Volleyball (Girls V)

Bella Nottger, Carnes sisters earn IHSVCA honors

By Auston Matricardi | Nov. 14, 2022 12:27 PM

IHSVCA 22.png

Being named to an all-state team is a rare accomplishment, rare enough that the athletes who’ve done it at Springs Valley end up atop one of the walls in the gymnasium, their photos serving as perpetual reminders of what they achieved. Before too long, there will be a new photo added to the collection, as last week Bella Nottger was named Class 1A First-Team All-State by the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association. After missing all but regional play for the Blackhawks in 2021 after transferring in, the junior broke out in a big way this season. She racked up 216 kills on just 406 attempts. Factor in that she only had 55 errors and she finished with a .397 hitting percentage, the best in all of Class 1A. As one of the state’s most efficient hitters, it was only fitting that she be named one of its best players. “This is a huge deal for Bella. Only 12 kids in the state make this particular team and for her abilities and hard work to be acknowledged on this stage is very special,” Springs Valley coach Erin Carnes said. “I’m extremely proud of her and I can’t wait to watch her develop going into her senior year. Thinking ahead, I foresee many frustrated teams trying to either contain her or get past her because Bella is simply a beast of a player.” Leigh Carnes joined her classmate in earning All-State recognition, being named to the IHSVCA’s Class 1A Second Team. It was the second season in a row that the junior received that particular honor. After making significant improvements nearly across the board as a junior — she had 41 more kills on a higher hitting percentage, 19 more aces on a better serving percentage, 23 more blocks, and 71 more assists while cutting her ball-handling errors by two thirds — it was believed that she’d done enough to make the leap up to the First Team. Because of that her Second-Team designation was a bit of a disappointment, but she’ll come back next Fall ready to chase a First-Team selection one more time. “Making second-team all-state is also a great honor. Do I think she’s a first-team caliber player? Without question, but when things are left to a human vote sometimes it doesn't work out how you think it should and that's okay,” Erin Carnes said. “I have no doubt that Leigh will find her way onto that team before her high school career comes to a close because she’s a workhorse. Leigh doesn't need any external motivation. She has lived and breathed volleyball for 16 years and when the ball gets rolled out, she’s ready to go and expects everyone else to be as well.” Both Nottger and Leigh Carnes made the Class 1A South All-District Team prior to their All-State selections, but there was another Blackhawk who made the cut at the All-District level as well: Maddie Carnes. The freshman phenom did everything for the Blackhawks this season, leading the team in assists (636) and digs (288) while finishing second in kills (263) and fourth in aces (59). It was a strong season, one certainly worthy of this sort of recognition, and it’s only the beginning for her. “Maddie showed many times that she belonged on this stage and with this team. She just has that natural talent and does things so smoothly,” Erin Carnes said. “If you’ve watched volleyball and know the game, it’s hard not to notice her because what she does seems so effortless. Maddie is definitely a special kind of athlete and I’m sure, barring injuries, she will receive many more accolades before her time is over.” The most exciting part about all these honors is that all three of these players will play for Springs Valley again in 2023. Because of that the Blackhawks will once again have high expectations. In order to live up to those expectations, their trio of All-District and All-State honorees will have to step up and lead the way. “I’m very excited to have these three back. The experience that they’ll bring to the table will help a ton as they’ll be asked to carry more of the load next season,” Erin Carnes said. “I have no doubt that they’ll be up for the challenge, as will our other returning players.”