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Five Dragons named region volleyball all-stars

Photo submitted to Times Observer From left are Warren’s three seniors, Halee Mineweaser, Ellee Irwin, and Katie Madigan. Mineweaser and Madigan were voted first-team Region 5 all-stars for the 2021 season, and Irwin to the second team along with junior teammate Carly Beers and sophomore Summer Lucks.

A late-season surge lifted the Warren volleyball team to a co-Region 5 title. Five Dragons have subsequently been named region all-stars by a vote of the region’s coaches.

That’s the most since nearly the entire starting lineup (six) made the postseason list in 2018 after Warren’s first and only District 10 championship.

Seniors Katie Madigan and Halee Mineweaser were voted to the first team, and senior Ellee Irwin, junior Carly Beers, and sophomore Summer Lucks made the second team.

“Having five players make all-region is a testament to how good the entire team was this year,” said Warren coach Mike Dolan, whose Dragons were 20-11-3 overall and 6-2 in the region. “Throughout all the battles we had, whether tough losses or terrific wins, some great volleyball was played and some great players emerged. The late-season surge the entire team had to put on to sort of come out of nowhere to win the Region 5 title was impressive and it’s nice to see all three senior captains, Katie, Halee, and Ellee, recognized, as they certainly put in the hard work it takes to become the leaders and players they are.”

Irwin, an outside hitter, finished with a career-high 149 kills and 235 digs, as well as leading the team with 44 service aces.

Madigan was a setter before moving to starting libero last season. This year, she switched again, and was a standout outside hitter for the Dragons, who advanced to the District 10 3A playoff semifinals before falling to Villa Maria.

Madigan finishes as Warren’s all-time leader in digs with 1,378 for her career, and with 370 kills this season — the second most in a single season — in her first year as an attacker. She had 22 kills and 20 digs in a four-set playoff loss to Villa. Her season high in kills was 30 in a game against Conneaut.

Mineweaser finished with 1,175 assists for her career in only two years as starting setter. She had 695 assists, 252 digs, 46 blocks, 51 aces and 95 kills her senior season.

“The first-team recognition is also a nice finish to the careers of Katie and Halee, who have both been on varsity since they were freshmen,” said Dolan, “and Ellee has worked incredibly hard on all phases of her game to put together the season she has. Every practice, every opportunity, all three of them put out 100 percent effort and, just as importantly, they were always available for the younger players in any way needed to keep the culture of winning going.”

As for those younger players, Beers was second on the team with 198 kills and with a 34.3 percent kill percentage as an outside hitter. Lucks was second on the team with 386 digs and a 95.2 percent serve percentage in her first season as starting libero.

“Carly stepped up her game this season and became an awesome right-side attacker and blocker, which was key to balancing our attack and bringing physical play at the net,” said Dolan. “We are looking for big things from her next season, both with her play and leadership. And, although we didn’t talk about it much, we had a lot of youth contributing to the team this year with three sophomores in the starting lineup — led by the up-the-middle defense of Summer Lucks, who was really able to improve her focus and come up with some big-time games and plays. She showed a lot of maturity and became more than just a reliable back-row player but a tough server, too.

“Congratulations to these players and the whole team as we look forward to continuing success going forward,” he said.

The remaining Region 5 first-team all-stars are junior Kaylee Mattera (outside hitter), senior Jaelyn Blood (middle hitter), senior Amber Clark (setter) and senior Rylee Jones (libero) of Conneaut; senior Ella Stewart (outside hitter) of Meadville; junior Raeley Gargano (outside hitter) of Hickory.

The remaining Region 5 second-team all-stars are senior Carlie Reynolds (setter) and senior Cassie Smith (outside hitter) of Grove City; senior Kendall Sandrock (outside hitter) of Meadville; and junior Sylvia Prebor (middle hitter) of Conneaut.

Mattera was the Player of the Year.

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