There is no substitute for experience, as the Tri-Rivers East volleyball standings made clear this fall.
Division champion Lisbon had six players take part in at least 100 sets, five of them were seniors.
Calamus-Wheatland, Cedar Valley Christian and Easton Valley, which all tied for third in the East, had seniors lead their respective teams in kills and digs (assists as well for the Warriors and River Hawks).
Even second-place Prince of Peace — the only team in the division without a senior on its roster — entered the year with six returnees who had a combined 663 sets of experience.
Not surprisingly, the All-Tri-Rivers East squad is also senior-heavy with 12 seniors named to the three-team squad.
Cal-Wheat did its part to help the trend.
Senior Sammie Flagel was one of eight players to be named to the first team, while fellow senior Kaylie Wilhelm was a second-team selection.
The Warriors’ honorable mention selection, Addy Widel, meanwhile, was one of three sophomores honored.
Flagel did a little bit of everything in her final season with Cal-Wheat.
One of the conference’s top setters, Flagel finished fourth in the division with 254 assists — an average of 2.95 assists per set.
The senior, though, often found herself on the other side of a pass, too, as she finished third on the team with 89 kills (Flagel’s .262 kill efficiency, meanwhile, was good for second among Warriors).
Defensively, Flagel was one of three Warriors to eclipse 100 digs, finishing with 102 of them, while also getting her hands on 11 blocks.
Tied for the division lead in aces as a junior, Flagel was again one of the East’s top players behind the service stripe.
She led the team in both serve successes and attempts — 262 and 294, respectively — with her successes out-numbering the closest teammate’s attempts.
Flagel served up 39 aces, which ranked sixth among players in the division.
Providing her own strong all-around play was Wilhelm.
In fact, the senior was one of just 10 players in the division to record at least 100 kills and 150 digs this fall.
Wilhelm led the Warriors in both categories, putting down 137 kills — good for 1.7 per set — and digging up 170 attack attempts on defense — a 2.2 average per set.
Wilhelm was efficient in her attacks — she had a .170 kill efficiency — and helped set up her teammates with 14 assists.
On defense, the Warrior could make an impact in the front row, too, coming up with seven blocks.
Behind the service stripe, Wilhelm put 91 percent of her serves into play — she was also second behind Flagel in serve successes with 187 — while her 21 aces were good for fourth on the team.
It was a strong first varsity season for Widel.
The sophomore middle hitter was fourth on the team with 70 kills and had a kill efficiency of .115. Widel helped her teammates, too, finishing with 17 assists.
On the other side of the net, Widel led the Warriors and ranked eighth in the division with 22 blocks — including four of the solo variety.
Not to be outdone, Widel also came up with 58 digs.
At the service stripe, only Flagel was able to serve up more aces than Widel, who had 29 to tie for 13th amongst players in the East division.