High school volleyball: 2013 Deseret News MVPs possessed more than talent in leading their teams
Riley Lyman, Enterprise
Watch Riley Lyman play volleyball for five minutes and even the most uneducated observer can see her athletic talent. But it’s not just her skill that allowed the junior middle blocker to help the Enterprise Wolves to a 2A state volleyball title.
“Her competitiveness,” said head coach Brian Phelps when asked what Lyman’s greatest strength is. “You don’t have every athlete with that competitive fire that you want. She’s one of those who wants to win no matter what you’re doing.”
Whether it’s a drill in practice or a point in a game — Lyman wants to win.
“She led more by example,” Phelps said. “We had two seniors who were also captains. Together, they brought a lot of really good unity for our team.”
Lyman led the team with 321 digs and 197 block kills. That’s a new state record — by three kills. The old record was held by Lyman’s older sister.
“I had her at outside last year, but this year, I needed her block really bad,” Phelps said. After too many second-place finishes, Phelps said the team wanted to make whatever adjustments were necessary to win the title this season. This year’s championship was the school's first in 23 years.
“We had to do better. We had to block better,” Phelps said. “We thought we really got beat on the front, at the net. We thought we out-passed people, out-served people. But we didn’t out-hit or out-block them. She’s made a huge difference in that area for us.”
Britt Sederholm, St. Joseph
Ray Franklin heard about the talented volleyball player at the junior high before he ever saw Britt Sederholm.
But he kept his expectations modest because, well, coaches hear a lot of hype about a lot of players.
“The first day she showed up to practice, and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe it!’” he said. “She was already, as a freshman on the varsity level, as good or better than the players I had. She was definitely a good hitter and very good at the net blocking.”
But the four-year starter who led the Jayhawks to their first 1A state volleyball title in school history had something that’s a lot harder to teach than hitting, blocking and serving.
“She just had that game sense to go along with her skill level,” Franklin said. “She could anticipate what was going to happen. She knew if she needed to adjust, go off-speed. She kind of predicted things before they actually happened.”
That intuitive play usually comes after a few years of varsity experience. Part of Sederholm’s success may come from playing club volleyball with Franklin’s assistant, Cindy White. White's daughter, Mady, who is the 1A defensive MVP, was playing, so Cindy began coaching the girls when they were 10.
Sederholm led the team with 365 kills, 154 digs, 90 aces and a .398 hitting percentage.
Franklin said that in addition to the time Sederholm has given to improving her game, she is also a natural competitor.
“She is probably, in addition to Mady and Jessie (Bischoff), probably the most competitive girls on the team,” he said. “Her work ethic this year was by far the best. She came into this season with pretty much a mission. Her talent, her work ethic, her leadership — this year kind of all came together for her.”
Photo credits: Matt Gade, Deseret News