On almost every one of her successful kills, Sun Prairie senior Karlie “K.J.” McNabb excitedly jumped up and down, celebrating the moment.
That wasn’t surprising because McNabb’s career in athletics began as a competitive cheerleader prior to her becoming one of the top girls volleyball players in the state.
Her energetic, upbeat nature and all-around play at the net and in the back court sparked the Sun Prairie girls volleyball team, and helped the Cardinals claim the Big Eight Conference tournament championship and a WIAA Division 1 state tournament berth for the second consecutive season.
McNabb, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, was the Big Eight player of the year and was named a unanimous first-team selection in Division 1 on the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association girls volleyball all-state team.
She also was selected to the Division 1 state all-tournament team after totaling 12 kills and nine digs in Sun Prairie’s four-set quarterfinal loss to eventual state champion Hartland Arrowhead, which went on to sweep its next two opponents while winning the title at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
“She was a leader both on and off the court,” Sun Prairie coach T.J. Rantala said. “Her high energy was contagious and helped us reach the goals we set for ourselves.”
Now, McNabb has been named the Wisconsin State Journal’s 2019 All-Area Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.
Loyola (Illinois) University commit McNabb had 468 kills, 70 aces and 282 digs and surpassed 1,000 kills for Sun Prairie (41-8) this season, said Rantala, who also saw a jump in leadership from McNabb during her senior year.
“Last year, she led by example; this year, she’s leading vocally,” Rantala said during the season. “She’s really just being that kid that everybody wants to be around and have on their team.”
Also considered for the honor were Waunakee senior outside hitter Milla Malik, Waterloo outside hitter Brooke Mosher, Mount Horeb senior outside hitter Elise Goetzinger and Verona senior setter Jordan Armstrong.
Coach of the year: McFarland coach Trish Fortune, in her 19th season as head coach, led the Spartans to their first state tournament berth since 1982 – when she was an 8-year-old in Fond du Lac dreaming about one day playing in the state tournament.
The Rock Valley Conference champion Spartans advanced through a difficult sectional filled with state-ranked teams.
McFarland swept Bloomer 3-0 in a Division 2 state semifinal, before McFarland (37-4) fell to Luxemburg-Casco 3-0 in the championship match.
In leading the Spartans to their first-ever state title match appearance, Fortune was selected as the Wisconsin State Journal’s 2019 All-Area Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Other coaches considered included Rantala, Waterloo’s Christy Mosher, Waunakee’s Anne Denkert, Verona’s Jillian Bauer, Watertown’s Carrie Hein, Lakeside Lutheran’s Jenny Krauklis and Janesville Parker’s Andy Kimball.
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2019 Wisconsin State Journal All-Area girls volleyball team
Player of the year: Karlie “K.J.” McNabb, sr., outside hitter, Sun Prairie – The Loyola (Illinois) commit helped lead the Cardinals to the Big Eight Conference tournament title and to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. McNabb was the Big Eight Conference player of the year, a first-team all-conference pick, a unanimous first-team selection in Division 1 on the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association all-state team and a Division 1 all-tournament choice at state.
Milla Malik, sr., outside hitter, Waunakee – The University of Buffalo commit helped lead the Warriors to the Badger North Conference dual and tournament titles and a Division 1 sectional final berth. Malik was the Badger North player of the year, a first-team all-conference pick and a first-team selection in Division 1 choice on the WVCA all-state team.
Elise Goetzinger, sr., outside hitter, Mount Horeb – The University of Kentucky commit was a first-team pick in the Badger North, a unanimous first-team selection in Division 2 on the WVCA all-state team and a second-team selection on the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s 2019 Under Armour All-America high school girls volleyball team.
Brooke Mosher, jr., outside hitter/setter, Waterloo – The Illinois recruit helped lead the Pirates to the Capitol South Conference title and to the Division 3 state tournament semifinals. Mosher was the Capitol South player of the year, a first-team all-conference selection, a unanimous first-team selection in Division 3 on the WVCA all-state team and a Division 3 all-tournament choice at state.
Ella Collins, sr., outside hitter, Lakeside Lutheran – The Eastern Illinois commit helped lead the Warriors to the Capitol North Conference crown and to a Division 2 sectional final, falling to eventual state runner-up McFarland. Collins was the Capitol North player of the year, a first-team all-conference and a unanimous first-team selection in Division 2 on the WVCA all-state team.
Isabelle Schauer, sr., setter, Watertown – The Belmont commit helped lead the Goslings to the Badger South Conference regular-season and tournament titles. Schauer was the Badger South player of the year, a unanimous first-team all-conference selection and an honorable-mention pick in Division 1 on the WVCA all-state team.
Jordan Armstrong, sr., setter, Verona – The University of Pennsylvania commit helped lead Verona to the Big Eight regular-season championship. Armstrong was a first-team all-conference selection and an honorable-mention pick in Division 1 on the WVCA all-state team.
Erin Eggers, sr., libero, McFarland – Eggers helped lead the Spartans to the Rock Valley Conference dual and tournament titles and to the Division 2 state championship match against Luxemburg-Casco. Eggers was a first-team all-conference pick in the Rock Valley, a second-team choice in Division 2 on the WVCA all-state team and a Division 2 all-tournament selection at state.
Dani Weissenrieder, sr., libero, Watertown; Ella Foti, jr., outside hitter, Madison Edgewood; Payton Addink, jr., outside hitter, Sun Prairie; Josie Halbleib, jr., setter, Sun Prairie; Rylie Steffes, sr., right-side hitter/middle blocker, Fort Atkinson; Lizzy Fortune, sr., setter, McFarland.
Maddy Mason, sr., Mount Horeb ; Natalie Ring, so., Madison Edgewood; Ainsley Apel, sr., Sauk Prairie; Olivia Breunig, jr., Sauk Prairie; Payton Kuepers, jr., Lakeside Lutheran; Caroline Craig, sr., Madison Edgewood; Katie Hildebrandt, jr., McFarland; Karli Johnson, sr., Lakeside Lutheran; Sydney Lewellin, so., Lake Mills; Joslyn Wolff, jr., Waterloo;
Jordan LaScala, fr., Middleton; Maddy Kelley, sr., Verona; Carolyn Bohm, jr., Madison Memorial; Claudia Bobb, so., Verona; Claire Ammerall, so. Madison La Follette; Rebekkah DeKok, jr., Beloit Memorial; Sam Miller, sr., Waunakee; Kaitlyn Zunker, sr., Reedsburg; Kaycee Meiners, sr., DeForest; Summer Salettel, sr., Beaver Dam;
Emma Mans, jr., Fort Atkinson; Jordan Karlen, so., Milton; Rachel Van Beek, sr., Janesville Parker; Erica Collin, sr., Middleton; Shay Riley, sr., Janesville Parker; Maia Johnson, jr., Madison Memorial; Tina Shelton, sr., Janesville Parker; Amelia Hust, sr., Verona; Kirsten Anderson, sr., Sun Prairie; Lauren Glissendorf, sr., Janesville Craig;
Grace Schopf, sr., Lake Mills; Kylee Gnabasik, jr., Lakeside Lutheran; Grace Kieselhorst, jr., Watertown Luther Prep; Ashlee Adler, sr., Wisconsin Heights; Kiana Hellenbrand, jr., Marshall; Alexah Mellenberger, jr., New Glarus; Jada Wood, sr., Wisconsin Heights; Carly Rebman, jr., Edgerton; Ashlee Ballmoos, jr., Deerfield; Carlie Curtis, sr., Janesville Parker; Mary Fadele, sr., Madison East.