v Nex-Tech Wireless Athlete of Month: Heather Schemper - Sports in Kansas
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Nex-Tech Wireless Athlete of Month: Heather Schemper

Heather Schemper is the Nex-TechWireless Athlete of the Month
By: Conor Nicholl
Oct 22, 2020

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By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas

Phillipsburg coach Terra Keeten saw 5-foot-10 sophomore Heather Schemper in club and junior high program. Last year, Schemper helped the Panthers to a plus-10 win improvement to 30-12. Phillipsburg reached the Class 3A state tournament.

Schemper collected second team all-Mid-Continent League for a conference that sent a pair of teams to the state tournament. Of the 17 players that earned honors on one of the three MCL squads, Schemper was the lone freshman.

“She’s a great volleyball player,” Keeten said. “Just good athletic ability, good jumper and had played a lot of club ball, too. So we knew that she was probably going to be able to come in and contribute some as a freshman. Obviously, probably stepped up a little faster than what we had anticipated, but then going into this year, we knew that she was going to be a key player for us.”

Last year, Phillipsburg had Schemper on the outside, and then transitioned her to the middle. Schemper plays the middle and is setting some for the first time in ’20.

“I think middle is her natural fit,” Keeten said. “She likes that quick ball. Likes to be able to go quick, and then obviously is a great jumper and blocker for us. So a lot of games she will have just as many blocks as she does kills, so that’s a huge asset to have in the middle.”

Schemper has delivered a huge season for the 33-3 Panthers, ranked No. 7 in Class 3A in the latest Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association rankings released Wednesday night. The Panthers are the top seed in the Russell sub-state that features No. 2 seed Thomas More Prep-Marian (27-7). The top-five teams are all 21-11 or better. Sub-state is Saturday.

“The girls have a lot of confidence, and they know when they swing aggressively that that’s when good things happen for us,” Keeten said.

Keeten, a Smith Center graduate, is in her 22nd year with Phillipsburg. She entered this fall 575-210, according to KVA archives. She cleared 600 career victories Oct. 13. She’s in the top-40 all-time in career victories in state annals. Both of Keeten’s daughters, Claire, currently a Kansas State student, and Meg, have been instrumental players.

Before last season, the Panthers reached state in ’00 and then ’08-11. Phillipsburg qualified for the final four all four years from ’08-11, including a state runner-up in ’09.

In addition to Schemper, Phillipsburg has a bevy of experienced players. The Panthers did not lose until a 2-0 road loss versus rival Smith Center on Sept. 29. Phillipsburg beat TMP in three sets the same night. The only other losses came to 5A Great Bend and 6A Hutchinson in the Great Bend tournament on Oct. 3.

Phillipsburg defeated SC in three sets on Sept. 26, two sets on Oct. 1 and again two sets on Oct. 17 in the MCL tournament semifinals. In the league tournament championship, the Panthers beat TMP, 25-18, 19-25, 25-22. The Monarchs defeated Phillipsburg twice last season. The teams have split the last 12 meetings.

“We have a lot of key position front row players returning,” Keeten said. “It’s a fun team. I think they have high expectations.”

Senior middle hitter Meredith Jacobs, who collected second team all-league in ’19, is back. Phillipsburg had graduated nine seniors, though returned seven of its top-nine players.

“We have got a lot of offensive power,” Keeten said. “Which is probably the more offensive power than we have had in the past. But in the reverse, we have been really strong on defense here those last few years, and we have got a whole new defensive front. But a lot of experience coming back.”

Senior setter Meg Keeten, coach Keeten’s daughter, is a returning honorable all-league selection. Meg is a three-year starter.

“She’s kind of that person that keeps the offense going,” Keeten said. “And does a good job of reading the game and knowing where to put the ball and being able to read a defense. So yeah definitely just growing up with the game, she understands the ins and the outs of it, and probably sees the court really well and can help our hitters find those spots that we need to target.”

Sophomore Taryn Sides, an elite basketball player, is key with volleyball, too. Last winter, Sides and Jacobs were among those who helped the Phillipsburg girls reach the state tournament for the first time in school history.

Senior Kenzie Storz has moved in at libero after she saw just spot time on varsity in ’19. Senior Evea Arment has stepped in at the back row, too. Storz replaced Kylie Solida, a four-year starter and a second team all-league pick.

Junior Abby Babcock, also one of the Panthers’ leading hitters, have played more back row. Babcock first played the back more often in a three-set road win versus Hays High on Oct. 5, two days after the Great Bend tournament. Babcock and senior Kay Pakkebier frequently played on the front row in ’19. Junior Emma Hunnacutt is in the rotation.

“Our whole defensive backcourt is pretty much all new this year,” Keeten said after the Hays High win. “…Beginning of the year to where we are now, our defense has made big gains.”

