Recently graduated Truckee Wolverines are a hot commodity among the collegiate volleyball ranks.
Four members of the three-time defending 3A state champions are taking their talents to the next level this fall — Kiersten Knoppel, Annie Reiswig, Krysta Murphy and Angelina Sahlberg — and all in different states.
“They’re all such great players,” said Truckee volleyball coach Erika Murphy. “They’re definitely going to be missed.”
While Reiswig signed her National Letter of Intent to play at Miami University (of Ohio) this past November, her three Truckee teammates made their commitments in the final months of the school year. Knoppel received a scholarship to play at Colorado College, Sahlberg chose Wenatchee Valley College in Washington and Krysta Murphy selected Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz.
“We’re very excited to have Kiersten come to Colorado College,” said Rick Swan, head coach at the Division III college in Colorado Springs. “She brings a very strong work ethic. When she’s on the court, she’s always giving 100 percent and working extremely hard.”
Swan said Knoppel, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker, impressed the Tigers’ coaching staff when she attended a camp at the college on a recruiting visit. He said he envisions her receiving “considerable playing time as a freshman.”
“She’s very strong, quick for her size, and she puts up a big, strong block in the middle. She’s also a very smart player in the middle,” Swan said. “She’s the type of kid you want on your team, because she brings a positive influence to practice every day, and just the way she prepares herself.”
Knoppel received first team All-State and All-League honors her senior year, when she helped lead the Wolverines to a 23-9 record overall and a third consecutive state title. A dominant force in the middle, she tallied 25 blocks and 186 kills (2.5 per game), with a team-high kill percentage of 46. She also had the highest serve percentage, at 94.6, and delivered 35 service aces.
“She is extremely quick at the net and very aggressive,” said Erika Murphy. “She would always focus on penetrating on the block. She just didn’t lose a joust. Any time the ball was tagged up by the net by another player on the other side, that was her whole focus, she would win it.”
Aside from her physical ability, Truckee’s co-team captain also is stellar in the classroom, evidenced by her recent valedictorian honor.
“That woman is so disciplined. She is truly a student-athlete. She’s the definition of it,” her high school coach said.
Miami University scored another standout Wolverine in Reiswig, a 6-foot outside hitter who was voted Most Valuable Player in 3A All-State and All-League voting.
“Annie Reiswig is a fine athlete and strong jumper,” said Carolyn Condit, head coach at Miami University, in a press release. “This combination makes her a very talented left side attacker and blocker. Her solid passing and defensive skills already has her tabbed to be a six rotation player for our team.”
Reiswig, who was a key member of all three state championship teams, powered out her senior year. She posted team-highs in kills, with 225, kills per game, with 3.2, and service aces, with 50. She had 26 blocks and 71 digs.
Sahlberg found a perfect fit in Wenatchee, which is located in central Washington at the eastern edge of the Cascades. Erika Murphy said Sahlberg has family in the area, and wanted to attend the junior college whether she played volleyball or not.
“Angelina wanted to go to that school anyway, and the coach was pretty blown away that she was so versatile on the right side,” Murphy said.
Kelly Ketcham, head volleyball coach at Wenatchee, confirmed his excitement to land the 6-foot middle blocker and outside hitter.
“From what I hear, this is a young woman who will be a good teammate, and that’s the first thing we look for, is a good human being,” Ketcham said. “A close second is how competitive a player is, and she has good size and good ball-control skills, and we think that she might fill our spot at right side well.
“We had an opening there and needed someone, and she obviously comes from a very successful high school program, and has family in the area, and so we’re looking forward to having her here in person real soon.”
Sahlberg, who had a serve percentage of 93.7, with 30 aces, received All-League honorable mention recognition her senior season.
A standout three-sport athlete, and the Sierra Sun’s female Athlete of the Year from Truckee High, Krysta Murphy could likely have played any of her three high school sports in college — volleyball, basketball or softball. But she chose volleyball, and relatively close to home at Cabrillo.
“That girl is the queen of defense and passing,” Erika Murphy said. “Last year and this year, she pretty much rocked the charts for passing. And it turned games around. Nothing hits the floor with her around. She’s all over that court.”
Krysta Murphy tallied 233 service receptions, 61 digs, 26 service aces and a serving percentage of 90.5.
She was voted by coaches to the All-State first team as an outside hitter this past season. Her coach at Cabrillo could not be reached for comment.