Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Omlid, a junior, was among the MWC’s most dangerous middle blocker/outside hitters. Omlid was second for the Panthers in kills with 179 and in aces with 23. “Krista is a very naturally talented player,” Central coach Claudine Mendazona said. “She has a lot to offer our program and the potential to play at a high level beyond high school. Offensively and defensively, she was a major contributor for us. She is tough to stop. Offensively, she is very quick to the ball.” Omlid earned second team all-MWC honors for her performance. And her killer instinct made her the Panthers’ top offensive threat. “She was our go-to,” Mendazona said. “She could put the ball away. I expect that she will do big things for us next season.”
Classen, a sophomore, was the key to making Dallas’ offense go. “Emma is one of the most athletic kids I have ever coached,” Dallas coach Shana Lavier said. “She was able to get to most every second ball because of her pure athleticism. With a 26-inch vertical, she was able to put a big block up as a setter. Her left hand made her an offensive threat of her own.” Classen earned second team all-MWC honors for her performance and was a big part in Dallas’ success during the 2016 season.
The senior came into her own in 2016. Dowdell led the Panthers in kills (203) and in aces (26) and was second in digs (172). Dowdell earned an all-league honorable mention for her performance during the season. She was invaluable to the team’s success, Mendazona said. “She was the voice of the Panthers on the court,” Mendazona said. “She put in the work to become the player she is. She has an excellent work ethic and a strong commitment to her team.”
The junior libero was a key player during Perrydale’s run to the state playoffs in 2016. Juarez, who earned first team all-Casco League honors, was one of the Pirates’ unquestioned leaders. She helped an inexperienced squad find success in league play. “We were very dependent on her for her great defense,” coach Denise Dickey said. “Every match she played left a lasting impression. She, in my opinion, is one of the best defensive players in the state. She was the core of our very young team.”
The senior right side hitter’s true value was defined by versatility. “Megan was one of those kids that has played every position for us,” Lavier said. “Last year she was a middle blocker. This year, she was a right side for us. She had a great attitude about it and was a leader on the team.” Despite moving positions, she found ways to excel and thrive in her new roles. Along the way, she earned an all-league honorable mention.
The sophomore defensive specialist/libero became one of the Panthers’ most important contributors during the 2016 season. Chavez had 202 digs, a 2.20 passing average, and 18 aces. “Elizabeth is another talented player I have been fortunate to coach,” Mendazona said. “… Defensively, she did a great job of reading plays and anticipating where she needed to be. She was our libero who chased down and laid out for every out-of-system ball off the court. Every point was important to her, as it should be to all. She has an aggressive, jump-float serve that she earned many aces from.” Chavez, who earned an all-league honorable mention, and as only a sophomore, has the potential to become one of the team’s, if not the league’s, best players. “I’m very excited to see her grow,” Mendazona said.
Mendazona helped Central navigate a difficult Mid-Willamette Conference to earn a spot in the state playoffs. “She gives you praise when you do something good,” Dowdell said. “She would invite other coaches into our practices to help her see things that she wasn’t seeing. She wasn’t always the most cheery coach. We knew when we did something bad, she would punish us, like she would make us run for our errors. It helped everyone realize we need to stop making so many errors.”
The 2016 Itemizer-Observer all-region volleyball team was selected by Sports Editor Lukas Eggen, along with heavy input from area coaches.