 

By CONOR NICHOLL

Phillipsburg coach Terra Keeten saw 5-foot-10 sophomore Heather Schemper in club and junior high program. Last year, Schemper helped the Panthers to a plus-10 win improvement to 30-12. Phillipsburg reached the Class 3A state tournament.

Schemper collected second team all-Mid-Continent League for a conference that sent a pair of teams to the state tournament. Of the 17 players that earned honors on one of the three MCL squads, Schemper was the lone freshman.

“She’s a great volleyball player,” Keeten said. “Just good athletic ability, good jumper and had played a lot of club ball, too. So we knew that she was probably going to be able to come in and contribute some as a freshman. Obviously, probably stepped up a little faster than what we had anticipated, but then going into this year, we knew that she was going to be a key player for us.”

Last year, Phillipsburg had Schemper on the outside, and then transitioned her to the middle. Schemper plays the middle and is setting some for the first time in ’20.

“I think middle is her natural fit,” Keeten said. “She likes that quick ball. Likes to be able to go quick, and then obviously is a great jumper and blocker for us. So a lot of games she will have just as many blocks as she does kills, so that’s a huge asset to have in the middle.”

Schemper has delivered a huge season for the 33-3 Panthers, ranked No. 7 in Class 3A in the latest Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association rankings released Wednesday night. The Panthers are the top seed in the Russell sub-state that features No. 2 seed Thomas More Prep-Marian (27-7). The top-five teams are all 21-11 or better. Sub-state is Saturday.

“The girls have a lot of confidence, and they know when they swing aggressively that that’s when good things happen for us,” Keeten said.

Keeten, a Smith Center graduate, is in her 22nd year with Phillipsburg. She entered this fall 575-210, according to KVA archives. She cleared 600 career victories Oct. 13. She’s in the top-40 all-time in career victories in state annals. Both of Keeten’s daughters, Claire, currently a Kansas State student, and Meg, have been instrumental players.

Before last season, the Panthers reached state in ’00 and then ’08-11. Phillipsburg qualified for the final four all four years from ’08-11, including a state runner-up in ’09.

In addition to Schemper, Phillipsburg has a bevy of experienced players. The Panthers did not lose until a 2-0 road loss versus rival Smith Center on Sept. 29. Phillipsburg beat TMP in three sets the same night. The only other losses came to 5A Great Bend and 6A Hutchinson in the Great Bend tournament on Oct. 3.

Phillipsburg defeated SC in three sets on Sept. 26, two sets on Oct. 1 and again two sets on Oct. 17 in the MCL tournament semifinals. In the league tournament championship, the Panthers beat TMP, 25-18, 19-25, 25-22. The Monarchs defeated Phillipsburg twice last season. The teams have split the last 12 meetings.

“We have a lot of key position front row players returning,” Keeten said. “It’s a fun team. I think they have high expectations.”

Senior middle hitter Meredith Jacobs, who collected second team all-league in ’19, is back. Phillipsburg had graduated nine seniors, though returned seven of its top-nine players.

“We have got a lot of offensive power,” Keeten said. “Which is probably the more offensive power than we have had in the past. But in the reverse, we have been really strong on defense here those last few years, and we have got a whole new defensive front. But a lot of experience coming back.”

Senior setter Meg Keeten, coach Keeten’s daughter, is a returning honorable all-league selection. Meg is a three-year starter.

“She’s kind of that person that keeps the offense going,” Keeten said. “And does a good job of reading the game and knowing where to put the ball and being able to read a defense. So yeah definitely just growing up with the game, she understands the ins and the outs of it, and probably sees the court really well and can help our hitters find those spots that we need to target.”

Sophomore Taryn Sides, an elite basketball player, is key with volleyball, too. Last winter, Sides and Jacobs were among those who helped the Phillipsburg girls reach the state tournament for the first time in school history.

Senior Kenzie Storz has moved in at libero after she saw just spot time on varsity in ’19. Senior Evea Arment has stepped in at the back row, too. Storz replaced Kylie Solida, a four-year starter and a second team all-league pick.

Junior Abby Babcock, also one of the Panthers’ leading hitters, have played more back row. Babcock first played the back more often in a three-set road win versus Hays High on Oct. 5, two days after the Great Bend tournament. Babcock and senior Kay Pakkebier frequently played on the front row in ’19. Junior Emma Hunnacutt is in the rotation.

“Our whole defensive backcourt is pretty much all new this year,” Keeten said after the Hays High win. “…Beginning of the year to where we are now, our defense has made big gains.”

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Nex-Tech Wireless is a proud supporter of sports coverage in Kansas w/ Sports in Kansas. Be sure to nominate a Central Kansas and Western Kansas Athlete of the Month. 

 


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