YORK – On Thursday, August 29, a handful of area volleyball teams will get their 2019 season underway.

The York News-Times has been breaking down the top returning volleyball players in the coverage area, based on stats from 2018.

In recent weeks, three players from the 10 schools in the coverage area were featured with comments from coaches following the 2018 season, along with last year’s stats and expectations for the upcoming year.

This is installment three of three.

Erin Schmidt, Sr., Fillmore Central, Middle Blocker

After a move to the middle blocker position in 2018, Fillmore Central’s Erin Schmidt had a huge year for the Panthers.

“Erin really came on strong, especially later in the season,” Fillmore head coach Dawn Temme said at the end of the year. “After an injury took her out in 2017, she really stepped it up for us this year.”

Schmidt hammered 196 kills from her middle blocker position with a season-high 19 coming in the season opener against David City. Her .264 hitting percentage was the best of all the starters on the team.

Schmidt also recorded 55 blocks, which was seventh in the final York News-Times’ area stats, and twice she recorded five in a match. She rang up 28 ace serves and also added 99 digs.

Schmidt was a Southern Nebraska second-team selection at the end of the year. She also was named Class C-2 all-state honorable mention by the Omaha World-Herald.

Amanda Giannou, Sr., Cross County, Setter

The Cross County Cougars started 2018 in a 6-2 offense, meaning they used two setters. After a switch, Cross County junior Amanda Giannou rolled up 540 set assists, which was second among players in the York News-Times’ coverage area.

“Amanda is an incredibly hard worker and willing to do anything,” Cougars’ head coach Autumn Capler said at seasons end. “Because we started in a 6-2, she might not have had the numbers of other setters.”

Of those 540 set assists, Giannou’s season high was 46 against Centennial. She also picked up 232 digs, with her best effort coming against Heartland with 20.

Giannou was the team leader in ace serves with 45, which ranked 10th in the area, and had a season-best seven against Heartland Lutheran. She made good on 92.7 percent of her serves.

Giannou was a Crossroads Conference and C-2 all-state honorable mention choice.

Anna Sluka, Sr., Exeter-Milligan, Setter

Exeter-Milligan’s Anna Sluka put up solid numbers across the board in 2018 and returns to this year’s team as one of two seniors for the Timberwolves.

Sluka was part of a two-setter system last season, and her 362 set assists was second on the team and fifth in the York News-Times’ all-area stats.

“She is a leader and a willing teammate and will do whatever is asked of her,” then head coach Darcy White said at the end of the year. “Anna is a defensive specialist turned setter last season out of the necessity of her team. She is a talented athlete who can do all things well.”

Sluka was a definite strength at the service line as she was credited with 66 ace serves, which was third best in the area. She registered a season-high of nine against Nebraska Lutheran.

Sluka handled 379 receptions and successfully passed forward 88 percent of those chances. She also finished the season with 216 digs.

Sluka was a Crossroads Conference and D-2 all-state honorable mention pick.

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