MOUNT VERNON — Fredericktown middle-hitter Kaitlyn Newkirk has been named the 2009 Mount Vernon News Girls Volleyball Player of the Year. Newkirk’s strong hitting and blocking skills, combined with her leaping ability and raw athleticism, make her a powerful force in the middle for the Freddies.
“We worked throughout the summer,” said Newkirk. “We had summer camps and summer league, so we were playing together once a week. We are good friends anyway and we have seven seniors on the team, so we are close-knit. We’ve been playing together since seventh and eighth grade, so we went into the season knowing how each other played and that helps a lot. We started out the season winning. We wanted the MBC title but it didn’t go the way we wanted.”
“That’s wonderful — that’s great news,” a delighted Marilyn Rutherford, the Fredericktown volleyball coach, said of Newkirk’s honor. “She’s fun to watch. She’s just a good kid all the way around. She’s genuine — that’s just what she is. She has incredible raw talent with her jumping ability and strength. Whatever she’s doing at the moment, she loves. Fortunately, for me, it’s volleyball in the fall. She’s a team player. The girls voted her MVP for the team, so that’s a huge compliment to her. She’s just exciting to watch. She makes it look easy and she plays through the pain.”
Along with Newkirk, Lyndsay Briegel was named to the News All-Area first team and her sister, Courtney, was Honorable Mention.
East Knox coach Brooke Doup was named 2009 Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year. Undoubtedly, it was the Bulldogs’ two huge wins against the Freddies, which led to an MBC title, that rank among the season’s highlights for Doup.
“This is my fourth year at East Knox and when you walk in you don’t know what to expect and they didn’t really have a winning program before I got there,” said Doup. “Over the past four years, we’ve just been building. From the beginning of the season the girls all worked hard. They put a lot of time and effort into it and where they came out was phenomenal.”
The Bulldogs vaulted over Fredericktown, defeating them twice in the season despite the fact that the Freddies were absolutely loaded and more than a formidable challenge.
“We put up a record of 19-5,” said Rutherford. “We wanted to be two-time MBC champs but, to East Knox’ credit, they put together a great season and they deserve the championship because they really worked hard to put their season together.”
“To be able to pull it out both times was so great for the girls,” said Doup.
Three of Doup’s players were named to the News All-Area team. Sierra Mazzaro and Lindsey Van Hoose are on the First Team and Emily Morris received Honorable Mention.
“Sarah is a gifted athlete,” said Doup. “She is very focused and very determined. “It’s a great honor for Lindsey because she’s only a sophomore. She plays volleyball from November to November. Emily takes her job seriously and she knows where to put the ball when it needs to be put there. She learned to jump serve this year.”
Also on the First Team are Rachael Ward of Mount Vernon and Kristen Anderson of Highland.
Rounding out the Honorable Mention category are Maria Hansen (Danville), Mackenzie Stoyle (Centerburg), Tamara Londot (Utica) and Payton Denman (Highland).