NORTH SIOUX CITY – There is more to Meredith Lammers volleyball game than just a powerful swing.
The 5-foot-11 senior plays all six rotations for the second-ranked (Class A) Dakota Valley squad that has a 15-2 record after winning three matches to claim the title Saturday at the Eastern Volleyball Classic.
Lammers tallied 18 kills and 17 digs in three matches, victories over Sisseton, Elk Point-Jefferson and Tea Area for a Panthers team that bounced back following a loss to new No. 1 Sioux Falls Christian, two days earlier.
“We took what we learned from that game and applied it to our three games and brought more energy and didn’t dwell on the fact that we lost,” said Lammers. “We just came out strong and that’s what got us through Saturday.”
Lammers, the Sioux City Journal’s Metro Athlete of the Week, recorded the 1,000th kill in her career during the match against Sioux Falls Christian. She’s also nearing the 1,000 career dig mark for an individual who has played all six rotations for all four years in high school.
“When they announced my 1,000th kill at the home game and everyone in the crowd stood up and gave me a standing ovation it’s an indescribable feeling, it was very powerful,” said Lammers. “I couldn’t have done it without (past setter) Lindsey Smith, Hanna Cummins and even (setter) Ally (Beresford) this year and obviously people passing the ball. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
She has shared in her success with her twin sister Elizabeth.
Her ability to see the court from playing the back row allows her to be successful as an attacker when she rotates to the front row.
“Seeing the court on the other side,” said Dakota Valley coach Amy Wiseman is Meredith’s biggest attribute. “She sees the block, she sees the defense, she knows when to swing away and do real shots or tips or push the ball. She is really versatile as far as what kind of attack to run.”
Wiseman is in her first season as head coach and inherited the defending state champions who have eight seniors on the roster. Despite the returning talent there was an adjustment period in the beginning, plus the addition of new lineups, including a new setter in sophomore Beresford.
“We switched setters this year so there has been a little bit of an adjustment where Meredith was running as a middle some as well,” said Wiseman. “She’s just very versatile as a hitter, they (her and her twin sister) can hit the ball from every position and they enjoy hitting.
“I felt that Saturday was our best day as far as really playing as a team and seeing that chemistry back that we have struggled with this season so far. We were being more aggressive on the serve side and we passed a lot better as well.”
Meredith averages over three kills per set and currently has 166 through the Panthers' first 46 sets this season. Seven times this season she has enjoyed a contest with 10 or more kills, highlighted by a season-high 21 in a four-set early season win over third-ranked Madison in a rematch of last year’s state title game.
“I would like to think that when our team is in need of a point that I’m the go-to hitter, that I would get the ball because I believe that I can get a kill for us most of the time,” said the daughter of Gary and Lori Lammers.
Meredith also averages over three digs per set and has moved within 15 of 1,000 heading into Tuesday’s Dakota XII Conference match at Bon Homme.
“Between the twins, they definitely are that consistent pass and they become a hitting option in the back row as well for us,” said Wiseman.
“Being in the back row allows me to see what is open on the other side of the court,” said Meredith. “Elizabeth is my opposite so when she is hitting and I’m playing back row I can see what’s open, which allows me to use what is open to get more kills.”
Dakota Valley has a 3-2 mark this season against ranked teams with its other loss coming to Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Iowa’s eighth-ranked Class 4A club. Coach Wiseman’s club also own wins over Madison, Hinton (No.9 in Class 2A) and Le Mars Gehlen (No. 3 in 1A).
“Both Sioux Falls Christian and Sergeant Bluff-Luton have really big hitters and we struggled a little bit with our blocking,” said Meredith. “We really focused on that in practice. We focused on serve receive, that kind of fell apart during Sioux Falls Christian game so I think if we just clean up our defensive aspect than we will be there.”
Lexi Sneller, Sergeant Bluff-Luton...Senior setter had 71 assists as eighth-ranked (4A) Warriors went 5-0 to win the Unity Christian tournament.
Saybein Clark, Bishop Heelan...Senior running back carried just six times but scored three touchdowns in the Crusaders' district victory over Le Mars.