Abbey Bigelow & Peyton Suess

November 08, 2017 06:42 PM

(ABC 6 News) – The Kasson-Mantorville KoMets volleyball team is “killing” it on the hardwood again this year—and their superstars have helped “set” up their success, as they’re heading back to the Class AA state volleyball tournament.

For the KoMets, no one has been “killing” it more on the floor than junior outside hitter Peyton Suess, the team’s kills leader—as of Wedneday, Suess has 371 kills this season.


“Peyton is just an animal,” KoMets junior setter Abbey Bigelow said. “She’s all over the court. I can trust that she will do her best to get her best play on the ball. I can set her just about any set and she’s going to go up there and put the ball down.”

Next to every great outside hitter like Suess though is a great setter like Bigelow—she leads the KoMets with 787 set assists.

“She has a lot of court awareness,” Suess said. “She’s a great leader on our team, and when those things come together, it really helps our offense and defense play strong.”

“Setters are like the quarterbacks of the team, we have to decide who we are going to hit, who’s the hot hand,” Bigelow said. “If you see a hitter who is out of rotation or out of position, you know that you can’t set them, it’s really hard.”

“You can have a great setter, but if you’re hitter is not getting things done, sets don’t matter,” KoMets head volleyball coach Adam VanOort added. “You can have a great hitter, but if the sets aren’t getting there, the hitter doesn’t matter. They both need each other, 100 percent of the time.”

Earlier this season, the KoMets were without Suess for a few matches—Suess had to sit out a couple of weeks with mononucleosis.

“It was weird (not playing volleyball), it was my first actual break in a while,” Suess said. “Being able to watch them and see them adjust as a team was cool, but it was fun getting back to it.”

“The good thing was it gave other players opportunities to step up and gain confidence,” VanOort said. “I thought we got much better when Peyton returned because of that. We treated it as a positive.”

Suess and Bigelow’s talents though have spread beyond southeast Minnesota—they’re both division I college commits, with Suess heading to Wake Forest University in 2019.

“It just shows how much time I’ve put into it and effort,” Suess said. “It’s cool to know that that is where I’m going to end up later, and just enjoy it while I have it now.”

Bigelow is heading to the University of North Dakota in 2019, and in VanOort’s words, both Bigelow and Suess are “genetically blessed.”

“They both have strong work ethics,” VanOort said. “They put in the time, they try to get better, they play in the offseason, all the things that are necessary to reach that level, so they’ve earned it for sure.”

“It’s nice to have physical athletes who can do things which other players can’t. With Peyton, she’s a long, tall athlete who can move and has developed a lot of range as a hitter. With Abbey, a lot of teams try to hide their setter as a blocker, but we’re happy to run their best hitter right into the teeth of Abbey’s block.”

What makes the KoMets situation even better is that there is no drama or ill-will between the two stars.

“We’re best friends on and off the court, so I think that’s something that attributes to that,” Suess said. “I have faith in her to set anyone on the team. I know she’s doing her best and that’s all I can ask out of her.”

Suess, Bigelow, and the KoMets open the Class AA state tournament against Academy of Holy Angels on Thursday. Their quarterfinal match is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.


Sean Tehan

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