Boonville lands 4 on all-district team, 1 on TCC Team

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball coach Dina Herzog couldn’t have predicted what the 2020 season would entailed with only three starters returning.

While taking over a program that had failed to win a match the year before, Herzog knew it would be an uphill battle.

As it turned out, the battle was hard but the Lady Pirates exceeded their expectations by winning 15 matches to finish 15-10 on the season.

“What a ride,” Herzog said. “We ended up 15-10 overall and 2-4 in the conference but were unable to play Versailles due to COVID-19. We played some great teams and our losses were to California, Blair Oaks, Marshfield, Smithville, Eldon, Fatima, Southern Boone, Osage and Odessa. Six of those losses were to a conference team. Our conference is stacked and full of great athletes and coaches.”

Blair Oaks ended up winning the conference title at 6-0. Eldon and California tied for second at 5-2, followed by Osage at 3-3, Hallsville at 3-4, Boonville at 2-4, Southern Boone at 1-5 and Versailles at 0-5.

Of course the 2-4 mark didn’t stop the Lady Pirates from landing one player on the all-conference team for the 2020 season. That player was junior Addi Brownfield, who was selected to the second team. 

Brownfield also joined three teammates on the Class 3 District 14 All-District Team. Brownfield and senior Kennedy Renfrow were both first team selections while Jodie Bass and Madison Smith were second team picks.

Nonetheless, Herzog said when the season started this fall she agreed to coach this year but needed a coaching staff as passionate about the sport as she was. 

“My daughters, Joedi and Brittney, agreed to help and they had so much to offer Boonville High School,” Herzog said. “The Pirate Volleyball program needed to gain back that desire to win and push through those long five set matches if needed.

“I thought the Lady Pirates worked hard, they improved and they had fun. I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with this bunch. Memories were made and everyone learned a lot about the sport along the way.”

While playing setter and outside hitter for the Lady Pirates this season, Brownfield definitely picked up where she left off during her freshman season. In 24 matches played, Brownfield tied with Madison Smith and Nora Morris for most service points with 68. Brownfield also led the team with 270 assists. However, the one statistic that tends to stick out about Brownfield is that she also finished second on the team in hitting with 131 kills out of 525 attack attempts and 281 digs-which ranked only second to Kennedy Renfrow’s 289.

Herzog said Brownfield is a true leader. “She ran our offense and made smart choices with her hitters,” Herzog said. “Our team trusted Addi to get every second ball. She developed an aggressive outside swing and was our go-to when she wasn’t setting. Addi saw the court and mixed up her hits. She made the all-tournament team in Eldon and was first team all-district.”

Renfrow also had the kind of season that coach Herzog envisioned at the start of the season. While earning all-district honors last year for the Lady Pirates, Renfrow returned with that same fire in 2020 to finish the season with 67 service points with 25 aces along with 289 digs, 400 serve-receive attempts with only 32 errors, 28 assists and four kills.

Herzog said Renfrow is the only four-year volleyball player. “She plays with confidence and makes those around her better,” Herzog said. “Her aggressive adjustments on defense and cover of our hitters was always there. Setting up defenses outside the block and ready to dig every first ball was her specialty. She was also first team all-district.”

Senior Jodie Bass also returned to the team after a one-year hiatus. While playing middle hitter and ride side for the Lady Pirates, Bass had little trouble picking up where she left off by finishing with 56 service points with 13 aces along with 171 digs, 71 kills on 283 attack attempts, 250 serve-receive attempts with only 21 errors, 12 assists and nine blocks.

“Jodie was a huge part of our serve receive,” Herzog said. “She was quick on defense and anticipated early where the ball was going. With her quick arm swing, she started middle but was switched to right side, where she hit six’s and nine’s. She was also second team all-district.”

Madison Smith also became a huge part of the Lady Pirates offense and defense this season.

In 24 matches played, Smith finished the season with 68 service points with 12 aces along with 111 kills on 377 attack attempts, 50 digs, a team-leading 27 blocks and 12 assists.

Herzog said as the season progressed, Smith got her hands on several blocks that led to a point or that slowed the ball down so that the team could run an offense.

“Offensively, she improved her arm swing and ran quicker options,” Herzog said. “She was also a second team all-district selection.”

Also playing pivotal roles this season for the Lady Pirates were senior Sophi Waibel, juniors Nora Morris, Lillian Rohrbach, Hope Mesik and Peyton Luscombe and sophomore Genae Hodge.

Waibel, a right side and middle hitter for the Lady Pirates this season, played in 22 matches and finished with 60 service points with 25 aces along with 91 digs, 48 kills on 205 attack attempts, 10 assists, 63 service receive attempts with only seven errors and six blocks. 

Herzog said Waibel played wherever she needed her and sometimes she didn’t know what position she would play until game day.

“Sophi’s strength was her blocking and serving,” Herzog said. “She became a consistent back row passer and would help generate an offense with her serve receive.”

Morris, a setter and outside hitter this season for the Lady Pirates, led the team with 131 kills on 525 attack attempts. She also had 68 service points with 20 aces, 154 serve receive attempts with only 14 errors, 187 assists and 160 digs. 

“Nora was asked to take on an additional role this year,” Herzog said. “She helped run the offense. Her love is hitting and she was a big part of our offense swinging outside. She was willing to do what was best for our team.”

As for Rohrbach, the junior right side hitter finished the season with 58 service points with 14 aces along with 77 digs, 37 kills on 164 attack attempts and three assists.

“Lillian was such a hard worker,” Herzog said. “If she didn’t practice well or wasn’t satisfied with her role for our next game, she would ask to stay late after practice to improve. She did a lot of things correctly and I could put her anywhere.”

Mesik also came off the bench as a defensive specialists for the Lady Pirates  this season.

In 20 matches played, Mesik finished the season with 40 service points along with 47 digs and 59 serve receive attempts with only seven errors. 

“Hope was able to come into a game and provide us with a spark of much needed enthusiasm,” Herzog said. “As she builds her confidence, she will become more aggressive and be an essential part to our defense.”

Luscombe also came off the bench this season for Boonville to play right side hitter. In 11 matches played, Luscombe finished the season with 13 service points, three kills on 16 attack attempts and three digs.

“Peyton is a great kid who is always positive at practice,” Herzog said. “She always works hard and improved throughout the season.”

Hodge also showed improvement while playing right side and middle hitter for the Lady Pirates. 

In 17 matches played this season, Hodge finished with 40 service points with one ace, 31 kills on 140 attack attempts, 17 digs, five serve receive attempts with only one error and two blocks.

Herzog said Hodge works hard in practice and pushes herself. “Her aggressiveness at the net is what I like most,” Herzog said. “She plays with such intensity and is always talking. I have big plans for her next year and she, too is just a sophomore.”

The Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team recently had four players selected to the Class 3 District 14 All-District Team for the 2020 season. The Lady Pirates finished second in the district tournament, losing to Odessa in the title game in three sets. Players selected all-district for Boonville were (left to right) Kennedy Renfrow, Madison Smith, Addi Brownfield and Jodie Bass. Brownfield was also selected to the second team in the Tri-County Conference.