BY DAVE PEDERSEN
Delano senior Shelby Seurer was surprised with the presentation ceremony of the volleyball representing her 1,000th career kill last Tuesday in the home match against Holy Family Catholic.
However, it was no surprise to coach Rebecca Rue, who knew the major milestone was achieved in the championship game of the Chanhassen tournament Sept. 28. The coach anticipated the possibility and brought a new game ball to the tourney to be exchanged for the milestone marker. Seurer did not know until the honor was bestowed three days later.
Rue also is not surprised the rare milestone was reached, calling Seurer “one of the most coachable, unselfish and dynamic athletes I have had.”
Currently, Kayla Koenecke holds the school record at 1,169 kills. Rue said Seurer has a chance to break the record.
“This is quite the milestone,” says Rue, noting how 1,000 kills is very tough to obtain, especially at this level. “A lot of times when you look at rosters, girls aren’t earning varsity spots until their junior or senior year. Shelby played as a freshman on varsity and she started as a sophomore and junior.”
As a ninth-grader, Seurer earned 102 kills, adding 247 her sophomore year and 439 last season as a junior. In all of those years, Delano was very competitive, finishing the season with records of 22-10, 21-8 and 22-7.
This season, Seurer has 250 kills with a home match set against Orono Thursday, Oct. 10. Delano goes to the St. Michael-Albertville Invitational Oct. 11-12. The team ends the regular season at home against section rival Hutchinson Oct. 14.
“Shelby definitely deserves this honor,” adds Rue. “It takes a ton of talent, hard work and dedication to the sport for an athlete to reach this milestone, but I also know that this milestone is a team effort. Without good passing and consistent setting, 1,000 kills is pretty much impossible.”
Seurer totally agrees with her coach that she has been surrounded by some great teammates over the years.
“I was surprised by the special ceremony planned by my coach and teammates,” said Seurer, who thought she was close to getting her 1000th kill that night. Little did she know it was a done deal. “This is obviously a huge accomplishment, but I know it could not be done without a solid program and team year after year in Delano.”
Seurer started playing volleyball in seventh grade in a small town in South Dakota. She moved to Delano in eighth grade and found many more opportunities to play the sport all year around.
She tried out for the top volleyball club team in the metro as an eighth-grader and was on the national championship U15 Northern Lights club team based in Burnsville. Last season, Seurer was surprised to learn she was named to the All-State volleyball team.
Playing in her senior season was a little in doubt when Seurer was diagnosed to have a stress fracture in her back during the summer. A MRI at the start showed it had healed, but she stilled needed regular physical therapy and had to be careful.
“Our team this year is focused on the same goal and we have a very good chance at going to state,” said Seurer. “We have a lot of big hitters and we are strong in all positions.”
This is the third year since Delano was moved up to play in Class 3A when a run of three straight trips to state ended. The section features some of the top teams in the state, including No. 1 Chaska.
The Tigers have done well in major tournaments, placing second in both. Seurer adds, “It does stink to lose, but it shows we were right in there with the big schools. We were definitely pushed and learned from it.”
Seurer is closing in on Koenecke’s school kill record. The former Tiger who helped Delano get to the state tournament has won three straight national titles at Concordia University in St. Paul with one year to go.
“Kayla has been around to help with the Delano volleyball program,” said the 6-2 Tiger hitter. “She is an awesome person to be around and someone I look up to for sure.”
Rue says Seurer is a true student of the game, adding, “Her passion for volleyball is over the top. She also is the type of player that lives for the pressure moments.”
Delano improved to 17-3 overall, 7-0 in the Wright County Conference, with 3-0 victories over Holy Family and Mound-Westonka last week.
Against Holy Family, kill leaders were Seurer (14), Alex Wittinger (10) and Bria Barfnecht (7). Kristin Kreklow had 28 set assists.
In the win over Mound-Westonka, Seurer led with 15 kills, followed by Wittinger (11), Tori Hanson (8) and Barfnecht (5). Kreklow had 32 set assists.