MITCHELL, S.D. – Coming off a record year, head coach Lindsay Wilber is ready to get back on the court with her team that finished the 2016 season with a winning record of 18-14, a first for the program since 1993. Wilber has put together one of her best recruiting classes to date, heading into her fourth year with the program.
"This class represents the future of Dakota Wesleyan Volleyball," Wilber said. "It's loaded with talent and they excel on the court as well as in the classroom."
The 2017 class features 11 future Tigers from South Dakota, two from Nebraska, and one from Iowa and Minnesota.
Karissa Campbell, 5-10, Outside Hitter, Chester Area High School
Campbell helped her team to a 2016 Class B state runner-up and a 2015 Class B state championship. In her senior season she tallied 302 kills, 13 blocks and 136 digs. Campbell was also a state track qualifier. She played club volleyball for Club Flyer and CPAC.
Wilber on Campbell: "Karissa has a powerful arm swing and comes from a winning program."
Sara Herman, 5-3, Libero, Lyman High School
Herman was a five-year starter for Lyman High School. During her senior year she recorded 653 digs, 557 serve receptions and had a 98 percent serving efficiency. In her career she tallied 2,856 digs, 2,645 serve receptions, 5.6 digs per set and a 96 percent serving efficiency. Herman was a three-time Class B state team qualifier, three-time First-Team Western Great Plains Conference member, 2015 Western Great Plains Conference most valuable player and was part of the 2016 Class B Second-Team All-State. Herman was named 2016 Class 'B' Second Team All-State. She also lettered five-times in track, is a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the 'A' honor roll four years. Herman played club volleyball for Oahe Elite and CPAC.
Wilber on Herman: "Sara has tremendous court awareness defensively and passes with great efficiency."
Callie Heath, 5-11, Middle Blocker, Colome High School
Heath joins the Tigers from Colome High School where she was a three-year starter. She tallied 180 kills, 73 blocks, 79 digs and 29 aces in her senior year. In her career, she recorded 534 kills, 198 blocks, 323 digs and 66 aces. She was named to the All-South Central All-Conference team in 2015 and 2016 and was also an all-conference performer in basketball. She placed sixth at the state track meet in the 400-meter dash, while becoming the school record holder. Heath is a member of the National Honor Society and played club volleyball for CPAC.
Wilber on Heath: "Callie's length is her greatest asset at the net."
Jadean Nelson, 5-10, Middle Blocker, Platte-Geddes High School
Nelson was a three-year starter for Platte-Geddes High School, where she tallied 343 kills, 87 blocks, 388 digs and 37 aces her senior season. In her career, she recorded 716 kills, 798 digs and 66 aces. She was a three-time team MVP, three-time SESD All-Conference member and helped her team to a fifth-place finish in 2015 and 2016. Nelson was a member of the 2015 and 2016 Class B state All-Tournament team and 2016 Class B All-State Second-Team. She was also a three-year All-Conference athlete in basketball.
Wilber on Nelson: "Jada is athletic and a workhorse with a positive attitude that is infectious to her teammates."
Karissa Schroder, 5-11, Right Side, Huron High School
The three-year starter from Huron, S.D., recorded 439 kills, 33 blocks, 193 digs and 38 assists as a senior. In her career, she tallied 677 kills, while breaking the school record for kills with 33. Schroder was named to the 2016 All-Tournament team, All-ESD team in 2015 and 2016, All-State Class AA Second-Team, while playing in the 2016 All-Star Game. She was also named to the 2016 Class AA All-State First-Team and played club volleyball for CPAC and Huron Volleyball Club. Schroder was also a two-year starter in basketball.
Wilber on Schroder: "Karissa is a true lefty right-side hitter that blocks well, hits with amazing consistency and comes from a quality high school program."
Abby Stratton, 5-8, Setter, Rutland High School
Stratton joins the Tiger program as the school record holder in assists and set percentage at Rutland High School. As a senior she recorded 577 assists, 54 aces, 48 kills and 54 digs. In her career at Rutland, she tallied 1,299 assists, 109 kills, 140 aces, 25 blocks and 250 digs. She was named all-conference in 2015 and 2016. She was the 2016 Madison Daily Leader Player of the Week and a three-year starter in basketball. Stratton is the student council president and a member of the National Honor Society and was the National History Day state winner and a national competitor. She was also a member of 2016 Girls State. She played club volleyball for Madison, ORR JO and CPAC.
Wilber on Stratton: "Abby is a very athletic setter that will only continue to grow as a player with more training."
Bridgette Knobbe, 5-10, Setter, Lutheran High Northeast High School, Norfolk, Neb.
Knobbe will be looked upon as the top replacement for senior Michelle Van Epps. She was a three-year starter for the Eagles and tallied 251 kills, 495 digs, 15 assists, 41 blocks and 28 aces. Knobbe was named to the All-State Class D1 Second-Team by the Lincoln Journal Star, while helping her team to the 2016 Class D1 state tournament. She was also a three-time state champion in dance, lettered three-times in basketball and once in soccer. In basketball, Knobbe was named a 2015 All-State Honorable Mention in basketball by the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald. Knobbe is a member of the National Honor Society and played club volleyball for Northeast Nebraska Power.
Wilber on Knobbe: "Bridgette is as versatile as they come on the court. She played outside hitter for her high school team, but sets on her club tea and will set here at DWU. Her athleticism, willingness to win and competitiveness are her greatest strengths."
Madlyn Christiansen, 5-5, Setter, Omaha Burke High School, Omaha, Neb.
