Shiner's Ieisha Flowers was just two wins from ending her high school volleyball career on top.
Shiner senior Ieisha Flowers was selected as the 2008 Victoria Advocate All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year. Photo Credit: Advocate Staff
It would have been a fitting finish for the Lady Comanches senior, who for three years watched her team come so close to reaching the state tournament only to fall short.
This season was different for her and her teammates.
After getting off to a slow start, things began falling into place and after going unbeaten in the District 29-1A race, the Lady Comanches began their march trough the UIL playoffs with wins over Ben Bolt, Louise, Leakey and Yorktown. Those four wins catapulted the Lady Comanches into the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Unfortunately for the Lady Comanches, they drew defending champion Windthorst as a semifinal opponent.
Behind Flowers' strong front row play the Lady Comanches showed they would not be intimidated in taking the opening game of the match. But Windthorst showed why it had 12 state titles under its belt and would take the next three games.
Flowers still managed to walk off the court a winner. She compiled 18 kills, 17 digs and had four aces in the match to earn all-tournament honors.
Her actions spoke loudly during the course of the season and has paid many dividends, including being named the Player of the Year on the 2008 Advocate All-Area Volleyball Team.
"She was a great leader, particularly for some of our younger players," said coach Michelle Winkenwerder, who was named the Advocate's Coach of the Year. "In practice she didn't hold anything back, she made you play her and made all the other players around her improve."
The 5-foot-9 outside hitter is set on continuing her volleyball career after signing with Coastal Bend College earlier this month. But before then, she still has one high school game left, as she will be a member of the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star Classic to be played July 15 in Austin.
"Volleyball is my game and I love it more than anything," Flowers said. "I love everything about it and to get all the unexpected honors is unbelievable. I just try to do the best I can."
Along with being chosen an all-star, she also earned all-state honors with the TGCA and was the District 29-1A co-MVP. She finished the year with 417 kills, 301 digs, 105 blocks, 22 assists, 46 aces and 199 service points.
"I'm so pleased to see that she is going to continue her athletic ability in college," said Winkenwerder. "She has so much raw talent that it's going to be fun to see what happens as she begins to develop at a higher level.
"Players like that come around every once in a while, and sometimes when you get a player like that with the raw talent they don't have the good work ethic or good attitude, but Ieisha is not like that, she definitely has all three."
Other players who also found success on the court and earned top all-area honors were Yorktown senior Larae Wieland (Hitter of the Year), St. Joseph junior Summer Brooks (Blocker of the Year), Edna senior Sha'Rae Runnels (Defensive Player of the Year), Hallettsville senior Callie Herrington (Setter of the Year), and Yoakum sophomore Briana Pavlicek (Newcomer of the Year).
Wieland helped guide the Kitty Kats to the Class 1A regional finals in a matchup with Shiner. She was the District 30-1A MVP and finished the season with 567 kills, 347 digs, 28 blocks, 66 aces and 499 service points.
Brooks played an instrumental role in leading the Lady Flyers to the TAPPS Class 4A state playoffs. A member of the TAPPS District 3-4A squad she finished with 314 kills, 163 blocks, 213 digs and 82 aces.
Runnels earned her second straight defensive honor after being named the District 28-3A Defensive MVP and finishing with 918 digs.
Herrington shared setter honors last year, but stood out this season in helping the Lady Brahmas run through District 26-2A unbeaten. The district's MVP finished with 1,041 assists, along with 156 digs, 70 kills, 44 blocks, 30 aces and 201 service points.
Pavlicek was the District 28-3A Newcomer of the Year and finished the season with 323 kills, 240 digs, 13 blocks, 55 aces and 187 service points.
Named to the Advocate's all-area first team were outside hitters Meredith Bard, Heather Runnels, Kelly Hairell and Megan Lange; middle blockers Samantha Alvarez, Kristen Hermes, Chantal Beaudoin and Amber Bain; defensive specialists Jenna Treybig and Emilie Jansky; setters Bethany Martino, Caitlin Kalich and Kymber Blaschke; and server Alyssa Strauss .
Bard, a senior from El Campo, was selected to the District 23-4A first team and recorded 384 kills, 306 digs, 136 blocks, and 40 aces.
Runnels, a junior from Wharton, was the District 30-3A co-MVP where she recorded 444 kills, 277 digs, 72 blocks and 89 aces.
Hairell, a senior from Hallettsville, was named to the District 26-2A first team and paced her team with 385 kills, 83 digs, 64 blocks and 56 aces, while Lange, a senior from Cuero, was on the District 28-3A team and finished with 223 kills, 375 digs, 40 blocks and 37 aces.
Alvarez, a senior at Memorial, earned recognition on the District 27-5A first team and tallied 239 kills, 291 digs, 90 blocks and 33 aces, while Hermes, a junior from Edna, was the District 28-3A Offensive MVP and finished with 265 kills and 150 blocks.
Beaudoin, a senior at Industrial, was the District 29-2A MVP and compiled 331 kills, 142 blocks, 260 digs and 66 aces to help the Lady Cobras reach the regional semifinals.
Bain, a junior at Louise, tallied 459 kills and 215 blocks in helping her team reach the class 1A regional quarterfinals.
