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Three Pirates earn their first allconference volleyball awards

Three Pirates earn their first allconference  volleyball awards Three Pirates earn their first allconference  volleyball awards


The loss of seven seniors from last year’s team created larger roles for those who returned to Gilman’s 2020 volleyball team. Three of those players played well enough to earn All-Eastern Cloverbelt Conference honors following the annual vote by the league’s coaches.

Junior Aubrey Syryczuk was one of seven players to make the All-ECC first team, while sophomore Gracie Tallier earned a spot on the second team and junior Emma Grunseth got honorable mention.

These are the first All-ECC honors in volleyball for all three.

Syryczuk and Tallier complemented each other in the left-side hitting position and also helped anchor the back row in their all-around roles. They were Gilman’s most formidable offensive threats during the Pirates’ 5-6 season under head coach Janice Komanec that included a 4-2 mark in Eastern Cloverbelt duals.

Syryczuk finished with a team-high 95 kills despite missing one conference match against Greenwood due to injury. She added seven blocks and 11 service aces. Playing the back row for the first time at the varsity level helped her pile up 95 digs defensively.

She had 14 kills, 14 digs and three aces in a 3-1 win over Owen-Withee on Sept. 29 and 16 kills, 22 digs, three blocks and two aces two nights later in Gilman’s most thrilling win of the season, a 3-2 decision at Neillsville. Another impressive performance came in an Oct. 6 nonconference match against a strong Phillips team, where she had 14 kills, three blocks and six digs.

Syryczuk is one of five newcomers to the first team. The only repeat selections were senior Meghan Kibbel and junior Dorci Walker of Columbus Catholic. The Lady Dons won the school’s fourth straight conference championship by going 7-0 in league play. Walker was named the conference’s Player of the Year.

Columbus Catholic was the lone Eastern Cloverbelt team to get out of the regional rounds in the WIAA tournament. The Dons lost their sectional semifinal match at Three Lakes on Oct. 29 in five sets.

Players moving up to the first team this year are Colby senior Emma Peavey, Columbus Catholic senior Emmalee Jicinski, Loyal senior Katlyn Lindner and Neillsville senior Bella Opelt.

Tallier was one of two sophomores to land on the second team, joining Neillsville’s Delaney Rochester. After missing most of her freshman season while recovering from knee surgery, Tallier All-ECC

had a strong first full season, recording 57 kills and 103 digs. She added 11 aces. She had 12 kills in the win over Owen-Withee, eight kills in a non-conference loss at Cadott on Oct. 15 and six kills in a 3-0 sweep of Greenwood on Oct. 8.

She had a team-high 26 digs and seven kills in the big win at Neillsville, 14 digs against Owen-Withee and 13 against Cadott. Three of her aces came against Owen-Withee and she had two in three other matches.

Grunseth’s value to Gilman’s team this year came in her ability to adapt and play multiple positions. Never having set before, she started the year sharing those duties with Madisyn James and then took over as the setter in a 5-1 offense when injuries forced the team to shuffle its lineup. She filled the left front position when Syryczuk missed her match.

Grunseth finished the season with 124 assists, 36 kills and 34 digs. Her seasonhigh of 31 assists came in the Owen-Withee win. She had 10 aces and still got nine blocks when she was able to play in more familiar territory at the net.

Grunseth recorded five kills in matches with Owen-Withee, Neillsville, Phillips and Greenwood and four kills in each WIAA Division 4 regional match with New Auburn and McDonell Central. She had four blocks in the Phillips match and three against Neillsville.

Gracie Tallier Second Team

Emma Grunseth Hon. Mention