Lady Rebels named all-state, all-conference

Shayne Mazur

Four Riverside volleyball players were recognized this season by selection to the 1A all-state and all-conference teams.
Junior Vinaya VanderPloeg and sophomore Brooklynn Paxton earned 2023 all-state honors for their performances. A total of 16 players voted on by the head coaches receive the accolade in each classification.
The other athletes named to the 1A all-state team include Breanne Walker of Burlington; Bryli Groll and Reagan Teichert of Cokeville; Natalee Harrison of Hulett; Kenzie Evans, Regina Herrera and Kinlie Montgomery of Little Snake River; Mikayla Alexander of Rock River; Makenna King of Saratoga; Baylie Booth and Sasha Haines of Southeast; and Bella Keller, Sophie Louderback and Maddie Mills of Upton.
Seniors Dakota Cervantes and Anna Stone joined VanderPloeg and Paxton on the all-conference team. Additionally, VanderPloeg was named the conference player of the year and Cindi Smith was honored by her fellow coaches as the conference coach of the year.
“We are proud of the honors these girls earned and appreciate everything each player on the team contributed to the season. It takes the strengths of every player to be successful,” Smith said.
According to her coach, this was Vinaya’s second all-conference accolade. She was credited with strong gameplay throughout the season.
“She was a key part of our team offensively and defensively,” said Smith. “Vinaya has many shots on the attack, recording over 400 kills on the season. She was a core player on serve receive and had the most digs on the season.”
Smith recognized that Brooklynn brought an all-around skill presence to the court.
“She was our most effective server, leading in aces while maintaining a solid serving percentage. She was a threat at the net with a strong swing and ability to see open spots on the court. Brooklynn also brought consistency to our backrow in serve receive and defense,” she said.
Dakota stepped into a new role this season and delivered consistency for her team’s offensive play.
“She worked hard and embraced her job setting up the offense, finishing the season with over 700 assists. Dakota was also a strong defender and learned about the art of blocking this season. Her drive and dedication to the team and program will be missed,” Smith said.
As the team’s libero, Anna provided solid defense that helped her team keep the ball alive and execute their offense.
“Anna was an integral part of our serve receive and defense this year. She showed a lot of growth throughout the season and was always focused on the team. She was second in serving percentage this season, with a strong serve that caused havoc for many passers,” Smith said.
Though the state tournament didn’t pan out the way Smith hoped, she considered it “a growing experience” for her athletes.
“We had a solid conference season, going undefeated and earning the conference champion’s title. We are proud of the hard work and growth each player and the team showed this season.”
The Lady Rebels also bid farewell to senior athletes Dakota Cervantes, Ciara Jacobs-Bousa, Mati Jones, Melisa Martinez and Anna Stone and manager Teagan Kozisek.
“Our seniors brought a lot to the program the past four years. They are all hard workers and their focus has always been on the team. They will be missed. We wish them the best in the future,” Smith said.