In four years, Tabetha Allen has helped turn Staples-Motley volleyball around.

The Cardinals’ senior captain tallied 35 kills,18 digs, four ace serves and three blocks on the week as the Cardinals defeated Crosby-Ironton, but fell to Detroit Lakes.

In the C-I game, Allen tallied 21 kills and 14 digs in a five-set victory. During her brief stretches on the bench, she found the strength to lead her team to victory in the tiring five-set match.

“I was just playing my heart out,” Allen said. “I knew that it was a game that we would have to put forth some effort to win, and I was putting it all on the court. I was ready for anything.

“I think a lot of stuff was going right for us. I think all of us were playing a good game, but for some reason, it just wasn’t clicking on the court. I’m glad we could pull it back together and get the win. I think our attacking was good that night as well.”

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S-M head coach Gretchen Bestland was impressed with Allen’s effort and effectiveness.

“She was just on the top of her game,” Bestland said. “She was able to put the ball away for us against Crosby and Detroit Lakes, so she was just our go-to person in each of those games.”

Despite a loss to Detroit Lakes, Allen led the team with 14 kills.

“We know we did not play up to our potential against DL,” Allen said. “We know it was a learning experience.”

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As a senior captain, communication is important to Allen.

“I always communicate with my teammates,” she said. “I always try to tell them when they had a good pass or good set or a good hit. I try to make sure we keep heads up.

“I try to keep everyone motivated. We had multiple weeks of practice in the beginning and it gets tiring when it’s all practice and no play. I just try to check up on people and make sure they are OK.”

As a leader, Bestland thinks Allen knows how to take charge of a game.

“She’s been that steady and consistent player for us,” Bestland said. “She’s been a four-year starter for us, so she’s got that experience behind her. Tabetha has really taken the lead in trying to keep the team on a roll and rolling with the punches.”

Allen isn’t a six-rotation player for the Cardinals, which means she isn’t found in the back row much. However, it did not stop her from racking up digs at a high-level last week.

“I just know my time in the back row is limited so I just try to do the best I can,” she said. “I don’t want to lose points for my team by not performing well in the back row. I just focus incredibly hard on my pass and serve.”

Allen’s serve has been a valuable tool for the Cardinals.

“She’s just over 90% serving for the season,” Bestland said. “She’s got a pretty powerful serve and she serves consistently.”

Alen plays basketball and track along with volleyball. Her favorite by far is volleyball.

“It’s just so much fun hitting the ball,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world. Just coming down and swinging as hard as you can. I also love the energy volleyball brings because it’s such a momentum sport. You don’t have to be the most talented team to win on the court.”

What has helped Allen’s game is her confidence.

“I’ve been playing for quite a few years and when I was younger I was playing on a team with a lot of girls I didn’t know,” she said. “So I lacked a little bit of confidence, but the coaches have really helped me step into my role and they have always given me confidence to be the best I can be.”

Allen remembers being a sophomore when S-M beat C-I to win its first Mid-State Conference game in a long time.

“That was pretty exciting because our volleyball program hadn’t seen a win like that in over 10 years,” Allen said. “The win gave everyone confidence that they could be there because we have struggled with confidence in winning the last couple of years. It’s really helped our program.”

Allen is still undecided on college for next year, but wants volleyball to be a part of it if possible.

Last season, Allen tallied 361 kills to get her to 673 career kills. Bestland said without a doubt, if the season was normal she would’ve surpassed 1,000 career kills which would’ve been an S-M first.

“In my mind, she’s going to be one of those athletes that will be remembered and stand out,” Bestland said. “She already has the record for the number of kills, but I know she would’ve hit a 1,000 which would have been the first in school history. She just sets the bar and the younger kids look at her as someone they want to be.”

Other notable performances:
Volleyball: Kate Bloz-Andolshek, Pequot Lakes, tallied 20 kills, 18 digs, three blocks and four ace serves on the week.
Phoebe Glenn, Pequot Lakes, reached 1,000 career set assists tallying 19 against Detroit Lakes.
Lydia Hubbard, Pequot Lakes, 41 kills, 19 digs, eight ace serves and five blocks on the week.
Taylor Jordan, Little Falls, reached 1,000 career set assists tallying 39 against Foley.
Tess Jones, Verndale, tallied 29 kills, 17 set assists, 13 digs and two blocks for the week.
Juliana Ewald, Pillager, tallied 27 set assists, 17 digs, seven ace serves, six kills and one block.
Jacey Ryberg, Crosby-Ironton, tallied 49 set assists, 22 digs, seven kills, three blocks and two ace serves while recording her 1,000th career set assist during the week.
Mya Decent, Crosby-Ironton, tallied 36 digs, 18 kills, five blocks, three set assists and three ace serves on the week.
Heidi Lombard, Staples-Motley, tallied 49 digs.
Lydia Fellerman, Aitkin, tallied 26 digs, 18 kills, three ace serves and four blocks on the week.
Ashley Kimman, Pierz, tallied 15 digs, 10 kills, four blocks and two ace serves.



CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Tabetha Allen

Year: Senior

School: Staples-Motley

Sport: Volleyball

Highlights: She tallied 35 kills,18 digs, four ace serves and three blocks on the week.