppenbach accounted for 271 kills on this season, generating a .343 hitting percentage.
Other notable awards that Northwest has received include MIAA first team sophomore setter Maddy Ahrens and second team sophomore outside hitter Hallie Sydney. These are the first granted honors for these individuals in their young careers for the Bearcats.
While the 2018 season has come to an end, Northwest remains optimistic for the future of the volleyball program.
“We do really well in the spring and our girls work their tails off to get in shape,” Woerth said. “All the things you want moving forward as a coach, we have them. When it comes to the work ethics and controlling our controllables, we will have the mixture back to continue to move forward and continue the culture we have produced.”
Northwest will begin its offseason training and striving to create their goals for next year’s play. The Bearcats will be returning a mere two starters in Sydney and Ahrens for the 2019-2020 season.