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Tom Mix, Published November 13 2012

Schmit, Casey clear path for Kindred en route to state volleyball berth

Kindred, N.D. - Four years ago, Kindred senior volleyball players Kellie Schmit and Mikaela Casey found themselves making a big move with the Vikings program.

The pair – then in eighth grade – were promoted to the junior varsity team, and within a year they were starters on varsity.

Schmit and Casey have been in the Vikings’ lineup ever since. They will be announced as starters during Kindred’s North Dakota Class B state quarterfinal against Flasher at 2 p.m. Thursday in Minot, N.D.

“We got the opportunity to play junior varsity and got the lucky chance of skipping C squad,” said Schmit, who plays outside hitter. “So we jumped up and were scared out of our minds.

“We absolutely stuck together.”

As the years passed, Kindred’s volleyball team progressed. The team made it to the Region 1 championship match in 2010 and 2011, only to fall to rival Central Cass both years.

The whole time, Casey and Schmit were committed to get the elusive state tournament berth, playing in countless Junior Olympic volleyball tournaments and attending offseason camps.

“The year before they were eighth graders, we were the last-place team in the district,” Kindred head coach Brooks Dockter said. “It seems like every year we have gotten a little better.

“Their leadership to this team has been immeasurable.”

Kindred (32-10) earned its trip to state by dominating the Region 1 tournament in Oakes, N.D. last week. The Vikings never lost a set and defeated Fargo Oak Grove in the title match.

Following that match, Casey and Schmit were part of an emotional celebration many years in the making.

“It means everything,” Casey said. “We have been working so long to get to this point. To finally get here is a dream come true and to be the first team from Kindred to play at the state volleyball tournament is incredible.”

Kindred’s girls basketball team qualified for state last season, but Schmit was the first to admit the volleyball trip is a little sweeter.

“For me and most of the girls on the team, volleyball is our passion,” Schmit said. “That is what we love. It is all we think about.

“I loved going for basketball, but I am really excited for volleyball because that is the one I really wanted to go to.”

Schmit – a 5-foot-11 North Dakota volleyball commit – has posted 616 kills, 113 blocks and 270 digs this season.

Casey plays the libero position and has collected a team-high 377 digs this season. She is committed to play at NCAA Division II Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D.

“They are the kids that are really eager to play JO (Junior Olympic) volleyball in the spring,” Dockter said. “They are eager to go to team camp and are always the first kids on the court.

“The most impressive thing with them this year has been they have not only been leaders by example, but vocal leaders as well. That has been a big deal for us.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562