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Brown, Kildow captain annual All-TL volleyball team

The 2020 volleyball season will certainly be one to remember.

And more about the play on the court will be remembered than the COVID-19 restrictions, rule changes and even the questions during the summer as to whether or not there would be season.

With the season complete, The Times Leader has named its annual All TL Volleyball Team, which includes players from throughout The Times Leader’s coverage area.

The team, which is chosen by the sports staff with the help of area coaches — is led by a pair of sophomores.

Union Local’s Torre Kildow and Shadyside’s Gentry Brown, who put forth seasons that will long be remembered, are the co-captains.

Shadyside head coach Eric Mercer, who guided the Tigers to new heights this season, is the coach of the year for the second consecutive season.

Here’s a capsule look at the honorees:

GENTRY BROWN, Shadyside –This sophomore standout demonstrated her talents all season long in helping the Tigers to reach new heights.

Brown posted an impressive 350 kills, 45 aces, 57 blocks and 153 digs for the season.

“Gentry is a dynamic player and can impact a game in multiple positions,” Mercer said. “She has great court vision and has the ability to pound the ball or put it in a spot.”

TORRE KILDOW, Union Local — This talented sophomore put together a most memorable season for Coach Kaye Sechrest’s ultra-talented squad.

Kildow finished with 356 kills, 47 aces, 182 digs and 234 assists in leading the Jets to the district final. She ranked third in Division III in hitting percentage and eighth in all divisions.

She was named third-team All-Ohio for her efforts.

“Torre is a fun, energetic player who is team-oriented and loves to win,” Sechrest said. “She’s outgoing and always ready to laugh, but when the game starts, she puts that game face on and takes no prisoners. She’s a power player who hits the ball hard. She’s working on her finesse skills that will add to her repertoire.”

CASEY KILDOW, Union Local — This Jets senior did a little bit of everything and then some for Sechrest’s team this fall.

The elder Kildow posted 444 assists, 221 digs, 170 kills, 68 aces and served at a 96.2% clip. Her aces ranked 21st in Division III and her assists were 54th in the entire state.

Kildow was named honorable mention All-Ohio and selected to play in the District 12, OVAC and State All-Star Games. Her 254 aces and 1,249 assists are both UL records.

“Casey is a team player, who is tough, focused and volleyball smart,” Sechrest said. “She’s a student of the game who can spot her opponents weaknesses and she uses that to her advantage. She pushes herself as well as her teammates. She’s proven herself from day one when she started as a freshman and she’s grown into a great leader.”

REAGAN VINSKOVICH, Union Local — This junior was a force at the net for the Jets all season long.

Vinskovich posted 134 kills, 67 blocks, served at a 95% clip and had 22 aces. She was named All-OVAC, all-Buckeye 8 and second-team District 12.

“Reagan is such a competitor and extremely coachable,” Sechrest said. “We are happy that Reagan has chosen to play volleyball. Her ability and timing is amazing. It’s so much fun to watch her. She makes opponents adjust their shots and that helps her teammates get to the ball. Her serving has always been consistent and her spiking has improved.”

TORY HENDERSHOT, Shadyside — This senior put the finishing touches on an impressive volleyball career for the Tigers this season.,

Hendershot was a consistent contributor for the OVAC and district champion Tigers. She had 180 kills, 80 aces, 25 blocks and 93 digs.

“Tory is a leader on and off the court,” Mercer said. “She is super quick to the ball, never gives up on a play and inspires her teammates to do the same.”

KYLIE JO BAKER, Shadyside — This senior was an underrated member of the Tigers success and run to the regional.

Baker finished the season with 151 kills, 39 aces and 58 blocks.

“Kylie plays with her emotions on her sleeve and is a great teammate,” Mercer said. “She always has a smile on her face and is a great player to coach.”

RYLEE STEPHENS, Barnesville — This senior middle hitter was a go-to-player for Coach Kimberly Jarrett’s squad this season.

Stephens had an impressive stat line that included 245 kills, 46 blocks, 173 points, 44 aces, 64 digs. She finished her career with 557 kills, 152 blocks, 95 aces and 141 digs.

“Rylee had a successful career, leading our team in blocks, kills, aces and points for the past two seasons,” Jarrett said.

“We wish her the best when she plays at the next level for Millsaps College (in Mississippi).”

MCKAYLA DUNKLE, Harrison Central — This talented junior was impressive regardless what spot in the rotation she stood in, but it was at the net where she made her greatest impact for Coach Sarah Hawthorne’s team.

Dunkle posted 332 kills, 80 blocks, 91 digs and a 91% serve percentage. She was named to the All-District V, All-OVAC, All-Buckeye 8 teams. She currently has 772 kills, 200 blocks and 166 digs for her career.

