Playing volleyball at Omaha Marian has been a four-year improvement process for senior Maggie Heim.
She played sparingly as a freshman before putting up solid numbers her sophomore and junior seasons. She took another step in her final varsity season, helping the Crusaders (38-5) finish as the Class A runner-up.
The 6-foot hitter and setter is rewarded for her effort with a spot on this year's All-Metro Conference team. She finished the season with 287 kills and led the team in assists with 643 and aces with 61.
“Maggie was much more dominating in the front row this season,” Crusaders coach Rochelle Rohlfs said, “and she was a calming presence at setter. We needed both of those things from her.”
Joining Heim on the first team are three Nebraska recruits from Class A champion Papillion-La Vista South — 6-foot-2 twin sisters Amber and Kadie Rolfzen and 5-11 setter Kelly Hunter. Also on the first team are Lexi Elman of Marian, Taylor Burbage of Bellevue East and Samara West of Omaha North.
The Rolfzens earn slots on the first team for the fourth straight year. Hunter is a three-time selection. Elman made the team for the second straight year while Heim and Burbage were second-team selections last year.
The second team consists of Makayla Maxwell and Morgan Thompson of Millard North, Kamesha Young and Alexis Anderson of Millard West, Katie Kurtz of Papio South, Annie Wolfe of Marian and Alexa Johnson of Papillion-La Vista.
On the third team are Olivia Schonewise of Papio South, Katie Stephens of Papio, Casey Shapiro of Millard West, Anna Hookham of Omaha Burke, Brittany Witt of Marian, Maura Hanzek of Millard South and Kianna Ibis of Omaha Benson.
The teams are based on observations by World-Herald staff writers and nominations by coaches.
An Ohio State recruit, Heim was one of five seniors for the Crusaders. As a left-hander, she gave Marian an important weapon on the outside of the front row.
“She was an effective hitter, and she also was able to put up a big block,” Rohlfs said. “She had three or four blocks against the (Rolfzen) twins in that championship match, and that's not easy to do.”
Amber Rolfzen led the Titans with 352 kills and was second on the team in digs with 229. Kadie Rolfzen pounded 328 kills and led the team in digs with 299. She also had 42 aces and 30 blocks.
Hunter, the lone setter in the Titans' 5-1 attack, dished out 808 assists. She also had 81 kills, 65 aces, 42 blocks and 208 digs.
Elman, a University of Pacific recruit, led the Crusaders in kills with 498. In addition to averaging 4.3 kills per set, she also had 386 digs.
Burbage led Class A with an average of 5.5 kills per set. The Southern Illinois recruit led the Chieftains in kills (494), hitting efficiency (.319), aces (90) and blocks (90).
“Taylor put up some big numbers despite the fact we had an inexperienced team,” Bellevue East coach Robyn Cascio-Jensen said. “She had to work hard, but I think her greatest contribution was working with all of our young players.”
Cascio-Jensen added that Burbage matured as more of an all-around athlete her senior year.
“She knew that she was going to be counted on as more of a leader and she really responded,” the coach said. “I felt the team chemistry with this group was the best of any team I've coached.”
The 6-foot-4 West, an Iowa State recruit, was a bright spot for the Vikings. She finished with 297 kills (3.7 average per set) and led the team in blocks with 64.
“I'm very proud of the way she played this season,” North coach Sarah Rittenhouse said. “She has improved her game so much.”
Rittenhouse added that West also is a winner off the court.
“She's not only a great teammate but a great student,” the coach said. “We're going to miss her next year.”
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