The Iowa Girls Coaches Association announced its all-state volleyball teams today, and the lone area representative on this year’s all-state teams hails from Murray.
Junior Hannah Barber earned a third-team nod in Class 1A after a record-breaking season for the Lady Mustangs.
“That’s a nice honor for her and a nice way for us to finish off the season to be able to get somebody on all-state,” Murray head coach Jerry Shields said. “I think she deserved it. That’s a nice honor for her as a junior.”
Barber helped lead the Lady Mustangs to a school record 27 wins in a 27-4 season, topping the previous mark of 22 wins in a season. She also ranked sixth in Class 1A this season in kills with 366.
That, too, was a school record, breaking the previous mark of 342 by Stephanie Kirk.
“That’s a big individual honor and a big team honor, too, for her to be recognized,” Shields said. “We had 27 wins this season, which shattered the old record of 22 wins. She had 366 kills, and broke the old school record by Stephanie Kirk set back in 2003.”
Barber averaged 4.31 kills per set and hit at a .313 rate. While the Murray attack behind her was balanced, Barber was the go-to player for the Lady Mustangs.
“We had a lot of balance this year,” Shields said. “Nobody was able to key on her a lot. That made it nice when we did need a point, she was able to get it for us. Grandview Park Baptist was probably the team we struggled with the most as far as her, because they followed her all night long and double teamed her the whole time.”
But it wasn’t just Barber’s attacking at the net that earned her all-state recognition.
She was a leader for the Lady Mustangs in just about every category.
Barber led the team with 81 ace serves this season and served at a 93 percent clip. She recorded a team high 181 digs, as well.
“She did a really nice job serving for us this year, too,” Shields said. “She’s not just a hitter, but a good all-around player. She does a good job. A well-rounded athlete for volleyball.”
Following a regional final loss to Stanton, Viqueen head coach Jody Druivenga noted how her team tried to avoid serving the ball to Barber and wanted to keep from sending free balls over the net toward her, given her defensive prowess.
Shields said the reason for her success on the volleyball court is simple — she puts in the work.
“Volleyball is her only sport,” he said. “She puts in a lot of work. She plays a lot of club ball. The team did more this summer than in the past. She does a lot of practicing at home. As much as she’s put in, it’s a well-deserved award for her.”
Shields said Barber, along with several other volleyball players, spent many hard hours working in the weight room and in conditioning.
“They’re willing to go in there and put the work in first thing in the morning,” he said. “She did a lot of cardiovascular training, too. I think that was a key for our team, for that matter. We didn’t really go five games that often, but when we did go deep in matches, we always had the feeling we’d be able to outlast the other team, because we thought we were in better shape than them.”
Barber, at 6-0, will return next year to form a formidable front row for the Lady Mustangs with Madison Gonseth and Jade Lecy, both sophomores this year, giving Murray three players taller than 5-11 in the front row.
“We’ll have a good formidable front line,” Shields said. “We’ll bring back two of our better defensive players. Our biggest thing we’ll have to find is a setter to take Kate’s (Patton) spot.”
Barber was also named to the all-district team for Class 1A’s South Central District. Joining her on the South Central all-district team are senior teammates Patton and Megan Oswald.
Patton had a successful season setting for the Lady Mustangs, shattering the school single-season record for assists.
The quick senior finished the season with 666 assists, breaking the old mark set by Holly Crain with 410 in 2001.
Patton also recorded 70 ace serve and served 97 percent for the season.
Oswald, meanwhile, ranked second on the team with 170 kills. She added 24 aces, while serving 96 percent. Oswald ranked third on the team with 55 total blocks and recorded 60 digs.
East Union senior Brittany Malone was named to the Class 1A South West all-district team in a season that saw her move from hitter to libero. Malone recorded 438 digs and 33 total blocks, and also finished with 112 kills. She had 20 aces while serving 88 percent.
In Class 2A, Southwest Valley junior Marie Palmer was named to the South West all-district team. Palmer led the Timberwolves with 326 kills, hitting at a .294 rate. She recorded 34 aces on 84 percent serving. She led the team with 61 total blocks, including 54 solo blocks. She also recorded 73 digs.
Creston junior Natalie Mostek was named to the Class 4A West all-district team after leading the Hawkeye 10 Conference in blocks with 118 total blocks, including 103 solo blocks.
Mostek finished the year with 89 digs and led the Panthers with 189 kills. She also recorded 20 ace serves, serving at a 93 percent rate.