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By Spring Atchison
Office Manager 

Five Lady Wildcats earn top post-season volleyball honors


December 1, 2021

Whitney Chintala

The completion of the 2021-22 volleyball season brought a host of accolades for the 1A State Runner-Up Fleming Lady Wildcat team. The Lady Wildcats won their second consecutive Runner-Up title in November in their 16th consecutive State Tournament appearance.

Seniors Whitney Chintala and Zoey Vandenbark and junior Kally Kirkwood were selected for All-Conference honors. Junior Lexi Schaefer and sophomore Madi Serrato earned All-Conference, Honorable Mention. All-Conference honorees are selected by a panel of coaches from each league.

Chintala hit several milestones in her final year as a Lady Wildcat. A versatile player, she added solid performances in both the front and back rows. From the hitters' position at the net, she put 371 kills on the floor this year and surpassed 1,600 for her career closing out with 1,614 according to her stats on MaxPreps. She more than doubled her career total for blocks at the net - adding 29 in her senior season to finish with 42. As the co-setter for this year's squad, Chintala put up 333 assists. From the back row, she put up a total of 434 digs this year alone to bring her career tally to 1,943. She served 97.6 percent on the season with 55 aces.

Vandenbark returned to the court this year following an injury last season. She also added solid stats all around. From the back row, she put up 258 digs - an average of 8.9 per match - to close out her career at 986 total digs. She put up nearly as many serve receives averaging 8.6 per match with a season tally of 248 and closed with 875 throughout her four years. She served 33 aces this year to finish with 115 total. As an outside hitter in the front row, the left-hander knocked down 81 kills in high school - 51 of those this season alone. On defense, Vandenbark made her career-high showing at the net with 20 blocks which brought her to 25 total.

Kirkwood, listed as a middle hitter for the Lady Wildcat squad, added team-high numbers all around on the court this season. From her listed position, she surpassed the 1,200 mark in kills for her three-year career. Her season tally of 439 - the team high - brought her to 1,229 total. Defensively at the net, she owns 199 blocks - 102 this year alone and 57 of those solo. She led the team in assists as a co-setter with 385 this season bringing her career total to 421. From behind the service line, Kirkwood doubled her overall total of 79 aces with 43 in her junior year of play. She served 93.4 percent on the year. From the back row, she put up 277 digs and received 56 serves with just four errors.

Kally Kirkwood

Lady Wildcat Libero Lexi Schaefer led her team from the back row in digs and serve receive. The back row specialist put up the team high 447 digs this season; more than doubling her freshman season tally of 206. She now stands at 832 digs total. Her serve receive tally of 618 marks the top on the team and beats her freshman and sophomore seasons combined bringing her career total to 1,168 receives. From behind the serving line, Schaefer put over 32 aces this season which brings her to 40 across the span of her three-year career.

Serrato, the youngest of the Lady Wildcats to receive All-Conference accolades, held a hitters' position on the team for her sophomore year. She more than doubled her kill tally from last year with 57 to put her at 82 overall. She led the team this year in aces from behind the serving line with 76 and made good on 93 percent of her serves. Defensively, Serrato added 113 digs from the back row, bringing her career total to 309.

The Lady Wildats lose three seniors to graduation this year. Chintala, Vandenbark and Sam Pope turn the leadership reins over to the capable junior members of the squad - Laney Schliesser, Hunter Donovan, Maddy Harms, Maddy Zink, Kirkwood and Schaefer.


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