Treybig, a senior at Palacios, was the District 28-3A MVP and will be playing at Wharton Junior College in the fall.
She finished with 309 kills, 203 digs and 113 blocks.
Emilie Jansky, a senior at Hallettsville, was the District 26-2A Defensive MVP and tallied 773 digs, and 49 aces.
Martino, a senior from Palacios, was the District 28-3A tri-setter of the year and had 724 assists on the year, while Kalich, a junior from Shiner, was on the District 29-1A first team and finished with 869 assists. Blaschke, a senior from Yorktown, was the District 30-1A setter of the year and had 906 assists.
Strauss, a senior from Shiner, was the District 29-1A co-MVP along with Flowers and tallied 101 aces with 402 service points, 267 digs and 306 kills.
Second-team selections included, outside hitters Aubrey Kubecka of Palacios, Jill McElroy of Shiner St. Paul and Leah Mikesy of Schulenburg; middle blockers Kaycee Hillmer of St. Joseph and Shanique Dogins of Wharton; defensive specialists Kadi Lauer of Ganado and Alycia Ulrich of Schulenburg; setters Katie Shellenbarger of Cuero and Regan Ballin of Edna; and server Shelby Bernshausen of Shiner.
2008 Advocate All-Area Volleyball Team
Player of the Year: Ieisha Flowers, sr., Shiner
Hitter of the Year: Larae Wieland, sr., Yorktown
Blocker of the Year: Summer Brooks, jr., St. Joseph
Defensive Player of the Year: Sha'Rae Runnels, sr., Edna
Setter of the Year: Callie Herrington, sr., Hallettsville
Newcomer of the Year: Briana Pavlicek, soph., Yoakum
Coach of the Year: Michelle Winkenwerder, Shiner
Outside hitters - Meredith Bard, sr., El Campo; Heather Reynolds, jr., Wharton; Kelly Hairell, sr., Hallettsville; Megan Lange, sr., Cuero
Middle blockers - Samantha Alvarez, sr., Memorial; Kristen Hermes, jr., Edna; Chantal Beaudoin, sr., Industrial; Amber Bain, jr., Louise.
Defensive specialists - Jenna Treybig, sr., Palacios; Emilie Jansky, sr., Hallettsville.
Setters - Bethany Martino, sr., Palacios; Caitlin Kalich, jr., Shiner; Kymber Blaschke, sr., Yorktown.
Server - Alyssa Strauss, sr., Shiner
Outside hitters - Audrey Kubecka, sr., Palacios; Jill McElroy, jr., Shiner St. Paul; Leah Mikesky, Schulenburg
Middle blockers - Kaycee Hillmer, jr., St. Joseph; Shanique Dogins, soph., Wharton.
Defensive specialists - Kadi Lauer, sr., Ganado; Altcia Ulrich, Schulenburg.
Setters - Katie Shellenbarger, jr., Cuero; Regan Ballin, sr., Edna.
Server - Shelby Bernshausen, sr., Shiner
Memorial: Bianca Trevino, Katelyn Rather, Brittany Stafford, Tabitha Zella
El Campo: Kendra Legler, Shelby Cooper
Bay City: Alyssa Dibbern, Haley Higgins
Calhoun: Kendra Parsons, Rilea Whitaker, Shelly Fivecoat
Beeville: Erin Tabb, Hillary Henning
Wharton: Mardi Gutierrez, Marshay Shelton
Cuero: Emily Reese, Sha'Neal Mayfield
Edna: Whitney Neal, Kelsie Angell, Emily Nava
Palacios: Chelsey Kubecka
Gonzales: Kelley Spahn, Shelby Zigmond, Brenna Barnick
Goliad: Danielle Matula, cheyenne Gonzalez
Yoakum: Ariel Machacek, Dalena Hagan, Alexis Cuellar, Megan Carmichael
Hallettsville: LaTreece Haynes, Brooke Leopold, Haley Leopold
Weimar: Chelsea Soto, Kari Christen
East Bernard: Bev Kresta
Schulenburg: Kalli Mikulik
Rice Consolidated: Brooke Popp, Amber Huver
Industrial: Halie Althaus, Jordan Milberger, Taylor Milberger
Bloomington: Kesha Jackson
Shiner: Amber Shimek, Lauren Haynes, Amanda Hibbs
Flatonia: Elizabeth Bruns, Courtney Mica, Cailin Mica, Regina Estrada
Louise: Kaleigh Kutac, Katie Brown
Ganado: Katie Sherman, Allison Peters
Pettus: Tori Garza
Runge: Amy Janssen
Woodsboro: Mallory Jessop, Meagan Nieman
Yorktown: Katie Niemeier, Kelsey Sievers, Casey Brysch
St. Joseph: Sarah Tucker, Brooke Blanton, Haley Oliver
Shiner St. Paul: Carissa Sciba, Hannah Kocian, Kyla Schacherl
Faith Academy: Emily Graff, Ashley Tyau
Hallettsville Sacred Heart: Kaylie Steffek, Kayla Harmon, Kandee Bludau, Anna Hemmi
Paul Ebner is the assistant sports editor for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact him at 361-580-6507 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.