Christiansen was a two-year started for Omaha Burke High School where she finished with 787 assists, 354 digs, 73 aces, 42 kills and a .583 hitting percentage in her career. She was named team captain twice and was a 2015 All-State Honorable Mention. Christiansen is a member of the National Honor Society, Academic All-State and received the NSAA Academic All-State Award. She played club volleyball for River City, Impact, and Performance.
Wilber on Christiansen: "Maddy has the greatest attitude on the court and her quickness allows her to get to so many balls as a setter."
Chaydon Metzger, 5-11, Outside Hitter, West Lyon High School, West Lyon, Iowa
Metzger was a three-year starter and tallied 357 kills, 43 aces, 222 digs and 20 blocks as a senior. In her career she had 581 kills, 69 aces, 299 digs and 95 blocks. She holds the state Iowa record for kills in a match with 37. She was named to the First Team All-Siouxland team in 2016 and First-Team All-District. Metzger was also a member of the First-Team All-Northwest Review and Fourth Team All-Northwest Iowa in all classes. She was a five-year starter in softball, while garnering All-State Honorable Mention status in softball. She was also a two-year starter in basketball. Metzger is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council Vice President, National Honor Society President and a Champion of Character at West Lyon.
Wilbert on Metzger: "Chaydon made a huge step during her senior year and will give us lots of depth at that outside hitter position."
Madison Smith, 5-9, Outside Hitter, Watertown High School
Smith joins the Tiger program from Watertown High School where she was a two-year starter and part of the 2016 All-ESD Conference Team. In her career she had 473 kills, 172 digs, 35 blocks and 10 aces. She was the Offensive Player of the Season for Watertown and was selected to the 2016 All-Star Match. She also participated in basketball and ran track. Smith is a member of the honor roll and Academic All-State. She also played club volleyball for SDVC and Kairos Elite Club.
Wilber on Smith: "Madison's work ethic and ability to terminate a play is what sets her apart from other players."
Sierra Mesman, 5-9, Middle Blocker, Bon Homme High School
The three-year starter from Bon Homme High School is set to join the Tiger volleyball team in 2017 after having a breakout senior year. As a senior she recorded 483 kills, 86 blocks, 515 digs, 24 aces and had a .324 hitting percentage. In her career, she tallied 1,015 kills, 75 aces, 1,014 digs and 187 blocks. She was named Little Missouri Valley Conference and SESD All-Conference her sophomore, junior and senior year. She was team MVP three-times, while helping her team to a fourth-place finish her senior year. Mesman was named to the 2016 Class A State All-Tournament Team, 2016 Class A All-State First-Team and was 2016 Class A Miss Volleyball. Mesman is a member of the National Honor Society and played club volleyball for CPAC. She also lettered three-times in basketball and six-times in track.
Wilber on Mesman: "Sierra had quite the senior year and I am looking forward to seeing her transition to the college game with her athleticism, court sense and quickness."
Jeni Schmidt, 5-10, Middle Blocker, Bon Homme High School
Schmidt joins the Tigers in 2017 from Bon Homme High School where she recorded 464 kills, 111 blocks, 23 aces, 488 digs and a .276 hitting percentage. In her career, she tallied 857 kills, 910 digs, 213 blocks and 74 aces. Schmidt was named to the LMVC and SESD All-Conference as a junior and senior. She helped her team to a fourth-place finish in 2016 and was a member of the 2016 All-Star Game and All-Star Match. She was a member of Girls State and the Tyndall Swim Team. Schmidt was a four-year member of the merit roll at Bon Homme, while also lettering in basketball and competitive cheer.
Wilber on Schmidt: "Jeni will give us some height and length at the middle hitter position and she knows how to put a ball away."
Darby Duncan, 5-4, Setter, Northwestern High School
The four-year starter from Northwestern High School will join the Tiger program in 2017 after being a captain for three-years. In her career, Duncan recorded 927 digs, 2,476 assists and 216 kills. She was a four-time Redfield All-Tournament member and MVP as a junior. Duncan was also named Lake Region All-Conference as a sophomore, junior and senior and Lake Region Conference MVP as a junior. She was also named to the Aberdeen American News All-Area Team as a junior and senior, while being part of the AVCA Phenom List. During her sophomore year she was named AVCA/Max Preps Player of the Week. Duncan was a member of the 2015 Class B All-State Second-Team, while helping her team to a 2016 Class B state championship. She was also selected to the 2016 All-Star Match. Duncan was named Academic All-State and named to the AVCA Team Academic Award. Duncan played club volleyball for NESD. She also lettered five-times in basketball and six-times in track.
Wilber on Duncan: "Darby has had a tremendous high school career. Her ability to run an offense as well as play defense is where she will excel in our program."
Natalie Neal, 5-5, Defensive Specialist, Jackson County Central High School, Jackson, Minn.
Neal joins the Tiger program from Jackson, Minn., where she had 128 digs and nine assists in her career. She was part of the 2016 section runner-up team with a 23-9 record. She played club volleyball for JCC Juniors and Iowa Lakes JO.
Wilber on Neal: "Natalie is quick and athletic in the backrow and will provide depth in our program defensively."
Chelsey Heeg, 5-9, Outside Hitter, Freeman Academy High School
As a senior, Heeg tallied 350 kills, 32 aces, 25 blocks and 113 digs. In her career she had 930 kills and 302 digs as a three-year starter. She was a member of the Tri-Valley All-Conference Team three-times and a member of the honor roll. Heeg played club volleyball for Club Legacy, Kairos Elite Volleyball and CPAC.
Wilber on Heeg: "Chelsey knows how to put the ball away when needed and plays with a calm demeanor on the court that will transition nicely to college."