Four players from the Ottumwa volleyball team were selected for the all-conference CIML Metro teams and two received honorable mention.
Senior middle hitter Katie Sammons and senior libero Olivia Roark were both named to first team-all conference.
“Both of those girls were key parts of our volleyball program this year,” volleyball coach Jessica Carson said.
Sammons, who was unanimously voted to the first team by the Metro conference coaches; was an imposing presence at the net for Ottumwa, leading the Bulldogs in kills in the breadth of the Bulldogs’ matches. She broke the all-time school record kills previously held by Indian Hills volleyball player Peyton Crosser.
What makes Sammon’s season particularly astounding, however, is that it turns out she did it all with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her knee. Coach Jessica Carson said Sammons initially injured her knee before the season at volleyball camp, but it wasn’t until the end of the season that she found out she had tore her ACL and meniscus. Carson said Sammons had surgery last week.
“It was amazing she was able to have the outstanding season she had while having a torn ACL through it all,” Carson said. “She never complained about it hurting.”
Roark, who returned to volleyball after trying her luck at cross country her junior year, had a tremendous season. Like Sammons, she also shattered a school record this season: She eclipsed the school record in digs set by Ashley Salgado in 2011.
“She was very quick and was able to get a lot of passes up,” Carson said.
Senior setter Beth Overturf and junior outside hitter Megan Black were both named to the all-conference second team.
Overturf provided the Bulldogs with senior leadership and steady play at setter, leading the team in assists in the majority of its matches.
“She did a very good job at setting and serving,” Carson said. “Her serves were very consistent. She was very good at getting the ball up where our girls could be successful and get good hits.”
Carson said the setter has a big role on the team that is often overlooked. Meanwhile, Black went from playing setter to being the only girl who played all six rotations for the Bulldogs this season.
“She did a tremendous job on the back row on defense,” Carson said.
Black, with the exception of Sammons, was often the Bulldogs’ most effective offensive player in terms of kills per match.
Juniors Megan Cobler and Karissa Wilcoxson received honorable mention. Both girls were regular contributors to Ottumwa’s offensive arsenal.
“They did a very good job hitting the ball and getting to open spots,” Carson said.
The Bulldogs finished the season with a 16-20 record. While they will miss their departing seniors, Ottumwa will see the return of several players with at least a year’s worth of varsity experience next season.
All-Conference CIML Metro
First team — Kaylee Smith (Indianola); Jalynn Roberts-Lewis (D.M. Roosevelt) Taylor Wells (D.M. Roosevelt) Jasmine Jackson (D.M. Lincoln); Katie Sammons (Ottumwa); Olivia Roark (Ottumwa); Chelsey Smith (Indianola); Brittan Reisberg (D.M. Lincoln).
Second team — Beth Overturf (Ottumwa), Megan Black (Ottumwa)
Honorable mention — Megan Cobler (Ottumwa), Karissa Wilcoxson (Ottumwa).