All-Ohio tandem anchors Monroeville's state run

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Nov 6, 2019 at 8:13 PM

MONROEVILLE — Camryn Hedrick hasn’t looked the same in October.

For that matter, neither has junior hitter Kylee Brooks.

And that has proved to be a great thing for the Monroeville volleyball team.

“Once the tournament comes, it’s just a different kid out there,” Monroeville head coach Kendra Snook said of Hedrick, a senior All-Ohio first team setter. “The great part about Cam is she turns it on another notch when the tournament comes with her leadership.”

Brooks, a 5-foot-10 junior All-Ohio second team hitter, entered the consistent Monroeville program as a freshman and was pretty good already.

“As a sophomore she was even better, and this year she’s better than that,” Snook said. “It’s what you look for in an athlete. The good players work hard and continue to get better. They don’t just stay the same because they know they are good and are having success.”

The No. 4-ranked Eagles (26-1) will face No. 2 New Bremen in a Division IV state semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday inside the Nutter Center at Wright State University near Dayton.

A big reason for that is having an all-state setter and hitter — and great balance surrounding the Hedrick and Brooks duo.

“It’s so nice as a setter — not too many get the same situation as me,” Hedrick said. “I can get it to any of these hitters and know and trust they can put it down.”


Peak performer

Hedrick isn’t just one of the best setters in Monroeville or area history.

Statistically, she’s going down as one of the best in Ohio history.

Last season, her 1,094 assists en route to a state semifinal run is the fourth-most in state history according to the unofficial OHSAA record book. She is at 944 assists entering Friday in 10 less sets than her 2018 season. That means Hedrick has more than 2,000 assists in just two varsity seasons.

“It’s cool to have records and personal achievements, but it wouldn’t be possible without my team,” Hedrick said. “You can say it’s because of my setting, but really it’s the people around me.”

Snook said Hedrick’s demeanor is vital to the success of the Eagles — which is why she looks forward to watching her dial in more in the tournament. With back-to-back regional championships, it’s hard to argue.

“I was hoping to see it a little bit throughout the entire year, but now that the tournament is here — I’m glad it’s back,” Snook said. “The kids really depend on her for that energy, and she’s also there to kind of calm them down or pick them up when they are down.”

For her role in running the offense, Hedrick points to her teammate’s ability to pass her the ball.

“It all starts with the pass, and I’m very fortunate to have a lot of good passers,” she said. “After that, it’s the vision of seeing where the defense and blockers are on the other side and getting it to my hitter in the right spot.”

As someone who has been on the receiving end quite a bit, Brooks said there is a trust factor when she sees Hedrick’s hands go up.

“I have enough trust in her and my teammates,” Brooks said. “No matter where the ball goes, we know everyone is going to do their job to the best of their abilities. We all have trust that we will put the ball into the floor on the other side — and that starts with Cam.”

Another factor in Hedrick’s success that won’t show up in the stats is the lineage of the position at Monroeville. A scroll through the OHSAA record book will show the likes of Quinn Schafer (2011-14) and Audra Leber (2012-15) listed under assists. Kara Schafer proceeded her in 2016 and 2017.

“We saw it as a freshman and sophomore how great her hands were,” Snook said. “When we gave her the team as a junior, we told her that it was her team to run with — and she took it. I think she was timid coming into it, but really took control. We’ve been fortunate to have some great setters for her to look up to.

“Jackie (Schafer) was her setter coach for years, she’s not with us this year, but all the past work she has done we continue to utilize — and that help has been tremendous,” she added. “Cam is going to come into the gym and keep working hard because she wants her team to be successful.”


Steady improvement

The best way to describe Brooks is a player still developing.

That is both an enticing thought for the Eagles and a scary proposition for opponents.

She has 269 kills (460-of-520 hitting) along with 37 blocks. Brooks will almost assuredly pass 700 kills on Friday and is on her way to potentially 1,000 for career.

“She’s just so versatile and dangerous in so many ways,” Hedrick said of Brooks. “She can put it down, but at the same time when she needs to be smart — she puts the ball where she needs to.”

For Snook, it’s been the ability for Brooks to hit the ball out of system.

“That helps us drastically, because the block from the other team is so keyed in on her,” Snook said. “They know we’re probably going to get Kylee the ball, but she’s done a nice job hitting around it.”

The success of Brooks is also helped by the balance around her, and five versa. Kelsie Palmer has 277 kills, while Graisyn Yoder has 205 and Maura Brown adds 131.

“Kylee is such a great teammate that a lot of times they are keying in on her, which gives her teammates an opportunity,” Snook said. “It works the other way when they key in on one of them – then Kylee has the opportunity.

“The fact that she’s now hitting all of the shots just allows us to use her even more. She continues to get better blocking the ball and has taken that to heart the last part of the season as well.”

Brooks and the Eagles went from a grueling five-game win over St. Paul in a district title match on Oct. 24 to plowing through New Middletown Springfield and Dalton last week in the regionals.

Now, a second straight meeting with New Bremen awaits. The Cardinals won last year’s meeting in five.

“We just need to really focus and everyone do their jobs,” Brooks said. “We’ll be right there again if we do that.”

Added Hedrick, “Our motto all year is that we have unfinished business, and this really does bring it full circle seeing them again.”