Lansing standout named Player of the Year

The prep volleyball career of Lacey Angello has ended.

It is part celebration of what is to come and a realization that it has all come to an end as one of the best players in Lansing High volleyball history.

Whether it was just doing her job well or her ability to rise up in moments of need, one could always rely on the senior to make the big play when needed.

All good reasons why she has signed to play at the highest level in the college game – NCAA DI Power Five program Kansas, a 2015 Final Four participant.

Pretty easy to understand why she is the 2017 Leavenworth Times’ Select Volleyball Player of the Year.

“Lacey has the best court sense of any player I have ever coached,” longtime head coach Julie Slater said. “She has been instrumental to the success of the last four years with her incredible passing and defense. But she has also led us in kills as well. Her gift is passing and defense and she will do great at KU. I will predict she will be on the floor next year.”

Angello, who will play libero in college, managed 326 kills with a .246 hitting percentage, 343 digs, 53 aces and 36 total blocks.

Not bad numbers at the net for a player who might stand her listed 5-foot-8 if she were reaching for a book on the highest shelf of the family’s bookcase.

But that is Angello, playing the role of the biggest force on the court for a team that finished third at the Class 5A state tournament in Topeka.

“The season went very well,” Angello said. “The outcome was not how we wanted it, however I am extremely proud of my team and thankful to have been part of such a wonderful program. The relationships that grew between the players and coaches are unexplainable. We became a family rather than ‘a team of athletes.’ That only made the season that much more enjoyable for me. 

“Senior year was amazing. Courtney (Rexroat) and I got to make all of the decisions and plan out what the year was going to look like. Overall, the season could not have been more perfect in my eyes. As a team, the high points within the season consisted of winning sub-state, being named Kaw Valley League champions and finishing first at multiple tournaments. As a player, I believe that our finish at state could have been better. During the first match of day two (a semifinal loss to St. Thomas Aquinas), our team could have given a little more effort and drive to win the match. I am not one to hang my head though, so with that being said, I am proud of our finish overall and anxious to see what is in store for next year’s high school team.

“The season played out better than I ever could have imagined. I gained a sense of trust with the tall girls, and they allowed me to work around their big block in the back row which was helpful. I do not think they understand how much they helped our back row as a whole. ‘The trees’ played a huge role in regards to our finish in the end.”

She came in as a talented freshman ready to play for a venerable coach and a top program. How did it all end up from when she first stepped on the Lions’ floor?  

“It turned out exactly how I imagined, if not better,” Angello said. “I have received an abundant amount of awards throughout my volleyball career at Lansing, and that only pushed me to beat my personal records for the next year. It was almost like I had a competition within myself. I have grown up watching Lansing volleyball and taking part in my older sister’s camps and tournaments as a middle schooler. The program amazed me and kept me anxiously waiting to be a part of it. 

“The time came, and there I was. Freshman year to senior year I had grown not only as a volleyball player, but as a person as well. I thank Julie Slater for that. My volleyball career as a Lion has ended, but the Angellos will forever be grateful for Lansing volleyball and our legacy will continue on forever.”

Now it’s on to KU and a national powerhouse program. How does she feel moving forward?

“My expectations for my future are to maintain being a good student and keep my priorities in line,” Angello said. “With all of the guidance that is provided for me, I should have no problem with getting the feel of being a collegiate athlete. I am excited to see what position I play at KU and all of the new faces I meet along the way as well.”

Angello will move forward while leaving her youth behind on the Lansing High court, a site for so many wins, memories and time well spent.

How much will miss it?

“Words can’t even describe the thoughts and feelings I have while answering this question,” Angello said. “Lansing volleyball will always have a place in my heart, and I will never forget a second of it. The traveling, bus rides, poster making, sleepovers, tough games, dinners, bonding and just the team in general are all things and memories I will cherish forever. 

“My coaches and teammates are amazing people. I am looking forward to keeping in touch the next couple years and coming back to watch the success that will occur in the future.”

THE REST OF THE SELECT TEAM

Ayden Bartlett, sophomore, Leavenworth: She was one-half of the 6-2 offensive attack for the Pioneers and led the team with 433 assists while also adding 176 kills and 257 digs. The all-around phenom recently committed verbally to play at Louisville.

Rachel Fairbanks, junior, Lansing: The middle blocker continues to rise in the prep ranks as a tremendous force. She was the team’s most efficient hitter at .435 with 285 kills. She finished with 94 total blocks, second best behind rising phenom Amelia Vanderwerff’s 113, and had a competitive drive that helped push the Lions to the brink of a state title.

Kennedy Farris, junior, Lansing: The Lion, who has committed to Missouri State, has turned the libero position into beast mode as she attacks the position with undeterred physical prowess. Farris’ defense was a reliable source of relief as she spearheaded the notoriously tough Lansing back row, finishing with a team-high 376 digs. Her serving was also a team-best with 58 aces.

Randi Raymos, senior, Leavenworth: Raymos finished with 284 kills (11th in the Sunflower League) and 354 assists as she moved to a setter role in a 6-2 alignment. Her hitting array increased as her ability to hit all points of the floor improved greatly. She played a key role in the Pioneers’ first state tournament trip in two decades.

Courtney Rexroat, senior, Lansing: Surrounded by Division I talents across the Lansing lineup, the University of Saint Mary commit stood up to the challenge of leading the offense and came up with a number of big plays throughout the season as one of the state’s best setters, ending up with 1,132 assists versus only 42 ball-handling errors. She threw in 228 digs for good measure.

Ava Seaton, junior, Basehor-Linwood: Seaton was an all-around player and team captain for the Bobcats who qualified for the Class 4A-I state finals. She was one of the team’s top defenders (224 digs) and also finished with 189 kills. She and Riley Tinder were named first-team All-Kaw Valley League. 

Karli Schmidt, sophomore, Lansing: The transfer from Immaculata parlayed her club experience into an easy transition with the Lions. She finished with a team-best 364 kills with a solid .327 hitting percentage while hitting the ball with such force one would think she didn’t like it very much.

Riley Tinder, sophomore, Basehor-Linwood: The youngster never came off the court for the Bobcats while recording 193 kills – hitting .360 – and finishing with 242 digs. She was named to the All-State Tournament team.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Montanna Adams, senior, Pleasant Ridge

Bailey Ko, freshman, Pleasant Ridge

Jaylyn McPherson, senior, Basehor-Linwood

Jessica Sachen, junior, Leavenworth

Amelia Vanderwerff, sophomore, Lansing

Katie Yankovich, senior, Basehor-Linwood

Jenna Zydio, freshman, Basehor-Linwood