Female Area Athlete of the Week: Ehnstrom helps Aitkin have a perfect week

Ally Ehnstrom.

Aitkin has had Crosby-Ironton's number lately.

The Gobblers football team won the battle for The Stump 30-6 Friday, Oct. 16. Exactly a week later, the Gobbler volleyball team swept the Rangers 3-0 for the boxing gloves. It marked the third straight year Aitkin won bragging rights on the volleyball court.

Aitkin setter Ally Ehnstrom tallied 27 set assists and 17 digs in the win over C-I. A few days prior, Ehnstrom turned in 27 set assists, six digs and two ace serves in a 3-0 win over Hill City. For the week, she recorded 54 set assists, 23 digs and two ace serves.

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“With this being my fourth year as a varsity setter, I have kind of found a lot of confidence and I’ve been working with the same hitters for the last three season,” Ehnstrom said. “So we’ve started to click and put extra time into it. It’s been working well for us because we have been playing together for so long.”

Ehnstrom reached the 1,000 set assist milestone Thursday, Oct. 15, in a loss to Pequot Lakes. Netting 1,000 set assists was always a goal of Ehnstrom’s and with the 2020 volleyball season in the balance due to COVID-19 it was a big relief for the senior to finally reach it.


“It was pretty awesome,” Ehnstrom said. “Especially because my sister, Taylor, also got 1,000 set assists in her career. It’s kind of cool to have that same experience and go through that the same as her.”

RELATED: Area Volleyball: Pequot sweeps Gobblers
Aitkin head coach Julie Asmus calls Ehnstrom a perfectionist.

“She wants every set to be as good as it can be, so those hitters have a good chance of scoring and making a kill,” Asmus said. “She puts in extra practice time. She works with the JV setters. She really pushes herself, so she could reach the 1,000 set assists milestone.”

Ehnstrom is always talking on the court which makes her an effective setter.

“I’m trying to keep girls focused and playing hard with energy,” Ehnstrom said. “I guess me being vocal I would say would be one of my better qualities as a setter because you have to have control of the court.”

Ehnstrom has been a captain for Aitkin the past two seasons where she has grown as a leader.

“It hasn’t been easy,” she said. “We’ve been through a lot of stuff and being captain on our team and a leader, I’ve just earned my team’s respect and we all go along and play together. Being a captain is just an extra thing I get to do and love to do.”

Putting in extra time to work with the younger players on the team is another way Asmus thinks Ehnstrom excels at being captain.


“She’s always willing to be someone’s partner who might need a little extra boost,” Asmus said. “She is very positive with the team and tries to keep that up.”

Last season, Ehnstrom was named Mid-State All-Conference as well as Dispatch All-Area honorable mention. She tallied 463 set assists and 67 digs in her junior season.

“She’s really improved on her strength and her ability to set more continuously and set balls that are not passed to her,” Asmus said. “She worked a lot on getting that core strength and arm strength to push the ball for an outside set. She’s really been working on her digging and picking up on tips.”

Defensively is where Ehnstrom has made her biggest improvements. Against C-I, the Rangers’ game plan was to pick on Ehnstrom and force her to dig. She responded with 17 digs.

“That’s insane for a setter,” Asmus said. “Crosby targeted her and that’s smart on their end, but Ally is a very good defensive player. She can respond and has that drive and motivation to kick it up a notch when she needs to.”

It’s her determination that makes Ehnstrom a great setter in Asmus’s eyes.

“She has that desire to win and bring the best out of everybody,” Asmus said. “The way she encourages the team and motivates them and cheers them on whether we are killing the other team or losing by a lot. She always brings that energy to the huddle.”

Ehnstrom thinks the quick start to the season because of COVID-19 helped because they didn’t have time to be nervous.


“We just had to play together and we are playing every game like it’s our last,” Ehnstrom said. “Some of us are seniors and we have been playing for each other unlike any other season, so I think COVID has kind of helped us forget about the drama and play for each other.”

Moving forward, Ehnstrom hopes the Gobblers can continue to play well in the conference. Recently, Aitkin volleyball had to postpone games due to COVID-19.

She plans to attend Concordia-Moorhead and play softball while studying biology.

Her biggest memory playing volleyball for Aitkin is winning the boxing gloves from Crosby-Ironton the last three years.

“It’s always our biggest game of the year,” she said. “We have swept them the last three years and those are probably my favorite memories playing volleyball the last three years.”

Other notable performances:
Volleyball: Kerstin Knopik, Little Falls, tallied 40 kills, seven digs, two ace serves and nine blocks.
Madison Carsten, Wadena-Deer Creek, tallied 34 kills, 36 digs, eight ace serves and three blocks.
Kate Bolz-Andolshek, Pequot Lakes, tallied 13 kills, four set assists, nine digs and four blocks.
Lydia Hubbard, Pequot Lakes, tallied 12 kills, one ace serves, three digs and four blocks.

Ally Ehnstrom

Year: Senior


School: Aitkin

Sport: Volleyball

Position: Setter

Highlights: She tallied 54 set assists and 23 digs on the week and recently recorded her 1,000 set assists.

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