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Warriors Athlete of Week: Warriors’ Stadum a standout on offense and defense

Brainerd senior Kate Stadum is enjoying a standout senior season.

Kate Stadum practices in the Brainerd High School gym.
Brainerd Warrior volleyball player Kate Stadum practices her technique Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, in the Brainerd High School gymnasium.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD -- Is Kate Stadum playing out of position?

The answer is maybe. Here’s why.

While the senior outside hitter leads the Brainerd Warriors volleyball team in kills with 226, to go with a 2.9 kills-per-set average and 0.184 hitting percentage, she’s also the team’s best defensive player with 256 kills, which is almost 100 more than the next closest player. She averages 3.2 digs per set and 9.5 digs per match. She also has 357 serve receives with just 43 errors.

“It’s kind of funny. It’s come full circle,” Stadum said of her defense. “Defense was kind of my thing during my freshman year. It’s so fun to finally just be so loose and get to stuff that during my freshman year I couldn’t even think of getting. It’s funny how far I’ve come.”

Last week, Brainerd played eight matches. She finished with 11 digs against Bemidji, eight against Willmar, six against St. Cloud Apollo, 13 against Maranatha Christian Academy and added a 13-dig game against White Bear Lake.

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She was 10-for-10 on serve receives against Bemidji, 14-of-15 against Willmar and 6-of-7 against Apollo. During the Irondale Tournament, she finished 65-of-75 on serve receive. She added four blocks last week.

“I don’t think, personally I would ever be able to give up the hitting aspect because that is so fun for me,” Stadum said. “Maybe in college if a team needs me to be a libero I would do that, but I think right now for my team it’s probably best to have me hitting position.

“A good dig is just crazy, but people go crazy for the kills. It is so fun.”

And Stadum is showing her skills at getting kills, this year, too. Stadum finished with 14 kills against Bemidji and eight against Apollo. In the Irondale Tournament, she collected 23 kills to go with four ace serves.

“Overall, on the entire season, I am happy with how I’ve played,” Stadum said. “My hitting has just been a little bit iffy. When my confidence starts to waiver it kind of sucks, but my defense has been super good. I’m super happy with my hitting percentage over the whole year. I’ve had a lot of really good games. That’s been good for me, but I’m really just trying to get my head back in it for our next playoff game.”

For the season Stadum has 226 kills, which is just four shy of what she finished with last year. Her kill percentage is up seven percentage points to 34.7% while her hitting percentage has improved.

She is serving at 93.5% with 40 ace serves. She owns 17 total blocks and 256 digs.

Our teams goes as Kate goes
Rick Kuehlwein

“She does a lot of things really, really well,” Brainerd head coach Rick Kuehlwein said. “She could be our libero as well as our outside hitter. She hits from all positions equally well. If we would have had better passing and setting she would have had a much better career.

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“She’s got a great arm. Her arm has been strong since grade nine when I brought her up. I also put her in what we call the pipe position in the back row, the back middle, so she has as many attacks in the back row as she does in the front row. When she’s on her game, she’s just dynamite back there. She would have a lot higher hitting percentage if I didn’t have her hitting out of the back row as much as she does.”

For her career, Stadum has 684 kills, 105 ace serves, 84 blocks and 819 digs

“If Kate does one thing, she’s too aggressive on defense,” Kuehlwein said. “She doesn’t have as much discipline as you’d like to see. She crowds the person next to her. Serve receive is a big number for us and she has 357 serve receives and the next closest person is 242.

“She wants the ball and that’s really good.”

Kate Stadum practices in the Brainerd High School gym.
Brainerd Warrior volleyball player Kate Stadum hits a ball over the net Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, in the Brainerd High School gymnasium.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

What’s also been good is Stadum’s leadership. She is a captain and a four-year varsity veteran. She knew this year eyes were going to be focused on how she does and how she leads. She said she's felt the pressure, but is happy to be a captain of this team.

“It definitely gets hard sometimes, but honestly, this week has been a little bit tough,” Stadum said. “It’s been good. I’ve been handling it pretty well. I’ve just tried telling myself positive stuff all of the time. I’ve just been working together with my team and getting all of our needs met, whatever that means for each player.”

When it comes to big games, Stadum said she enjoys the extra pressure. She said her game rises with the occasion.

“With Kate, she takes a lot of responsibility to lead the team,” Kuehlwein said. “She takes things personally. Our teams goes as Kate goes and I think sometimes it gets to be too big of a burden for one person to do everything and Kate has that ability, but it’s been a disappointing year for us because of injuries.

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“She’s a leader on the court and off the court.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Kate Stadum

Stadum_Kate.JPG
Kate Stadum

Sport: Volleyball

Position: Outside hitter

Year: Senior

Age: 18

Height: 5-foot-9

Career highlight: Defeating Sartell in three sets on senior night.

Other sports: Basketball, track and field

Grade-point average: 4.0

Favorite class: Science

Favorite food: Mozzarella sticks

Favorite movie: “Elf”

Favorite TV show: “The Vampire Diaries”

Favorite musician: Eminem

Favorite restaurant: The Fort Steakhouse

Future plans: Hopes to play college volleyball and study biology or chemistry

Favorite athlete: Stephanie Samedy former Minnesota Gopher volleyball player

Parents: Chad and Jen Stadum

Other notable performances

Lila Collins, girls tennis, advanced to the semifinals of the Section 7-2A Individual singles bracket after winning three matches in the opening rounds.

Hannah Drietz, girls cross-country, won the St. Cloud Invite in 18:57.93 to lead the Warriors to first place.

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