by Richard Lamb –Outlook Publisher
Onaway senior Lexi Szymoniak capped an outstanding volleyball career by earning a spot on the Michigan High School Volleyball Coaches Association first all-state team for Class D. She appeared in two final fours, as a sophomore middle hitter in 2012 and this season as an outside hitter.
She holds several career, match and season records set in her three-year varsity career. Szymoniak set the season records for 65 kills and 2,164 attacks this season. As a tribute to her all-around ability, she set the single-season school record with 795 digs, breaking the previous mark of 638 set by Emily Estep.
This season she was third on the team with 45 assists, second on the team with 85 ace serves and added 31 blocks.
“Lexi eats, sleeps and breathes volleyball. She is as dedicated a player as I have ever coached. This award is a test1ament to her effort level,” said coach Steve Watson.
She finished her career with 1,100 kills, 3,849 attacks and 1,696 digs, each category second all-time to Mariah Ehrke, a four-year starter for Watson.
Taylor Ehrke made the third team for Class D all-state. The sophomore setter had 952 assists, second to the record she set last season. She notched 140 kills, 69 aces with 411 digs and 21 blocks. She is 238 assists away from Megan Estep’s career assist record.
“I had a lot of comments from opposing coaches on how she matured as a player from last year,” Watson said. “She is a central cog on our team.”
Senior Elise Arkwood made the honorable mention list for all-state, propelled by an outstanding tournament run. She had an especially good match in the state semifinals where she had off the charts attack rating of .545. For the season, she had 205 kills, 32 assists, 81 aces, 400 digs and 25 blocks.
“Elise played an unbelievable match at the state semifinals. When you consider the arena and all that is resting on it, she had one of the best performances in Onaway athletic history,” Watson said.
Ashley LaLonde, a senior, was honored with a place on the all-regional team. She had 31 kills, 67 assists, 89 aces to go with 442 digs and 11 blocks.
LaLonde, Arkwood and Szymoniak were all co-captains on the team. They led the 2014 Lady Cardinals to the Ski Valley Conference, district and regional championships.
The team won its quarterfinal match to advance to the Class D final four. At that match, they took No. 1 ranked Leland to five sets before Leland came away with the win.