WATERLOO — In the middle of Northeast Iowa’s hotbed of high school volleyball success, plenty of game-changing players have helped elevate their respective metro programs.
This past season, Cedar Falls and Waterloo Columbus each made runs into the state finals, while Waterloo East upset No. 12-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock to reach the Class 4A regional finals. Those three programs produced the eight athletes named to the 2016 All-Metro volleyball first team as voted on by the coaches of the six metro programs.
Columbus outside hitter Lauren McManus, a four-time first-team selection, was the lone senior first-team selection. The University of Denver volleyball recruit averaged 3.03 kills and 3.14 digs per set for a Columbus team that knocked off 2A’s No. 4, No. 3 and No. 2-ranked schools en route to the state finals. Anna Sinnott led Class 2A with 473 kills (4.46 per set) and returned to the first team alongside her Columbus teammate.
Cedar Falls showed it may own the state’s top junior class as the Tigers spent the majority of the season ranked No. 1 in 5A. Setter Tayah Mahi led 5A with 10.28 assists per set to earn her third first-team selection. She was joined by classmates in outside hitter Taylor Lynch, a repeat first-team pick who led the Tigers with 3.15 kills per set, and first-time first-team selections Grace Burken and Claire Gerdes. Burken led Cedar Falls with a .474 hitting efficiency and Gerdes posted a team-best 80 blocks.
East junior libero Indya Beaman earned her second first-team honor after averaging 5.11 digs per set, a total that ranked sixth in Class 4A. Columbus sophomore libero Kate Shannon was the youngest first-team selection with her 4.25 digs per set leading the Sailors’ back row.
Middles Kaylissa Arndoerfer of Waterloo West and Geneva Basye of Valley Lutheran led their teams in kills and blocks and were named to the second team. Waterloo Christian was represented on the second team by setter Abigail Doering.
The second team also included a pair of additional Cedar Falls juniors in libero Abby Hendrickson and middle Cynthia Wolf. Columbus’ duo of second-team selections were seniors in middle hitter Brianne Eighme and setter Sydney Shannon, while the pair of junior setter Brianna Netty and senior outside hitter McKayla Ryan from East made the team.