STATE VOLLEYBALL: Kockelman directing Vikings’ attack with precise passing

Junior recently passed 1,000 assists

Independent file photo Minneota’s Morgan Kockelman (9) passes the ball during their Section 3A Tournament match against Wabasso on Oct. 31.

ST. PAUL – The Minneota Vikings boast an impressive attack. Lydia Sussner may be one of the hardest hitters at the 1A level. Lizzy Gillingham, Natalee Rolbiecki and Jennifer Krog are all dangerous hitters in their own right.

Those players will get the majority of the headlines, but the one that stirs the drink for this Minneota team is junior setter, Morgan Kockelman.

Sussner said Kockelman is like a quarterback under center, directing her hitters where to go to have the most effective swing.

“She’s like the quarterback of our team,” Sussner said. “She sets us all up and does a great job of playing her role on the team and playing with good energy.”

“She does a great job of mixing the ball around,” Minneota coach, Hayley Fruin said. “She gets the ball to the outsides, the middles and the right sides. There are moments where we are out of system and she can still find the middles. That’s so important for this team.”

Kockelman recently went over 1,000 career assists during Minneota’s thrilling five-set match victory over Tracy-Milory-Balaton in the section championship.

“I was really surprised when I found out that I hit that mark,” Kockelman said. “It’s an awesome accomplishment. I wouldn’t have been able to reach it without my hitters. They can put the ball away whenever I give it to them. I owe a big thanks to my hitters for helping me reach that milestone.”