SIOUXLAND ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Stella Winterfeld of Western Christian Volleyball handles the ball better | Volleyball


Stella Winterfeld knows she’s not the greatest player on the volleyball court.

The Western Christian High School senior is listed in Bound at 5-foot-9, but despite being one of the shorter members of the Wolfpack roster, Winterfeld has hit a better pace year after year.

Take Saturday, for example. Winterfeld had 50 wins in five games at the Pizza Ranch Classic, which was a tournament hosted by the Wolfpack. The Wolfpack won all five games.

HINTON, Iowa — The Hinton High School volleyball team swept Remsen St. Mary’s Tuesday by scores of 25-23, 25-12 and 25-14 at Hinton Gymnasium.

They played tough competitions, such as Sioux Center, Unity Christian, and Sioux Falls Christian.

“Stella and the team wanted to defend their home turf,” said Wolfpack coach Tammi Veerbeek. “Stella is a kid who generates that energy for us. She’s a leader and she’s our team captain. She has a real passion for the game. She’s a jack of all trades for our team.

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Winterfeld is this week’s Siouxland Athlete of the Week.

Winterfeld leads the Wolfpack with 178 kills (12th most in Iowa), and the outside hitter is hitting .369 in the 17 games she has played so far in 2022.

Western Christian advances to Class 2A State Championship Game

On Thursday, the Wolfpack and the Wolverines meet for the ninth time in a state championship.

“I think my senior year has been a lot of fun so far,” Winterfeld said. “It’s such a joy to play with these girls and our team chemistry is so good. Last year, everyone’s been waiting for this year, and it’s been great so far. I don’t feel old enough to have that much leadership. It’s weird, but it feels like my senior year.

Winterfeld worked on how to hit his shots better, especially around the bigger girls on the other side of the net.

So over the summer, the senior Wolfpack focused on how to handle situations where Winterfeld can’t jump over the net and hit it in front of, say, a 5-11 or 6-foot opponent. .

“It’s something that definitely helped me grow,” Winterfeld said. “Sometimes it can be quite difficult when you have a huge block, but I’ve worked a lot on the tooling and learned how to take advantage of it. I learned how to work with it and how I can use it at my advantage. Our setter really helps me with that.

“Tooling” is when the batter tries to find the blocker’s weak spot.

She was second among Western Christian batters last season with 385, behind classmate Abby VerBurg (414).

When she was a sophomore, Winterfeld led the Wolfpack with 351 kills, and she was one of four hitters to have triple-digit kills.

Winterfeld didn’t have enough high-level experience to be the type of hitter she is today, even though she led the Wolfpack in kills two years ago.

“We saw the high IQ of volleyball,” Veerbeek said. “Stella has been around Western Christian volleyball since she was a little girl. You could see the high IQ she had, as well as her great athletic ability. She increased her ability to see the court and see what the other teams give it to her. She handles the ball better than she did in second year.

Winterfeld said she didn’t know what tooling was in sophomore year and she didn’t know how to handle a misplaced set.

With time comes experience.

“There have been a lot of improvements since then,” Winterfeld said.

It’s not the only skill Winterfeld has been working on since Veerbeek transferred Winterfeld to university ahead of the 2020 season.

Winterfeld said she’s also seen progress in her front-end service.

“It’s improved by a crazy amount by far,” she said. “Our servers here at Western are good servers. They definitely make me a better passer. They definitely deserve a ton of credit. This good competition, it was a great learning experience. We built each other up so well. If you come to practice, we fight so hard against each other. It is impossible not to improve.

This competition led the Wolfpack to 21 straight state volleyball appearances and 39 overall.

The Wolfpack were in the Class 2A state championship game last season where they lost to current No. 1 Dike-New Hartford.

Winterfeld said she watched that loss to the Wolverines many times, but she also stressed that it was her job – along with the other six seniors – to worry about what was happening directly in front of the crew.

The Wolfpack will have two games next week against Spirit Lake and Sergeant Bluff-Luton. They will also play at the Sanford Pentagon Invitational next weekend in Sioux Falls.

“We can’t push ourselves too far,” the future Jackrabbit said. “Coach doesn’t mention Dike all the time because we don’t face them that early. We understand that you have to focus on every little thing, every day. We’re working on a state championship.

“It’s a big part of our leadership that we know it’s our last round,” she added. “We want to work so hard for this. Our subclasses follow so well.

Winterfeld is looking forward to her future with the Jackrabbits. She committed to SDSU in the spring, reversing that decision before her senior year even began.

She said she knew SDSU was the right choice when she had conversations with her mother about other schools, and Winterfeld kept comparing those other schools to the Jackrabbits.

“Anything about campus or volleyball team dynamics, I would just compare it to SDSU,” she said. “It all kept coming back to SDSU. One of my favorite things about SDSU, if you look at the coaching staff, they’re so excited. Our head coach (Dan Georgalas) will jump off the bench if something exciting happens. I love their enthusiasm.

Honorable Mentions

Glen Carlson, Hinton Soccer: Carlson had three total touchdowns in the win over the Warriors. Carlson had two passing touchdowns and one on the ground. Carlson was 11 for 17 for 112 yards.

Emma Henrickson, Spirit Lake Volleyball: The senior outside hitter is 14th in the state with 168 kills.


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