Press No. 4 Sports Story of 2011: Steffan ends career at Colorado State with multitude of honorsKatelyn Steffan saved her best for last. Five years after leaving Dickinson with dreams of Division I volleyball glory at Colorado State, all of Steffan’s tireless work paid off.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Editor’s Note: The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2011 countdown continues through Dec. 31. Each story in the countdown will be presented as a column with the reporter’s take on why the story was impactful this year.
Katelyn Steffan saved her best for last.
Five years after leaving Dickinson with dreams of Division I volleyball glory at Colorado State, all of Steffan’s tireless work paid off.
The 6-foot-4 Dickinson High School graduate made the absolute best of a position change and went on to have the best season of her entire career — be it college, high school or grade school.
Steffan’s remarkable senior season is The Dickinson Press’ No. 4 Sports Story of 2011.
For three seasons, Steffan had been a solid player for the Rams. But nothing compared to 2011.
Steffan ended the year as an All-America selection and the Mountain West Conference Most Valuable Player as she helped Colorado State win its third consecutive conference title and reach the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to highly ranked Hawaii.
The season was a realization of a dream for Steffan, who recalled telling Rams head coach Tom Hilbert her goals as a freshman.
“I told him I wanted to be an All-American,” Steffan told The Coloradan newspaper for a Dec. 15 story.
A day earlier, she had been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America third team along with teammate Megan Plourde.
Steffan finished with a team-best 373 kills after switching from middle hitter to outside hitter.
“You have to really be patient at that position,” Steffan said told The Dickinson Press in a Sept. 25 article. “You don’t get a lot of sets that allow you to bury the ball and get huge kills. It’s more technique and placing balls in certain spots. You do get the occasional big kills. But a lot of the kills just come from being smart with different sets you get.”
The move turned out to be a perfect fit for Steffan and she went on to compile what can only be described as one of the greatest collegiate seasons any Dickinson native has ever had in any sport.
Monke is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press. He can be reached at email@example.com. Read his blog at http://monke.areavoices.com.