Super Six is ​​coming to a galaxy near you | Select

There is no need to access the Webb Telescope if someone wants to search for talented high school volleyball players.

They’re not that far away.

Some of the brightest talent can easily be found in northeast and north-central Nebraska.

Focus your gaze on half a dozen of these shining stars that make up the 2022 edition of the annual Daily News Super Six.

GRACE BAUMERT returns after helping Howells-Dodge win her first state title. But after winning the Class D1 crown last November, Baumert and the Jaguars will be aiming for a D2 title this season.

“(Changing classes) might help just because our squads are smaller this year,” Baumert said. “Being able to play against teams with the same numbers as us will be good. But D2 always have very good teams, so we will also have good competition.

Consider Baumert one of the main reasons Howells-Dodge could be set for another title run. Over the past two seasons, she has recorded 816 kills. The Wayne State rookie posted an impressive line of 23 kills, 12 recoveries and five blocks in the D1 Championship four-set victory over Archbishop Bergan.

“I think (the season will) go where we want to take it, for sure,” Baumert said. “Obviously we’ve lost some seniors, and we’re not the same team going into (the season). But I think we are all ready to work hard, to give 110% and we will go as far as we want.

Yes, Howells-Dodge is a returning state champion. And yes, expectations are high.

But Baumert – a 6-foot-1 outside hitter – said the focus is on the season ahead, not last year’s success.

“There’s pressure with it, but you also have the mentality that it’s a whole new year,” she said. “Just because we won the state last year doesn’t mean we’re going to win this year. We have the mentality of starting from scratch and working our way up. »

Howells-Dodge won’t let up in his season. The Jaguars face a unique challenge – another team that won a state title last year and lost talented seniors.

Howells-Dodge opens Thursday at defending C2 class champion Oakland-Craig.

“I’m really excited for this,” Baumert said. “The girls on the team are nice. I was friends with Bailey (Helzer, now a freshman at Arkansas State), and they’re great people. Challenging games like this are always fun to play.

Clarkson/Leigh’s CHLOE HANEL is the only returning Super Six member from last year – and she’s still just a junior.

She has already racked up 691 kills and 519 recoveries in her career. And she keeps getting better, increasing her hitting percentage between her first two seasons from .312 to .352.

With so much experience and success, Hanel is already a seasoned leader. It will be a huge plus for the Patriots this season with only one senior on the roster.

“Now that I have two years under my belt, I feel comfortable talking to underclassmen, correcting them or helping them out,” Hanel said.

The 5-foot-11 center hitter loves the potential of this year’s Clarkson/Leigh team.

“We have a lot of girls coming in this year,” she said. “We lost two seniors but I feel like on our summer business the team came together.

“There are a few things that need to be worked on, but overall everything is falling into place. I think we’ll be pretty good.

Expectations are high again for Hanel and the Patriots. In its first two seasons, the program went to a combined 45-15 with two in-state appearances.

Clarkson/Leigh finished fourth in the C2 class in 2000 and fell in the first round in five sets to eventual runner-up Sutton last November.

“We want to be in Lincoln again,” Hanel said. “We’ve been here for two years, and it’s just been a great experience. Our novelty is “Lincoln is expected”. We don’t just hope to get there. It’s a goal. »

CARLY RIES is the second junior in this year’s Super Six. The 6-foot-3 outside hitter from Norfolk High and University of South Dakota rookie is part of a talented team that hopes to elevate the Panthers to heights the program hasn’t seen in … well, not light years, but for a long time.

Norfolk finished 18-18 last season, the first time they haven’t had a record below .500 at the end of a campaign in more than two decades.

Now the Panthers are aiming for a winning record – and more.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” Ries said. “We’re a really good team, and we’re all friends. We have good relationships and everything we need to have a good season.

Ries had 396 kills (3.8 per set) in his sophomore season and looks set for even bigger numbers this year.

She said playing for the Panthers and their club team, the Nebraska Elite, helped her become a more balanced and versatile volleyball player.

“Between club and school, I have different roles in different teams,” Ries said. “I kiss them both and push myself.”

Ries led Norfolk in wins and hit percentage last year. Now that she’s a junior, she’s looking to lead in areas other than statistics.