“McKayla is a student-athlete everyone loves to be around,” Hawthorne said. “She always gives 100% on and off the court; she’s willing to do anything the team needs of her. She’s a very positive role model for the underclassmen, is very coachable and goes above and beyond what she’s asked to do.”

ZOIE ZIELENSKI, St. Clairsville — This senior was one of the top leaders for Coach Christa Truchan’s squad this season.

Zielenski served as team captain and had an 87% serving accuracy and 30% kill rate for the Red Devils.

“Zoie was the player on the court who led by example with poise, enthusiasm and determination,” Truchan said. “She will not only be missed as a player on the court, but also as a leader.”

TRISTA MORRIS, Monroe Central — This junior did a little bit of everything quite well this season for Coach Troy Baker’s team.

Morris finished the season with 119 points, 21 aces, a 95% serving clip, 295 digs, 147 kills and 13 aces. She also had a 93% serve-receive .

“Trista is a great all-around player who can play any position on the court,” Baker said. “Trista always plays with great effort and energy.”

KYNZI BISHOP, Monroe Central — This sophomore improved in all aspects of her game and it paid dividends this season for the Seminoles.

Bishop finished with an impressive stat line that included 209 points, 71 aces, 152 digs, 137 kills and 152 assists. She served at a 93% clip and had an 89% serve-receive.

“Kynzi became a dominant server this year and also improved her ability to see the floor when attacking,” Baker said.

BRYANNA BECKETT, Bellaire — This Big Reds senior had an impressive season playing in the back row for Coach Erica Miller’s team.

Beckett posted 34 aces, 25 kills, 345 assists and 121 digs for the Big Reds. She was selected to play in the District 12 All-Star Game.

“Bryanna came ready to play every day and put everything she had into each point,” Miller said. “She led by example and pushed her teammates to play harder each possession.”

ELIZABETH SCHNEGG, St. John Central Academy — This senior libero was the key cog in the Fighting Irish improving their win total by eight games from a year ago. The four-year letter-winner stuffed the stat sheets in every category for Coach Brittany Prager.

“The amount of dedication Elizabeth shows on and off the court is phenomenal.” Prager said. “Elizabeth is one of a kind and one of the most dedicated girls I have had the pleasure of coaching.”

Schnegg compiled impressive stats this fall with 27 aces, 96.3 serving percentage, 206 points, 326 serve receives and 317 digs.

RILYN HAUGHT, River — This junior standout was impressive in all six spots for Coach Judi Curtis’ Pilots this season.

Haught finished the season with 54 kills, 90.8% serving, 43 blocks and 93 digs.

“Rilyn works on her volleyball skills, year round,” Curtis said. “She’s very dedicated to her team and a great team player. She really stepped up to the challenge of being a six-rotation player and did a fantastic job.”

EMMI FELTON, Bridgeport — This talented sophomore put forth a strong season for Coach Kristin Mazgaj’s squad.

Felton was the Bulldogs leader, posting 17 aces, 42 points, 76 kills, 17 blocks, 18 assists and 49 digs.

“Emmi was a very consistent player, who we knew we could count on game in and game out,” Mazgaj said. “She’s a very talented player with good knowledge of the sport, too. Knowing that she’s just a sophomore is exciting because her best volleyball is still in front of her.”

MAKENNA PHILLIPS, Beallsville — This Blue Devils senior was the unquestioned leader of Coach Jeff Fluharty’s relatively youthful squad.

Phillips finished with a team-high 115 kills and 49 blocks. She also had 23 aces.

“Makenna was very instrumental in what we were able to do on offense and defense,” Fluharty said. “She gave us good effort every game and she showed good leadership toward the younger players. We will miss her next season.”

AVA DOYLE, Martins Ferry — This senior leader did everything asked of her and then some for the Purple Riders this season.

Doyle finished with 102 kills, 101 digs, 31 blocks and 41 aces.

“Ava had to learn to trust and rely on her teammates this year,” Jaela Koller said. “The team had full trust in her because is a very smart and reliable player. Her stats show what a solid contributor she’s been to the program.”

ABBEY KINYO, Buckeye Local — This senior had a big year in many categories for the Panthers.

Kinyo led the squad with an impressive 803 assists. She also had 67 aces, 17 blocks and 33 kills.

“Abbey was very consistent and steady,” Buckeye Local head coach Lisa DiBias said. “She could always be counted on by her teammates.”

ERIC MERCER, Shadyside — This second-year coach made it two-for-two in coach of the year accolades after directing the Tigers to another brilliant season.

Shadyside finished the season with a strong 22-3 and won the school’s first OVAC 2A and district title to earn the right to compete in the ‘Sweet 16.’ Shadyside stormed back from two sets down to win the district.

“I am thankful and blessed to have had such a great group of young ladies to coach this season,” Mercer said.

“It’s a joy to watch them grow as a team and as individuals.”

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