ELYRIA — After playing for five coaches, making a pair of trips to regionals and being the only senior on Elyria Catholic’s team, outside hitter Sara Kaminski is prepared for anything on volleyball court.
But there was one thing she didn’t expect — to hear her name called as the winner of the 2011 Lorain County Miss Volleyball Award during the All-Star festivities Wednesday night. It was the 26th year the award has been given to the county’s top senior player.
“I was surprised and excited when I heard my name,” Kaminski said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”
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Kaminski was the captain of a Panthers team that rebounded from a 4-4 start to finish 18-7 and earn a second straight district championship.
“I could not be happier with the season we had,” Kaminski said. “When we were 4-4, everyone was saying we weren’t that good of a team this year and we proved a lot of people wrong.”
Kaminski was a big reason for Elyria Catholic’s successful second-half run, finishing the year with 253 kills, 328 digs and 40 aces. But according to Panthers first-year coach Jen Lee, Kaminski meant more to the team than mere numbers could quantify.
“Sara is a special player and a great leader,” Lee said. “She had to teach me a lot of things this year. She knew how to set up the nets, how to handle her teammates, she made my job so much easier. I know how much she deserves this award and I am so happy for her.”
Lee knows how it feels to win the Miss Volleyball award. She was the 1986 winner after completing her high school career at Midview.
There is more volleyball in the future for Kaminski who is looking at a number of Division III colleges in Ohio and Pennsylvania before deciding where to continue her career. But before that decision has to be made she was grateful for one more chance to play on her home court.
“Our last game against Bay, we kinda got beat pretty bad and I am excited to get another chance to play here at home one final time,” Kaminski said before taking the court for the second of two All-Star games.
Kaminski started playing volleyball in fourth grade at St. Mary’s, and had Lee as a coach when she played for the Spirit Volleyball Club.
“All of the coaches I have had have been so supportive of me over my career,” Kaminski said. “They are all responsible for me being the player I am today.”
She is the second Elyria Catholic player in the past three seasons to win Miss Volleyball, joining 2009 winner Zoe Zwegat.
“I didn’t even name a co-captain this year because Sara was the leader of the team,” Lee said. “Everyone looked up to her and followed her lead on the court. She helped the younger girls to break out of their shell and become more vocal on the court.”
Kaminski received a standing ovation from the crowd at EC’s Coliseum when she was called to center court to accept her award.
“Of course it means a lot to win an award like this but it means so much more when you can win it on your home court,” she said.
Miss Volleyball award winners
(College attended in parentheses)
- 1985 — Angie Riggins, Elyria High (Ashland)
- 1986 — Jennifer Smith, Midview (Cleveland State)
- 1987 — Rebecca Yarish, Elyria Catholic (Kent State)
- 1988 — Monica Taylor, Elyria High (Ohio State)
- 1989 — Rosie Schneider, Avon (Notre Dame of Ohio)
- 1990 — Amy Schloss, Elyria High (Michigan State)
- 1991 — Kearsten Yarish, Elyria Catholic (Cleveland State)
- 1992 — Marin Ferlic, Lorain Catholic (Bowling Green)
- 1993 — Becky Paukst, Elyria West (Ohio University)
- 1994 — Jodi Williams, Elyria High (Edinboro)
- 1995 — Sarah Simmons, Avon Lake (Syracuse)
- 1996 — Erinn Kingmann, Elyria High (Cleveland State)
- 1997 — Rachel Beran, Firelands (Cincinnati)
- 1998 — Jenn Snyder, Elyria High (Akron)
- 1999 — Jessy Verhoff, Elyria High (Western Illinois)
- 2000 — Laura Sidorowicz, Amherst (Tennessee Tech)
- 2001 — Lisa Verhoff, Elyria (Indiana State)
- 2004 — Kate Verhoff, Elyria (Kent State)
- 2005 — Kelly Ruth, Elyria (Xavier)
- 2006 — Ashley Yuhas, Elyria (Walsh)
- 2007 — Courtney Jarvis, Amherst (Akron)
- 2008 — Amanda Medvetz, Elyria (Cleveland State)
- 2009 — Zoe Zwegat, Elyria Catholic (Wooster)
- 2010 — Deme Morales, Amherst (Wisconsin)
- 2011 — Sara Kaminski, Elyria Catholic (undecided)
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.