Mountain Vista girls volleyball coach Doug Schafer calls senior Kelli Ell a fireball.
And she showed why she got that label in a match on March 30 against top-ranked Chaparral.
The 5 foot 8 inch senior had a match high 10 spikes, three aces and six digs as second-ranked Vista notched a 2-0 victory with 25-15 and 25-17 set wins.
“Kelli had come into her own this year,” said Schafer. “She is just a fireball. She has taken sort of a different role. She is definitely more of a leader both in her play and her attitude. She is somebody the team relies on.”
After the first eight matches this season, Ell was the Continental League leader in kills (86 and 4.5 per set) and aces (19). She was fifth in digs (43 or 2.3 per set).
“Realizing this is my last year playing at this high school and that made me think I need to leave it all on the court,” said Ell. “I’ve been working pretty hard so I can play all the way around.”
Schafer has seen Ell’s play elevate.
“She is just bringing a lot of different shots, a lot of different hits and gets the job done,” said Schafer. “It’s good to see her doing so well.
She’s made a big leap from the past year. She’s earned it because she’s worked hard for it. She’s put in a lot of time and effort.”
Ell, who has signed to play next season at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Tx., isn’t a tall player at the net but she’s smart.
“I’ve been told every year that I’m short and I have to figure out how to play smart at the net,” she explained. “So, I’ve got more shots and high hits over the block and work on not hitting as hard and just playing smarter with the ball. I have the high shots down and the low shots so I have to work on my hitting techniques so even if I’m short I can still play.
“I think my backrow, just passing and stuff, has improved. I’ve always been pretty strong at the net and serving.”
Ell started playing volleyball and other sports when she was in kindergarten and her big sister Annie played and gradate from Mountain Vista in 2017. Annie Ell now plays at the University of Rhode Island.
“I’m going to miss it all (high school) and I want to get our team to state,” Ell concluded. “We’ve got a pretty good team this year.”
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