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Finucan among best players in NCC again

Lynx junior earns 2nd straight 1st team honor

WCHS junior Alayna Finucan collects one of her 384 digs on the season in a Class 4A regional match against Gilbert last month. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Webster City junior Alayna Finucan has been one of the premier volleyball players in the North Central Conference since she first stepped onto the court in 2018.

Nothing changed this fall.

For the third time, the Lynx libero was named an all-conference performer, it was announced Wednesday night. Finucan was named to the first-team, her second appearance on the league’s top team. She was a second-team selection as a freshman.

Finucan, the lone non-senior on the nine-girl first team, was surprisingly not a unanimous selection, however. Five players were — Clarion-Goldfield-Dows’ Morgan Middleton, Alaina Friesleben and Jadyn Jondle; Humboldt’s Jori Hajek; and Iowa Falls-Alden’s Jenny Wibholm.

“There’s not a libero in the conference that I would trade for (Finucan) in terms of their skills and leadership on the court,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said, indirectly commenting on the unanimous snub for her program’s all-time digs leader. “I really saw her grow as a leader on the court for us this season. She uses her instincts and knowledge of the sport to make all of her teammates better.”

WCHS senior Faith Anderson (11) tips around the block against Gilbert last month. She has been named to the all-NCC second team. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The remainder of the first team included Humboldt’s Kendal Clark and Deni McDaniel, as well as Clear Lake’s Delaney Eden.

Finucan, known for her ability to read and frustrate hitters, collected 384 digs on the season for WCHS, which placed third in the NCC behind Class 3A state qualifiers CGD and Humboldt. In her career, Finucan owns 1,394 digs and she became the program’s record holder midway through this season.

Three other Lynx players were honored by the league. Right side hitter Faith Anderson, a senior, was named to the all-NCC second team. Outside hitter Sierra Rattenborg and setter Joslin Gourley, both sophomores, were third-team selections.

Anderson became a weapon for WCHS on the right side and finished her final season with 146 kills. Her versatility in the front allowed Howard to move her all around the court.

“Faith did a great job for us hitting from all spots on the court,” Howard said. “It was really important for us to be able to score when she was in the front row.

“A lot of teams don’t put one of their strongest hitters on the right side, but it worked out really well for us.”

Rattenborg led WCHS with 173 kills and became that go-to girl for the Lynx when they needed to score at critical junctures in a match.

“When she was in the front row, she was definitely a go-to person for us because of the power that she has when she swings,” Howard said. “The area she really started growing as the season went on was running those fast sets. Once we were able to get that tempo down with her, she was really able to capitalize on teams.”

Gourley wore multiple hats for WCHS. She set when she was in the back row and also played at a hitter position when she moved to the front. She capped her first varsity season with 317 assists, the third-most in the league, and 58 kills.

“She did a great job of making good decisions and taking control of the court as a young player,” Howard said. “As the season went on, she got more comfortable in that hitting position. She has a really strong swing for us on the right side.”

All-NCC Teams

First Team

Outside hitter — *Jori Hajek, sr, Humboldt; *Morgan Middleton, sr, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows; *Jenny Wibholm, sr, Iowa Falls-Alden; Kendal Clark, sr, Humboldt.

Middle hitter — Delaney Eden, sr, Clear Lake.

Libero — *Jadyn Jondle, sr, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows; Alayna Finucan, jr, Webster City.

Setter — *Alaina Friesleben, sr, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows; Deni McDaniel, sr, Humboldt.

*Denotes unanimous selection

Second Team

Outside hitter — Kendall Lienemann, sr, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows; Kaitlyn Vanderploeg, sr, Clear Lake.

Middle hitter — Emily Zaugg, sr, Humboldt; Lexie Lane, soph, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows; A’Lailiah Perry, soph, Algona.

Right side hitter — Faith Anderson, sr, Webster City; Jayda Hoefer, sr, Humboldt.

Libero — Elly Wood, jr, Iowa Falls-Alden.

Third Team

Outside hitter — Sierra Rattenborg, soph, Webster City; Rana Janes, sr, Iowa Falls-Alden.

Middle hitter — Lily Groat, sr, Humboldt.

Right side hitter — Nicole Waters, sr, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows.

Libero — Jaden Ainley, jr, Clear Lake; Mya McClain, jr, St. Edmond; Addyson Showalter, jr, Hampton-Dumont/CAL.

Setter — Joslin Gourley, soph, Webster City.

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