“I took on more of a verbal leadership role,” she said. “I am no longer the young one. I am an upper class student and am thrilled to take on this role.

The challenges continue to present themselves throughout the season in Class A volleyball and as a member of the Heartland Athletic Conference. But Ries said she thinks the Panthers have the right mindset to face those challenges head-on this season.

“I really think it’s important to be consistent,” she said. “You have to be the same team on Tuesday, Thursday, if you have a weekend tournament. You must bring your “A” game each time. It doesn’t matter who (the opponent) is.

CHANNATEE ROBLES will help Norfolk Catholic be in the thick of the action as the Knights move into class D1.

Robles’ return is a welcome one for Norfolk Catholic after she was ineligible for varsity play last fall due to Nebraska School Activities Association rules.

Suddenly, the Knights have a batting return that has amassed 661 kills, 124 blocks and 726 digs in his first two seasons.

Expect a grand finale from Robles before she joins Wayne State’s volleyball program.

“I’m just ready to come back and have one more year with coach (Michaela) Bellar,” Robles said. “I’m really excited to play one more year since it’s my last year.”

Robles said she is looking forward to her final year with a team that might have the makeup to play on the last day of the season. But the Knights have already faced adversity before the first serve of the season.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” Robles said. “I think it’s going to be a very successful season for us, but with (junior hitter) Avery (Yosten) out (due to injury), it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for us. We will have to work around this and create team bonds.

Robles brings a lot of excitement to her return to the college level in the sport she’s loved since seventh grade.

“I just like the team aspect,” she said. “After you score a point, you all come in and cheer. If someone scores a point, you’re all excited.

BRIELLE UNSELD helped Pierce reach the state tournament for the first time in 18 years last November.

The eldest will give the Bluejays a reliable and consistent passer for another season as they try to make two straight trips to Lincoln, which has only happened once in school history. And that was in 1973-74.

“We have to dip our toes in the water and now we’re going to come back strong this year and hopefully go a lot further,” Unseld said.

Unseld recorded 906 assists as a junior and now has 2,159 for his career. She averaged 9.7 assists per set each of the last two years, but as a junior she had 151 more sets and 27 fewer errors than her sophomore season.

“It’s really fun to see the girls excel and to know that I’m going to be a stepping stone for them to reach their potential,” she said of her favorite thing about being a setter. .

Some players have to force themselves to take on leadership roles when they become seniors.

Not unsold. Not when someone’s been committing an offense for as long as her.

“I feel like I’ve been a leader ever since I ran 5-1 (offense) since I was a freshman,” she said. “I kind of built on that leadership role. Now is my last year to do it well.

And she thinks Pierce has a chance to do it right as a team this fall.

“We have a lot of underclasses coming in and stepping up and taking on bigger roles, so I’m really proud of them for doing that,” she said. “We also have a lot of feedback, so I’m excited to see what we can all do together.”

KYLEE WESSEL is looking to leave her name at or near the top of Humphrey St. Francis’ career-best chart in kills, digs and aces.

She also hopes to lead this year’s team to a Class D2 state title after finishing second last season.

As a junior, Wessel recorded 304 kills and 352 digs. For her career, she has 664 kills, 916 digs and 107 aces.

Although Wessel is proud to be able to help the Flyers whether she’s in the front row or back row, she said after her freshman year she realized she had over 300 kills and digs the surprised.

“It shocked me a bit,” she said. “Attacks and digs being pretty much the same, that’s an accomplishment for me.

“I think if I get the same stats as last year, I’ll be St. Fran’s (career) kills leader, and I’ll be second in digs. I’m also on track to be the aces leader.

Wessel said she thought it would be a special achievement considering the talented athletes who have adapted to St. Francis over the years.

Although Wessel would like to achieve these goals, his main goal is to help the team be as successful as possible in his final year.

“I think we’re going to have a really good season,” she said. “We won our two (summer) volleyball camps that we went to, one of them being UNK, which is a pretty big camp. We were motivated for that, so I think it’s going to be a very good season.

A second season last fall — as well as a season in basketball — provides fuel for the Flyers.

“We’re done getting finalists,” Wessel said. “This year is about winning a state championship. We’re using that as our motivation, and I think it’s going to be a really good season.