Our Lady Academy middle blocker Emma Funk and Hancock High outside hitter Madison Ladner were named to the Max Preps Small School All-American volleyball first team.
Funk, the Sun Herald’s two-time Player of the Year, had a state-leading 748 kills, 165 service points, 89 blocks, 73 digs and 34 aces for the Class I state champions.
“I’m very happy to get this honor,” Funk said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and Coach Mike Meyers. I don’t play volleyball to get awards. I play for fun, but it’s nice to be awarded. Having two players from Hancock County being named All-Americans shows how much this sport has grown.”
Meyers is impressed with Funk’s leadership and dedication.
“Emma is a very dedicated, hard-working athlete,” Meyers said. “The honor is well-deserved. Obviously when a player is recognized like this, she couldn’t do it without great support from her teammates.”
Ladner had 409 kills, 773 assists, 171 digs, 161 aces, 113 blocks and 331 service points for Hancock, the Class III state champion.
“I’m very honored and excited at the same time,” Ladner said. “I didn’t expect to be named All-American. Coming off the state championship is great. Being All-American is also a great feeling.”
Hancock’s Rick Rechtien, the Sun Herald’s two-time Coach of the Year, views Ladner’s selection as a springboard to volleyball statewide.
“It’s a great honor for Maddie,” Rechtien said. “It’s tough to get recognition for volleyball in the state of Mississippi. This also speaks a lot for the direction our team is headed in.”
Funk and Ladner both have made the Sun Herald’s All-South Mississippi volleyball team the past two seasons.