Prep Volleyball

'Miss Positivity' Ellie Von Lehmden lifts up red-hot Linn-Mar volleyball

4-year starter posts 6 kills, 9 digs as 5A No. 5 Lions sweep Cedar Rapids Kennedy for 13th win in 14 matches

CEDAR RAPIDS — Ellie Von Lehmden has been a constant force on the front line for Linn-Mar volleyball.

A four-year starter at outside hitter, Von Lehmden has put up her share of statistics in helping Linn-Mar reach the last two Class 5A state tournaments. What makes the 5-foot-8 senior indispensable to the fifth-ranked Lions, however, is the way she communicates, exudes confidence and provides leadership.

Always positive. All the time.

“Ellie is just phenomenal,” Linn-Mar Coach Teresa Bair said after the Lions swept Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 26-24, 25-19, 25-20, in a Mississippi Valley Conference match Tuesday night at Kennedy High School. “She is just ‘Miss Positivity.’ Just always upbeat about things and that is really a key for us. She’s a great communicator on the court and takes care of the ball.”

Von Lehmden tallied six kills and nine digs for Linn-Mar (21-6, 5-1 MVC), winners of 13 of its last 14 matches. With nearly 600 kills and over 700 digs during her prep career, Von Lehmden has served as the perfect complement to fellow senior Megan Renner, a first team all-state selection last season who will play college volleyball at Purdue.

The pair have been teammates for the past seven or eight years, first with the Iowa Rockets club team and now with the Lions.

“We’ve just been at it together forever,” Von Lehmden said. “We just know each other, how we play, so that really helps on the court.”

Linn-Mar trailed in Game 1, 24-23, but rallied with a Von Lehmden kill, an ace by senior Anna Gorsich and a Kennedy side out for a 26-24 triumph. The Lions closed the second game with an 8-3 surge, then capped the sweep with a seven of the final nine points in Game 3.

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Renner led all players with 12 kills and also added 20 assists. Gorsich added eight kills, while senior libero Allison Pisarcik chipped in 16 digs.

“I feel like we’ve really picked it up since the beginning of the season,” said Von Lehmden, who was crowned Linn-Mar homecoming queen in September. “We’ve shown people what we can do and I just hope it goes up from here.”

Junior Katie Jensen and sophomore Elyse Winter led Kennedy (9-13, 2-4) with seven kills apiece.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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