New England varsity volleyball player Paige Ehlis was pleasantly surprised before her homecoming volleyball game against Hettinger-Scranton on the night of Sept. 29.
By RACHEL BOCK
New England varsity volleyball player Paige Ehlis was pleasantly surprised before her homecoming volleyball game against Hettinger-Scranton on the night of Sept. 29. Before the players were announced, there was an announcement about a player who reached an important milestone the previous weekend at the Dickinson High School Tournament. Ehlis, who was concentrating on the important regional match that she was about to play, suddenly realized that the announcer was talking about her. Being caught off guard, and surprised, Ehlis accepted a plaque from her head coach Taylor Hafner stating that she had reached her 2,000 career assists against Bismarck St. Mary’s on Sept. 24.
“I wanted to surprise her, she had no idea and I wanted to make it a big special moment for her. I wanted to make it a big deal because she worked really hard to get it. It was fun to surprise her like that where she had no idea,” Hafner said.
Achieving 2,000 career assists, especially as a junior, is an impressive triumph, something not every volleyball player can accomplish.
Hafner credits the success due to the fact that Ehlis is a very smart player on the floor and has the ability to see the open spots on the floor. Another strength for the junior outside hitter is the fact that she is aware of what is going on, on the other side of the net, which is huge for when she is setting for her teammates.
“For her to get [2,000 assists] as a junior is pretty impressive. Really impressive. She really had to work to get that. This actually says a lot about our hitters too, to be able put that ball away, but they are not able to put that ball away without that nice set which says a lot about her,” Hafner said.
Ehlis who has started on varsity for the Tigers since she has been a freshman, didn’t start out focusing on having the most assists every night. Her main emphasis was simply trying to be the best that she could be, and kept her focus on where she was setting the ball so her teammates could get the most kills.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” Ehlis said.
Before the Hettinger-Scranton match on Sept. 29, Ehlis had a career total of 2,021 assists, 229 kills, 90 blocks, 52 aces, and 558 digs.